There really is no other author who delivers quite the same sort of experience as Brian Callison.. and it's a treat to see him bring back his favourite protagonist Trapp, even if the originality is fading somewhat thin by now.
As usual, the story is told through the eyes and words of Lieutenant Miller, who finds himself on board yet another dilapidated merchant marine vessel during WW II, this time en route to Murmansk on the Russian run. And as usual, Trapp and his Glaswegian slow witted right hand man Gorbals Wullie have ulterior motives, intending to try again to make a fast buck.
Callison's style is to use vivid descriptive prose told in down to Earth, even dare I say it - salty - language. His genius lies when he brings pathos and poignancy to proceedings, as he did in `The Sextant', and his masterpiece `A Flock of Ships', however with the Trapp novels it's all about black humour. It's intended to bring a smile to your face, as well as describe a little bit of how hellish the Russian run must have been for a merchant seaman in WW II.
It takes a while to get going with the effort of building up Trapp's entrance a little overwrought, but once the ship sets sail, its rip roaring all the way. Alas, the originality has long since gone from this series, and the result has no genuine surprises in store. But Callison on autopilot is still a good read. Not a good place to first try Brian Callison's work, but if you are already a fan, then this is required reading.