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The Dawn Attack

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November 29, 1941: 0530 hrs. At sea, three thousand yards off the blacked-out coast of Occupied Norway two ditched Luftwaffe air crew toss in a yellow dinghy. One is dead, his companion close to death. As their rubber coffin roller-coasters crazily to the crest of yet another curling sea a river of lightning illuminates the scene - and inexplicably, almost impossibly, reveals "a line of ships … long, low, silent ships. Ships stealing predatorily eastwards along the jagged silhouette of the black horizon." Then the light fades, the ghost ships vanish, the incredulous airman ceases to breathe … "But he was still the first German to have seen the coming to Norway of Number 22 Commando, Special Service Brigade".

This is the story of an Allied raid on the little Norwegian fishing port of Alvik: of the Commando and of the naval and air detachments which supported it, and of the German garrison which resisted them. Alvik is imaginary, there was no Number 22 Commando - but there were similar events, and the very essence of those battles lies distilled in the following pages.

There are no good guys or bad guys, no 'ours' and 'theirs'; only human beings - some cowardly, some brutal, some pitifully vulnerable; some who joke in the face of death, others who cower terrified before it. With staggering vividness Brian Callison sketches in his protagonists so that they become creatures of flesh and blood who carry the reader with them in this hectic clash of arms. All the nobility of war is here; all the squalor; all the humour and all the horror. To read THE DAWN ATTACK is to know what it was really like. It is to have fought in Combined Operations.

Heart-stopping suspense. New York Times.

Genre: Thriller

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