Douglas Reeman is perhaps the most profilic author of WWII sea yarns. He has quite obviously drawn upon his own service in the RN for much of his content and background. While his background provides authenticity, he does assume a greater knowledge of the ships than a lay reader would have.
The story focuses on the development of the relationships on a minesweeper following the death of its first officer. Relationships on shore are also explored to include the prerequisite love interests. The action scenes are vignettes against this backdrop.
One gets a sense of the tension between the RN and the RNR and RNVR although I think it was greater than Reeman indicates. Reeman also conveys the constant tension of finding and destroying or defusing mines while under the threat of attack from land, air or sea. Another tension is faced by men who go to war while their homes and families are being bombed. Reeman portrays all these various tensions and undercurrents well with the action peaking on June 6, 1944.
It may be nitpicking, but I had a few problems with the story. First, I don't think that British civilians were being killed in large numbers in late 1943- early 1944. This was after the Blitz and before the V weapons. Second, Reeman's description of the ship brings to mind the adage that "a picture is worth a thousand words". Why not include a drawing of a ship of the class described? Third, the characters are either; saintly, like the captain, in need of redemption/growth, like the first officer, or out-and-out bad. There are some loose ends that aren't tied and some that are tied up too neatly.
All in all this is a good read and should keep one turning the pages.