Sunday, June 05, 2011

Medusa - Hammond Innes

…I picked this up a few weeks ago from the free lending library in our local village hall (my spuds go their for dance classes on a Wednesday evening)

Hammond Innes is one of those authors who seems to have gone out of fashion, a bit like Alistair Maclean, one of that bunch of authors like Ian Fleming who put out thrillers by the hundred in the 60's and 70's, but went out of favour in light of turgid pot boilers by the likes of Lustbader, Cussler and Patterson... out of favour maybe but they were old fashioned story tellers who wrote page turners... and so it was with this one with an additional benefit...

This was a cracking read - in summary, an elderly, all but retired, Royal Navy frigate is brought back into service and given into the command of a highly strung commander (with a background like his turns out to be you can kind of understand it!), and sent into harms way in the Mediterranean at the height of the Cold War... it's a good read... lots of action, sailing, well drawn villains, mercenaries, Libyan tankers, and a communist inspired revolution on Menorca (or Minorca - take your pick)

I like it because the action is set quite close to Fornels (near the capital Mahon) and a large number of years ago I went on a windsurfing holiday there!

Good wargaming potential too - the island is in the grip of a populist left wing socialist party, it's not that many years since Franco died, Minorca is a long way away from the government centre of power, and then the moderate but strong willed mayor is assassinated - immediate power vacuum, and also wargame possibilities.. smileys

A group of mercenaries is landed on the island to take it over, the complication is the Royal Navy Frigate on the harbour - what would you do if you were the frigate commander??? A Warsaw Pact fleet is cruising nearby, an American carrier group is also in the area, tensions are high, are the Libyans involved? Brilliant fun - chance cards to cover unforeseen events, hidden movement, umpire controlled... and set it in Napoleonic times, with the required change of enemies...

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