Blood of Honour

Blood of Honour
© 2011 James Holland
384 pages

It’s May 1941, and it looks like the good guys may actually win one for once.   British troops have arrived in Crete to defend it against an anticipated German invasion,   making it safely despite harassment from the Luftwaffe,   and the locals and Brits are working closely together to ensure that Jerry will find stiff resistance when he drops in.    Drop in he did, by the thousands –  German troops invading from the skies, and butchered from the ground.   However impressive their training,   lightly armed paratroopers are a poor match for entrenched positions and thousands of riflemen.  It turns out, though, that choppy communications and poor leadership can wring defeat from the jaws of victory.    In Blood of Honour, Jack Tanner returns as a CSM to defend the people of Crete,   and despite a series of sterling victories (including the liberation of  supplies from the Germans,  liberal use of high explosives to ruin the invaders’ day, and the theft of a Greek woman’s heart),  he’s dismayed to find the British high command once again eying the back door for a retreat after   inaction allows the Germans to capture an airfield and bring in more heavily equipped reinforcements. After reading three of Holland’s novels, I’m starting to realize he likes his formula:  start with Jack,  give him an officer who makes his job more difficult by being jealous/incompetent/malicious/ineffectual,   and top it off with an Evil German officer who is not only Totally Evil,but also takes being frustrated by Jack personally.  Season with dynamite and 1940s slang as desired.  I wouldn’t recommend reading a bunch of these back to back (I’m saving the other two in the series for April), but as far as period-accurate action adventure go, these novels are a blast. This one is luring me into reading more about the invasion of Crete, which I’ve never given any attention to in the past. Holland has written quite a few nonfiction titles, so I’m going to see if there’s any overlap.

About smellincoffee

Citizen, librarian, reader with a boundless wonder for the world and a curiosity about all the beings inside it.
This entry was posted in historical fiction, Reviews and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Blood of Honour

  1. Cyberkitten says:

    The Battle for Crete was certainly a defeat dragged from the jaws of (potential) victory. It did result in the almost complete demise of German airborne forces though and probably contributed to the fiasco of Stalingrad after so many JU-52 transport planes were lost over the island. But it could have been SO much more than a bloody nose and another embarrassment for Allied forces. Glad you’re still enjoying the series.

    I haven’t read it (yet) but I can recommend ‘Crete: The Battle and the Resistance’ by Antony Beevor, as he’s VERY good.

    • I’ve read Beevor before! His “Stalingrad” was compelling, so I’ll definitely look out for one. I saw you’d read some Holland NF on your blog when I checked….he appears to be a good one.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s