Thursday, 5 December 2013

Book review - "Seelöwe Nord", Andy Johnson

As a change from the collection of historical stuff I've been reading, I picked up on Kindle (for reasons which should be pretty obvious if you follow this blog) Andy Johnson's hypothetical tale of a German invasion of Britain. It's quite interesting reading this in parallel with listening to the audiobook of Peter Fleming's "Operation: Sealion" (which, for the curious, I'm just over half-way through): very different styles, but the Fleming does give an interesting insight into how much work has to be done in a what-if scenario to get round the things that prevented a German invasion of Britain in Real Life

I'll not give too much away, but if you know me, one of the reasons I like the book is I grew up in the area of the German invasion Johnson sets out to narrate, and indeed I've played as a kid on some of the beaches. This makes the book easier for me follow than for some people - while I do relate to the reviewers who've complained about the lack of maps, it really didn't bother me, since I carry a pretty decent set in my head.

The author apparently originally created the scenario as a military tactical exercise, and on his retirement from the Forces, used it to create the book. As such, it's clear he knows his stuff, and writes with a degree of authority, whether it's putting words into the mouths of historical figures, or of his own characters.

If there are criticisms, they're mostly about the writers craft, rather than the story and the technical competence of the story teller. It does need the attentions of a proof-reader and to a lesser extent an editor. His Germans are a bit stereotypical, and I found their use of English idiom and swearwords a touch jarring - that said, I can't decide whether I'd have preferred a more Commando Comics approach to their dialogue or not, though. One of the Amazon reviewers has some more detailed criticisms of the naval combat, which I confess I'm not qualified to comment on.

Having said all that? It's fast paced, a absolute rip snorter of a riot, and a fun read. (Even the afore-mentioned reviewer gave it four stars out of five, for heavens sake!)

More than that? It's giving me ideas. Mwahahaha... :D :D

2 comments:

  1. I live in the invasion zone, Kent, and recently rebought Fleming's book. It is still the definitive work.

    I designed the Sealion boardgame for WWW many years ago. First you have to assume that the Luftwaffe force the RAF out of the area then that the RN sort of vanishes. A single destroyer sailing through the canal barges of the invasion fleet would have sunk them with its wake. Ah well.

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    Replies
    1. I should note I wasn't raised in Kent, and that's not where Johnson's invasion is set :D

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