A Compelling Story for All Readers
By DIANE DONOVAN
Midwest Book Reviews
The Hunt for the Peggy C combines World War II history with a nautical thriller as it follows Captain Jake Rogers, a smuggler used to transporting contraband who is tasked with the most challenging job of all: to save a Jewish family fleeing Nazi persecution.
What began as a business arrangement with slightly unusual cargo turns into a humanitarian endeavor that challenges Jake's skills, perspective, and heart as he finds himself intrinsically woven into the fabric of this Jewish family's life.
Is the old cargo ship Peggy C up to such a task? More importantly, can Jake summon enough courage and resources to keep his newfound charges safe from both human and natural threats on the high seas?
John Winn Miller keeps his eye on the history surrounding this era, but translates it into action-packed scenarios that will delight readers looking for a backdrop of nonfiction spiced by the intrigue and psychological depth of fiction:
"For two years since the war started in 1939, the Peggy C and her ragtag crew had dodged the mines and torpedoes and random naval duels from Africa to the North Sea, managing to eke out a living while the competition dwindled. Outside the protection of a convoy, fewer and fewer commercial ships dared ply these waters. Though Germany’s focus had shifted to the Russian and Mediterranean fronts, too many trigger-happy U-boat captains still lurked about in search of trophies from sunken tonnage. The situation was truly dire and desperate. Rogers loved every minute of it."
As U-boats, chases, romance, and special interests coalesce, the story becomes riveting on many different levels. The interplays between disparate special interests and characters illustrate some of the conundrums of political and social interactions during wartime:
"'There’s a U-boat out there that wants its boarding party back,' Rogers
'You will turn them over to the British authorities when we dock.' (rescued RAF pilot Lt. Gaylord)
'And the refugees?' Rogers was getting agitated.
'The Jews will have to go back where they came from,' Gaylord said with a haughty assurance that irritated Rogers even more.
'One of those Jews saved your life. You’d send her and her family back to die?'
'Rubbish,' Gaylord said. 'Truth be told, the Nazis are more civilized than you damn Yanks.'"
From spies and missing crews to losing battles and unexpected love, Miller spices his story with intrigue, close encounters, escapes and confrontations, and historical facts.
More so than most World War II tales, the intrigue and realistic backdrops create a compelling story that operates for all readers, no matter the degree of their familiarity with World War II politics or events.
The Hunt for the Peggy C is a vivid inspection of moral, ethical, social and political changes set against a thrilling backdrop of confrontation and revelation that will reach not only historical novel readers, but those typically attracted to thriller and action stories.
Library collections on the lookout for vivid World War II accounts and lively plots will find The Hunt for the Peggy C a winning attraction.