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November 11, 2022

The Hunt for the Peggy C by John Winn Miller ~ a Review

by Donna Huber

Jake Rogers is the captain of tramp steamer Peggy C. He sails around the north Atlantic ferrying supplies and other items that can be quite lucrative during wartime. Unfortunately, he is smuggling human cargo when he has a run-in with German U-boat captain Brauer. Brauer's sole mission is to sink as many ships as possible and confiscate useful cargo. When Rogers gets the best of him, Brauer becomes laser-focused on destroying Peggy C and the crew. Can Rogers stay a step ahead of the U-boat and get his cargo to safe harbors?

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

book cover of WWII adventure story The Hunt for the Peggy C by John Winn Miller
November 2022; Bancroft Press; 978-1610885706
audio, ebook, print (264 pages); historical fiction

I read a lot of WWII novels so I'm always looking for unique stories. While I have read stories that had passenger cruise ships crossing the Atlantic and know the danger they faced from U-boats, but a true sea adventure has not been the focus of the books I've read.

The Hunt for the Peggy C is set before the U.S. enters the war. The U.S. is technically neutral but as they do provide equipment and supplies to the Allies, Germany views them as enemies. Typically merchant ships would be stopped by a U-boat, boarded, cargo confiscated, the crew allowed to abandon ship, and then the ship would be destroyed. 

It has been years since I read (or saw) The Hunt for the Red October, but at times I felt similarities (maybe it was just a vibe) to that book. 

I had some trouble getting into the story at the beginning. There isn't a lot of character development upfront. Instead, we are dropped into the action with Rogers outrunning a German patrol in Amersterdam with important cargo he is smuggling to safety. The scene should have been a nail-biter as the stakes are high, but I think because I didn't have a connection to the characters yet I didn't feel the tension. 

There is some character development throughout the novel, but I'm not sure if it's enough for the story to be considered character-driven. There is quite a bit of action as Brauer and Rogers engage in a game of cat and mouse.

By the end I did want the crew of the Peggy C to succeed but overall this is a plot-driven novel. There is not a solid conclusion as to what is next for the characters and I was left wondering what would come of them as the U.S. is drawn into the war. We do get a solid conclusion to the chase. So while there is a cliff-hanger of sorts for what is next for the characters we know what happens to the Peggy C.

Overall, I enjoyed the story. I don't read a lot of books that are so action-focused so it was a nice change of pace. I liked seeing what it was like for the crews of merchant ships during WWII.

If you are looking for an adventure story, then this is a great one to pick up.

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