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4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 16 December 2012
James Holland continues the military history of Sergeant Jack Tanner. This novel covers the military campaign of the B.E.F prior to the evacuation from Dunkirk. The action is fast paced and concentrates on Tanner and his colleagues as they journey and fight their way to the coast. The account is interrupted from time to time to show the opposition's tactical progress and its interaction with Tanner's group. A book that is very difficult to put down. I look forward to reading more of Jack Tanner's exploits in the future.
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on 13 March 2016
James Holland did an excellent job, yet again! The tension in early on and in the middle was phenomenal. Of course, the rivalry between characters, along with the drama also made this book a great read.
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VINE VOICEon 27 August 2011
I like the Sharpe books and I'm interested in World War II, so this book, described on the cover as "Sharpe meets the blitz years", would seem right up my street. Unfortunately I struggled, and ultimately failed, to get into it. There are two main problems with the book. Firstly the dialogue is clunky and unnatural and kept distracting me. More serious, however, is the background story of the wicked Sergeant Major which moves from the vaguely far-fetched to the frankly preposterous as the body count mounts. The story is so unbelievable that I just couldn't take the book seriously. That's a shame because the history is interesting and the battle scenes are very well done. The author takes the trouble to build up some satisfyingly nasty Nazi's but then does nothing with them - there is no great showdown - instead we flap around with the ridiculous storyline about the mad Sergeant Major which, in the end, just fizzles out. I might try another in the series just to see, but I'm not sure.
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on 4 September 2009
James Holland is a fantastic writer of action WW2 adventure. In this book, he continues Tanner's struggle to win the war both at home and abroad. The book does not disappoint fans and I eagerly await the next installment of the likeable central characters. Will satisfy the adventure reader as well as the lovers of Commando comics. Thumbs up from me!
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on 17 July 2009
A great read for those interested in the history of WWII and adventure story lovers alike. Historically accurate, right down to the problems experienced by British soldiers with their equipment and the language used of the day.
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on 9 October 2009
The best historical fiction is written by those few authors (such as George McDonald Fraser or Bernard Cornwell) who really know and love history. James Holland qualifies on both counts as the author of several popular and readable histories of lesser know campaigns from WW2. He's recently turned his hand to fiction with 'Sgt Jack Tanner' a character straight out of the 'commando' comics I read as a kid.

Its great 'daring do' adventure very much in the Sharpe mould. Its not 'literature' but its fun, well researched action. The plot is quite simple- a little action in England regarding black marketeers then straight to France. Tanners platoon of Yorks Rangers are rapidly cut off in the mess of the German invasion of France and he's left trying to make his way back to Dunkirk to meet up with the rest of the regt. His life is greatly complicated by an incompetent Captain and an evil company sgt major who tried to have Tanner framed and shot for a crime he didn't commit in India. Sharpe fans will agree that CSM Blackstone is very much in the Obidiah Hakeswill mould. The story mixes fact and fiction nicely and covers the British counterattack near Amiens that was only stopped by Rommels novel use of 88mm Flak guns against British tanks and the massacre of 90 men of the Norfolk regt by the 3rd SS 'Topenkopft' division. As with most historical fiction Tanner seems to be where history is made more than is entirely probable but how else is the action going to keep coming? If it has one flaw its that it ends rather abruptly with Tanner and his men very rapidly back in england with very little mention of the actual evacuation from Dunkirk

The series clearly has a few more good installments to come: Tanner makes several mentions of 'dark incidents' in his past and refers to pre-war campaigns in India and Palesting so the series has potential to go backwards in times as well as follow the course of WW2. I'm looking forward to the third installment!
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on 6 July 2009
I thought the Odin Mission was a 'cracking' book and Segeant Jack Tanner is our 20th century Richard Sharpe. The second book follows on and cover the BEF in France and the subsequent retreat to Dunkirk. I liked Hollands' view of the French and he explained the almost impossible situation Gort found himself in. We still know very little about Tanner and I think after Norway he would have had a DCM next to his Military Medal (but perhaps this will happen in book three, with a bar to his DCM for France and the evacuation?). Tanner is the right material for promotion, a field commission after Dunkirk certainly and as a junior officer he could certainly maintain his adventures with Sykes as his Sergeant? I've grown to like Tanner very much and with all heroes I want him to do well in his profession.
The beginning of the book dragged a bit, but the descriptions of the battles was especially good, the last twenty pages the best part of all. I very much look forward to the next book in the series.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 28 June 2011
This is the classic war story brought to the readers of today, for some reason many readers are put off going and picking up some of the classic war stories and thrillers by great writers like Mclean and Higgins, and there has been a sad lacking in the market of new writers until recently.

James Holland brings a classic squaddie hero to the fore, and thrusts him into dark and dangerous situations and brings the war to life in all its dark gory glory, War should be a distasteful tale it should be grim and it should also be heroic and full of adventure, and these books give you all that, for some its a little too close and a little to real given that its still in living memory for so many and so many releatives, but that should not mean we lose the pride we can gain from tales, even fictional ones, because i hope they lead readers to go read the true stories.

This latest offering by Holland is great fun to read, the same paced plot, well rounded characters and well thought out plot.

well worth reading.
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on 20 June 2012
Sergeant Jack Tanner returns in the second of James Holland's enjoyable series. Jack Tanner has to cope with holding the Jerries at bay on the approaches to Dunkirk while also dealing with some less than savory characters within the BEF who are upto no good. The plot races along thick and fast as do the bullets and shrapnel.

Although a work of fiction, the framework of the story is based on fact, and the more important persons were real and had their characters researched for inclusion. Also the area of operations of the BEF and the individual units are recreated according to historical records as explained by the author at the end of the book.

Having read a lot of Simon Scarrow "Eagle" series and Bernard Cornwell books I find storyline is similar to the books by these authors (as mentioned already by others) though set during WW2. And yes - Commando, Battle and Victor stories also. A great read!!!
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The return of Sergeant Jack Tanner in the second of author James Holland's Tanner series. Fresh from his exploits in Norway, Tanner is now sent to France and ends up fighting his way back to the Dunkirk beaches in the retreat of the BEF. Tanner has a lot to cope with, Nazis, incompetent officers and skulduggery within his own forces.....

Other reviewers have remarked that this is like a WW2 Richard Sharpe and the style is very much like Bernard Cornwall's, a fast moving story set within an accurate historical background. A historian that knows how to write fiction. And it is a good as the Sharpe stories, Tanner is a strong central character and Holland's story has the perfect balance of character, pace and history.

Excellent stuff.
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