Book Notes - Commandos: Set Europe Ablaze
Commandos tells the story of two U.S. Marines (Captain Jim Cain and his Gunnery Sergeant Leland Montgomery) who are sent to fight alongside Britain's elite commando forces during World War II.
The story begins with a bang - literally - as the protagonist and his sidekick experience an air raid upon arriving in London on their way to the British Commando Basic Training Centre in the Scottish Highlands.
From there, the action and danger only escalates as Cain and Montgomery endure the grueling commandos training, and are ultimately sent on a daring secret mission (with the Captain leading the commandos) to a small Nazi-held island off the coast of France.
There's also a dash of romance, as Cain connects with the commanding officer's daughter Loreena (who has her own wartime assignments to carry out).
Written by a decorated Marine Corps combat veteran, Commandos drops the reader into an authentic military world of war and brotherhood.
Author Colonel Richard Camp (U.S.M.C. ret.) has penned numerous nonfiction military histories and biographies (including the exceptional The Devil Dogs at Belleau Wood and his more recent Shadow Warriors: The Untold Stories of American Special Operations During WWII), but Commandos is his first foray into fiction.
He does a worthy job; creating heroic and endearing characters, while setting up stakes that keep you turning the page.
Camp's vivid description brilliantly brings the prose to life, successfully transporting the reader to 1942. You can almost hear Vera Lynn singing "We'll Meet Again".
The author's laser-sharp pacing makes the action-packed story move quickly, and with its chapters constructed in short snippets, I can easily envision the book on the screen, as a movie or limited series.
Final Verdict: An exciting military/action genre read with nostalgic undertones.
I look forward to the next installment in the Marines' and commandos' adventures.
Book review by Laura Cross. Laura wrote and produced the audio documentary series Battlefield Fallujah, based on Dick Camp's book "Operation Phantom Fury".