Book Review: Sealion Drowning, by Jon Zackon

By TERRY MANNERS

Jon Zackon’s novel takes us back to the dark days of WW11 when a beleaguered Churchill is battling to keep the nation’s spirits up in the shadow of a Nazi invasion. The year is 1940 and he needs a victory.  

There is just one ray of hope, a young officer unknown among the ranks of the Army’s Top Brass, Captain Bryan Stanton, who comes up with a startling theory – that Hitler’s Operation Sealion will target the wetlands of East Sussex … and fail. If the British could … 

His report finds its way into the subterranean world of Churchill’s war rooms where he nervously puts his findings to an irascible Prime Minister, cleverly captured by the author. “You’re a confident blighter, I’ll grant,” Churchill grunts.

But what follows next is a dramatic story of heroism, heartbreak and passion as the British Army races to meet 200,000 crack German troops heading for the Romney Marshes on battle barges and the RAF and Royal Navy fight to seal the English Channel.

Into the fray comes former BBC journalist Martin who signed up for God and country. The exploits of the lieutenant and his platoon provide much of the action to the story and became my favourite part of the book as he falls in love with Land Girl Connie, who is shot by German soldiers and disappears. 

The story takes on a new dimension as we follow Hitler’s advancing troops from the German side through two Iron Cross heroes who know that England is no push over. Their story and raid on the cottage home of Connie and her parents, brilliantly knits together the plot. I felt more could have been made of this.

And the last few chapters of the book are page turners. A welcome change from some novels that just seem to gently fade out. Brilliantly written and plenty of pace.


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