A colossal mushroom of dense smoke rose, spreading over the sea. HMS Invincible sank swiftly in a welter of flame, steam and spitting cordite...
Carrying the belligerent names that small English boys in sailor suits wore proudly on their caps - Invincible, Inflexible, Indomitable - Britain's World War One Invincible class ships were powerfully sinister, each of 17,250 tons and mounting eight 12-inch guns that could hurl a broadside for almost ten miles, each crammed with a thousand men, and armed with massive, toad-shaped turrets which lifted their long gun-barrels to sniff at the sky for sight of the enemy.
But to gain speed, the Invincible's design had sacrificed strength - one torpedo to the flimsy plating could rip open these monsters of the sea.
From the slum streets of Leith and the prize-rings of the East End, through the training ground of the Worcester and the killing ground of Gallipoli - to the last great roar of the guns of evening to the west of Jutland Bank, this masterly novel from the author of The Tinfish Run, The Pierhead Jump and The Neptune Landing carries the distinctive hallmark of a classic of war at sea.
Bassett not only vividly captures the personal stories of four men among Invincible's complement - he also makes complex tactical aspects of combat at sea comprehensible, taut and engrossing.
Praise for The Guns of Evening
'Brings the tragic fate of HMS Invincible alive with dreadful vividness and authenticity.' The Irish Times
Praise for Ronald Bassett
'Vividly described ... the voyage as seen through the sleep-robbed eyes of matelots and officers alike' Daily Telegraph
'Superb ... this is the authentic Navy' Manchester Evening News
Ronald Bassett joined the Navy as a boy. His first ship was the cruiser Norfolk in which he served as a Telegraphist in the Arctic during the Bismarck action, and the North African landings. He served in landing craft during the invasion of Normandy.
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February 1980 : UK Hardback
January 2016 : Paperback
August 1981 : UK Paperback
December 2015 : USA, Canada, UK Kindle edition