Iron Coffin Mass Market Paperback – 1 Jan 2004
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The characterization is outstanding. When well into the story, ask yourself whom you're pulling for! Each character lives in full color, interacting to keep you spellbound to the last page. The conclusion is satisfying, but you will hate for the book to end!
This is one of the truly memorable books I'll always carry in the special library inside my mind!
The great strength of this novel is its involved but smooth plotting, which the author, John Mannock, handles very well. Mannock introduces many characters from many backgrounds, included a British officer, a Cajun witch, a German U-boat captain, and a war-wounded American tug boat captain in a downward spiral of self-destruction, together very nicely. Although the book takes many turns and surprises (and I do mean many), Mannock brings the reader along at just the right pace so the work never feels either rushed or sluggish. This might be considered a "techno-thriller" as the technical aspects of sub life are important in the telling of the story (and interesting to a Submarine fan like me), but really the characters, not the gadgets, are the focus and interest of this author (unlike Clancy who always casts hardware in the starring roles). Mannock is too much of an old-fashioned storyteller to spend too much ink on the metal.
This book delivered on the interesting back cover blurb in spades. I found myself very much caught up and pulling for several of the characters at once. There are interesting stories-within-stories here that really make this a great, meaty summer read - and maybe just a bit more. - Mykal Banta