Book Three, When Duty Whispers Low, is a page-turner.
The action is in the Phillippines in The Last Lieutenant and A Code for Tomorrow, and now we move to the Solomons, specifically Mondo Mondo off New Georgia in the Slot. In early 1943, both the U.S. and Japan were fencing after the heavy tolls in the Coral Sea and at Midway, and U.S. ground forces (okay, the Marines) have retaken Guadalcanal. The U.S. Navy is across Iron Bottom Sound at Tulagi, at the southeastern end of the New Georgia Sound bisecting the Solomons (the Slot), and the Japanese are 300 miles northwest at Bougainville (closer than San Jose is to L.A.).
Todd Ingram, now a Lieutenant Commander (a Major to folks who like solid ground or clear air under their feet), is the Exec on the destroyer U.S.S. Howell. In a rough fight off Mondo Mondo, the Howell loses its ass end and ends up on the beach. Most of the crew narrowly escape, and a banged-up Todd Ingram is sent home to San Pedro to recover.
Meanwhile there is plenty of intrigue. Helen Durand, now Helen Ingram, is a Navy nurse and receives an unwanted assignment to North Africa. Navy crytroanalysts are hard at work on Japanese naval codes, and there may be problems with proximity fuses. The last is a project of desk sailor Captain Frank Ashton, whose high opinion of himself spells trouble.
The Gensui of the Japanese Navy, Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto is just north of the Solomons at Rabaul on New Britain. He is planning a trip to Bougainville to visit the troops.
Todd Ingram is about to take his first command when an air raid forces his ship, the tin can U.S.S. Pence, out of Tulagi harbor and after a nasty fight to the bottom. Soon he is on a PT Boat heading back up the Slot to the Howell to blow it up and rescue the survivors of an earlier attempt to scuttle her.
Army Air Forces are revving up on Guadalcanal to look for Yamamoto's flight to Bougainville. They know where he is going, and his compulsion for punctuality.
Something's got to happen, and it does. Plenty.
Volume 4, Neptune's Progeny is next.