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4.0 out of 5 stars Fifth in the Everard Chronicle, brings to life a desperate campaign, 1 Mar. 2012
Marshall Lord (Whitehaven, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Last Lift from Crete (Paperback)
This is the fifth book in Alexander Fullerton's Everard Chronicle series, one of the best series of novels about naval warfare in the 20th century ever written.

It vividly brings to life the naval aspect of one of the hardest fought campaigns of the war, one which blooded both sides, the battle for Crete in May 1941. It was a campaign which the bad guys won, as the German paratroops and their luftwaffe support took the island of Crete, making the Allied position in the Eastern Med significantly more difficult, and inflicting heavy casualties on both the Royal Navy and the British Army, but it was a phyrric victory for the nazis. The crack german paratroops also took such heavy losses that Hitler never used them in a major airborne offensive again.

The full "Everard Chronicles" series consists of:

1) The Blooding of the Guns (Nicholas Everard)
2) Sixty Minutes for St.George (Nicholas Everard)
3) Patrol to the Golden Horn (Nicholas Everard 3)
4) Storm Force to Narvik (Windsor Selections S.)
5) This book, "Last Lift from Crete."
6) All the Drowning Seas
7) A share of honour (link: Nicholas Everard: Share of Honour: Mariner of England)
8) The Torch Bearers
9) The Gatecrashers: v.9: Vol 9 (Nicholas Everard)

The first three books in the series cover the Great War, the last six cover World War II and between them they give a picture of some of the most desperate battles in widely different corners of the globe in which the Royal Navy fought for Britain's survival: and the books bring the action of those battles so vividly to life that reading them almost makes you feel like you'd been there.

This book begins at night on May day 1941 as a group of tribal class destroyers, one of which, HMS Tuareg, is under the command of Nick Everard, is attacking an Italian convoy. At the same time Jack Everard, who everyone thinks is Nick's half brother but is actually his son, is serving on the anti-aircraft cruiser Caernarvon, which is evacuating the last lift of Allied troops from the Greek mainland, a batallion of New Zealanders.

On the surface of the sea, Italian ships are no match for the royal navy, but the skies above the Mediteranean belong to the Luftwaffe, who have over a thousand planes in the theatre. Any British or allied ship which moves within range of Axis airfields in daylight can expect relentless air attack.

Scarcely has the mainland been conquered, and the german paratroops are landing on Crete. First Nick has to land troops on the island in the teeth of the Luftwaffe's attacks. But soon they have to be evacuated again. The "Last Lift from Crete" takes place on the far side of the island, which means that Nick's group of destroyers, not well adapted to cope with air attack, will not have time after picking up the troops at night to put enough distance between themselves and Nazi-held airfields by dawn, when daylight brings the stukas ...

Like the rest of the series, this book is nail-biting stuff, brilliantly written and extremely exciting. The author served in the Royal Navy during the second world war, and spent some of that time in the Med about a year after the time this book is set. His first hand knowledge of what world war II at sea was like really comes through.

I strongly recommend this book and the entire series.
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Last Lift from Crete: Unabridged
Last Lift from Crete: Unabridged by Alexander Fullerton (Audio Cassette - Mar. 1999)
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