Despite being the fifth and final adventure in Brian Callison's much lauded 'Captain Edward Trapp' series, this volume, TRAPP'S SECRET WAR, actually returns us to the avaricious Captain's further catastrophic and - until only recently, officially blanketed - involvement in the Second World War. Chronologically speaking it … or rather his ever-more bemused biographer, Chief Officer Miller's recounting of it … follows on from the sinking of Trapp's original coffin Q-ship, the Charon, in the Mediterranean while happily, or as sole survivor Miller cheerfully believed at the time, taking the rest of her misbegotten crew - including, most particularly, Trapp himself and the unredeemably awful Gorbals Wullie - down with her. But regrettably, for both Miller and Winston Churchill's War Cabinet, that immensely uplifting outcome proves not to be the case.
It's now 1943: one year later. A Russian convoy prepares to fight its violent, wreckage-strewn course across the Arctic Circle towards Murmansk. Many gallant vessels will die in that hazardous endeavour: all crewed by incredibly brave men ... except for one! The antiquated former Soviet ice-breaker, ?????? ??, and her appalling complement of replacement misfits captained, yet again, by the buccaneering Edward Trapp: professional scoundrel, international pariah, blackguard without merit.
And he hasn't changed one bit. For Trapp, global conflict still offers not so much the challenge of selfless service, but a prime commercial opportunity. How else might a treasure seeker convinced of his own immortality manipulate the allies into providing a whole task force of warships to escort him north through U-boat alley and waves of screeching Stukas to the very edge of the Arctic ice barrier … and beyond?
Seen through the increasingly panic-stricken eyes of Miller, the superannuated Charon II staggers from one sub-zero crisis to the next in the Captain’s bloody-minded pursuit of ignominy, golden cargo, economically beneficial assassination by the IRA, somewhat unlikely legends, and another old tramp ship which disappeared without trace up near the North Pole ... all, in this case, to the enduring embarrassment of the Royal and United States Navies.
Well, think about it. Haven't you ever wondered why the US Treasury has always been so insistent on the UK paying back every penny of that Lend-Lease money Churchill borrowed to finance Britain's part in the war against Nazi tyranny ...?
'A deliciously funny account of a rogue, told by the rogue’s sworn enemy. It takes a lot of bravery to set a Flashman-like spoof during World War II, but Callison pulls it off with panache. Not just for Trapp fans, but for anyone who likes good fun, especially military satire.' BOOKLIST