Thursday, February 26, 2015

Review: The Last Boat by John F. Hanley

The Last Boat begins with a close-up account of the greatest maritime disaster in British history when the British Expeditionary Force lost more troops in ten minutes than it had in the previous nine months.
The news was so shocking that Churchill suppressed it and the report on the event is sealed until the year 2040.

But this is not an investigation into this tragic event but the beginning of a journey for a group of young people who have gone to help but find themselves trapped and fleeing the Nazi blitzkrieg as it rampages through France.

At the same time that the Luftwaffe is strafing the survivors of their bombing another shipment, so important that it could have changed the outcome of the war, is trying to escape from France.

The tragedy was the sinking of HMT Lancastria on 17th June 1940.
The shipment was world’s entire supply of D2O or ‘heavy water’ without which research into splitting the atom would have been impossible.

Prising apart the floorboards of history, The Last Boat links these two events as Jack Renouf and his friends try to escape the Germans and help this cargo to safety.

But safety is an illusion and the story culminates in the bombing of Jersey on 28th June and leaves Jack in desperate need of another Last Boat to escape.

The narrative voice is Jack Renouf’s, whom readers might have met in Against The Tide. He is a year older but only a little wiser. Through the immediacy of his first person perspective you are compelled to witness events which cannot leave you unmoved. ‘Muscular authenticity’ was the verdict of one reviewer while others have described Jack’s account as ‘intense, exciting, absorbing and frightening’ 

My Thoughts:
You really need to have read Against The Tide to know the background of the characters. This book just jumps right in.  This is Jack Renouf's story. It is interesting to read history from the perspective of individual experiences. He's right in the thick of things. Experiencing war from the inside. Jack's love life drives me a little crazy. He finds himself in dangerous situations but keeps mooning over two different women whom he hasn't even seen in quite some time. I suppose it keeps things interesting, but it seems that he can't make up his own mind. The story kept me reading, though.

My Rating: ****
Steam Factor: !!

My Source:

Where to get it:

Amazon | B&N

Where to find the author:

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

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