Death by fire - Death by ice. These were the twin threats confronting the seamen on the North Atlantic convoys: fire from the Luftwaffe's bombs, and from the torpedoes of the lurking U-Boats: ice in the deadly cold waters that could kill in three minutes, five minutes at most.Between these two hells lived another threat: the slow paralyzing hand of fear.
1945. The naval war in the Pacific is raging when Captain Thurston VC resists an office job to take command of HMS Inflexible, a proud and powerful aircraft carrier.It is no easy task. The overwhelming determination of the Japanese fighters and the cruel weather conditions make Thurston's command fraught with difficulties. But the struggle to provide air support for the US and Commonwealth troops must continue.Home is on the other side of the world, barely a reality, and Thurston finds that he is striving to do the right thing, not only as the Captain of the Inflexible but also in his private life. For a while he and his men are under daily attack from a deadly enemy, Thurston is plagued by feelings of guilt and remorse for the woman he has left behind.A. E. Langford's third compelling naval adventure is an evocative account of life at sea during one of the most perilous and hard-fought battles of this century.
1942: The Mediterranean Operation Stonehenge gets under way - a convoy laden with desperately needed fuel, food and ammunition for the besieged island of Malta sets sail. Captain Robert Thurston commands the cruiser HMS Marathon, one of the escort vessels on this Malta run. Thurston is a career officer with a record of conspicuous gallantry under fire, from Jutland to the North Atlantic convoys. But he is also a man under stress - in the last three years he has seen one ship go to the bottom, leaving pitifully few survivors; he has seen his closest friends and shipmates killed and maimed; he has carried the impossibly heavy burden of responsibility for his men's welfare in the bloody destruction of war at sea. And soon another cause for concern is added to his worries - Marathon is crippled by enemy action and forced to limp towards Alexandria, a constant target for attack by sea and air, vulnerable to the weather and to the enemy alike. Men and machines are stretched to their limit - but the most deadly threat to Thurston's own life and career is yet to be faced.