Rescue Run, an Essential World War II Thriller by John Winn Miller

The Bottom Line: Based on real World War II heroes, and profoundly researched from cover-to-cover, Rescue Run is every bit as riveting and essential as anything in Clive Cussler’s body of work. 

Set during World War II, Rescue Run opens as American Captain Jake Rogers’ cargo ship comes under attack from a Nazi submarine. Despite the assistance of a B-24 bomber in fending off the U-boat attack, Rogers’ battered vessel splits in half, forcing the crew to abandon ship. After attempting to save as many of his men as possible, Rogers steers his lifeboat toward Ireland. Two days later, the survivors are rescued by an Irish merchant vessel.

Soon after, Rogers gets word that Solomon Maduro – father of the love of his life, Miriam – has been arrested in Holland. Rogers is stunned by the news, as he had assumed Miram’s family were still safely in Palestine. Word that Solomon may soon be deported to a concentration camp is devastating for more than just personal reasons. As a wealthy philanthropist who has financed the evacuation of Jews and helped sailors in need, Solomon is also an extremely important figure for the resistance. 

But getting Solomon out won’t be easy. Rogers will need to obtain Irish passports and licenses for the crew, then make contact through underground networks who can help them infiltrate Nazi-occupied Europe. But are Rogers’ contacts still alive? And even if they are, can they still be trusted?

Rescue Run, the second installment in author John Winn Miller’s Peggy C Saga series, delivers on visceral entertainment value, but goes the extra mile when it comes to historical heft. Real-life bios about major and minor characters are included, as well as historical notes about key chapters. Fans of naval war history will be especially gratified, as Miller delivers fascinating detail about the construction and plight of Liberty ships, so-called “plastic armor,” corvettes and more. Also included are chilling insights into German psych-ops (“To give the Jews a false sense of hope, Gemmeker allowed them to take educational classes, play in the camp orchestra, engage in sports, and travel outside the camp to purchase groceries or clothing with special camp currency”).

It’s easy to imagine Rescue Run as the basis for the next big studio World War II mini-series, ala Master of the Air or The Pacific. In the meantime, for fans of World War II naval fiction, Rescue Run is simply essential reading. 

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