The Osprey Duel series is, perhaps, the most constrained of all the Opsrey series, both in format and subject matter. It has always been fighter vs fighter, tank vs tank or warship vs warship. In this case, though, Robert Forczyk has chosen very differently: it is not just that we have attacker vs target, but a target that is not even military and an attacker designed as an airliner, not a bomber. Forczyk has written several other Duel books, so he is familiar with the format and can turn it to his advantage, comparing the FW200 to the British attempts to defend their convoys from them. He does this without losing sight of the central fact that it is the merchant ship that is the true 'opponent,' and all that matters is how many merchant ships the FW200 can sink.
The FW200 is properly the focus of the book. The British did not believe the Germans could attack their shipping at such long range, so, without the FW200, there could be no duel. For both sides, this was a battle of improvisation; the Germans constantly trying to make the FW200 into a more effective combat aircraft, while the British were constantly coming up with improved ways to protect their convoys from it. The section on combat, the heart of the book, provides an overview of the struggle from mid 1940 to mid 1943, but focuses more on specific actions. They are often described by the combatants themselves and are the more gripping for that. The seesawing nature of the struggle, even though we know who is going to win, kept me turning pages to find out the next twist in the story.
It is worth noting a couple of missed German opportunities that Forczyk doesn't mention. By the spring of 1943, when Doenitz shifted the u-boats back to the trans-Atlantic convoy routes, KG40 had built up considerable experience in locating and shadowing convoys. The addition of radar greatly enhanced that capability and the Condors could have greatly helped the u-boats in the decisive phase of the Battle of the Atlantic. Instead, they concentrated on bombing attacks on the Gibraltar convoys, sinking perhaps as many ships as one successful u-boat attack on a major convoy located by Condors. As well, the Hs293 guided bomb could have had a major impact, if it had been available a year or more earlier. This could have been done, if the Germans had given the project any sort of priority.
In summary, I can strongly recommend this book to anyone interested in the Battle of the Atlantic or just looking for something a bit different from the usual 'Duel'.