Small, quick-moving torpedo boats played a vital role in protecting the Allied convoys in the English Channel and the North Sea during World War II, and Sub-Lieutenant Clive Royce is newly assigned to MTB 1991, joining a crew already seasoned by death and fear. Now it is up to him to take the place of their dead first lieutenant and earn the respect of his captain and crewmates.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Douglas Reeman's "A Prayer for the Ship "covers the efforts of the motor torpedo boat crews of the Royal Navy during World War II. The book is written by a person who has lived in the environment of small boats powered by gasoline engines and high explosives carried on plywood hulls. We see that the crews are not profesional sailors but are,in almost every case, volunteer reservists who before the war were fashion photographers, delivery boys or bookies runners and who are now called upon to be professional Sailors. Clive Royce is a young, not dry behind the ears volunteer officer who is thrust into the no holds barred world of the Royal Navy's coastal forces. He is immediately faced with having to grow up quickly and acquire the skills required to lead men in battle. His experiences in this world of quick actiona and sudden death described and both humerous and sobering. His commanding officer is killed in a short sharp battle and while Clive brings the boat home, his...
This is where it all began for Douglas Reeman - in more ways than one. Said to be semi-autobiographical, this first novel of many perfectly captures life and death in the Coastal Forces of the Royal Navy in World War Two. The progress of a young officer is charted through his violent introduction to life on a Motor Torpedo Boat and we follow him as he gains experience and deals with the triumphs and tragedies of war. Probably the best book ever written on the subject, it suffers only from some writing lapses and stylish quirks which do not really hamper the story. A critique could be made of the somewhat predictable formula which the author tends to apply to all his books; they all include a "hero who grows up", an "intimidating figure of authority", a "romantic interest to keep the readers happy", a "set of action set-pieces which escalate to a final confrontation" and of course a "group of B-list characters who will be...
I don't mean to suggest that Douglas Reeman's writing hasn't improved over time, because it has. At the same time, the Reeman 'formula' has become more apparent as his titles pile up. This book, his first title, is still among my very favorite of his novels. Probably at least in part autobiographical, what Reeman's first swing may lack in technical polish (and it doesn't lack much), he makes up for in his ability to tell an exciting story. I got caught up in the lives and war of the men of the MTB squadron, and the efforts of Sub-Lieutenant Royce to prove himself and create a place for himself among the war-hardened officers and men. For some reason, I've always been attracted to the idea of small-boat warfare. Give me a PT boat over a battleship any day. If you're like me, or are just interested in an exciting story of the men (and women) caught up in the war at sea, Reeman is always a great author to turn to. And this title is one of his best.
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