Patrick O’Toole came from a family of fishermen and sailors. He’d always known that the navy was his destiny. Raised by a stern grandfather, he also had to live with doubts that he was ‘adequate’ to the tasks before him. He joined the navy just in time for World War 2, but when a ship is sunk by the Japanese when he’s officer of the deck, his doubts intensify, and he becomes even more driven and determined to do better.
Vows to the Fallen by Larry Laswell is military fiction at its finest. It chronicles the saga of Patrick O’Toole during some of the most momentous and horrific sea battles of the Pacific as the Allies tried to beat back the Japanese fleet. The action is so rich in detail, the acrid smell of gun powder and blood will sting your nose, and the cries of the wounded and dying will haunt your dreams. Laswell writes about war as it is; not the stylized version you see on the screen, but the dirty, bloody reality that those who go to war experience.
If you’ve never read war fiction, start with this one. If you’re a fan of the genre, put this on your list to read next.
I give this one a resounding five stars.