Convoy East is one in a series featuring Convoy Commodore J.M. Kemp during WWII, here conducting a British convoy sailing from England to Malta. Featuring merchant ships and troopliners (instead of the more usual naval escorts), they can't fight back so there's grinding anxiety, fear and impotence throughout-although there's a bit of comic relief for the latter malady due to the WRNS on board, women sailors. There's not a lot about the sea and ships' handling. The focus is on Kemp and members of his staff, and their jobs, strife, connivances, and differing worries about their wives back home in blitzed England. Kemp is echt-English (as is the author), stiff-upper lip and all that, don't give up just because your back's broken. This attitude and writing style makes for overly laconic expression of intense emotions as his convoy is shot, bombed, torpedoed, burnt, or sunk.
The book is a quick read, a competently written view of war from the merchant sailors' perspective, but not particularly uplifting or inspiring, true to its early stage of the war. I came away feeling a bit beaten up, so the writing is effective in its own way. Perhaps we can look forward to McBooks or someone republishing these very good sea stories .