is the third book in the Neptune’s Five WWII spy-chaser novels. In this book, our featured hero is Chief Petty Officer, Warren “Chief” Smith, the oldest and most seasoned sailor of the team.
The story is told in two parts because of some historical timeline issues. The first part is in August, 1941. Which makes it sandwiched between SHANGHAIED and TRACKED, the first two novels in the series.
Yeah, that’s because my team are the spies in this book and are on a secret reconnaisance mission to French Morocco. America is still neutral and has a pact with the French Vichy government there to deliver supplies of food, goods and oil to them. If I had waited to start this story’s timeline for after the end of TRACKED, the team would’ve been going into an enemy country as our neutrality with the Vichy government ended when we were at war with Germany.
The Neptune Five team is on a mission to learn what they can about the Axis forces in Morocco and how to navigate a particularly difficult river. To achieve this, they need a guide. Enter Elizabeth “Betty” Devereaux, an American missionary nurse who has traveled up the Sebou river many times. Warren isn’t happy that he’s required to use a woman to help him navigate this river, being attracted the dark-haired, blue-eyed beauty only adds to his irritation. As that irritation turns to admiration, he fears her safety when the team must return to the States, leaving her behind to continue her mission work.
Not a great move for a modern romance novel to seperate the hero and heroine. You’re supposed to keep them together. Even strand them in isolation so they have to deal with their emotions and attraction for each other. Mine are now half-a-world apart. This was nearly a hundred years ago, so their communictions were limited. Long-distance calls were for emergencies due to their expense and cell phones were non-existant. The only option back then and for my characters was writing letters.
Then Pearl Harbor happened, trapping the heroine in enemy held territory. But she was still able to get her letters out through the Embassy in Spanish Morocco, which was still neutral. Through these letters Betty and Warren’s attraction has turned to love.
Then the letters stop.
That takes us into November, 1942 and the eve of Operation Torch, the Allied invasion of North Africa. The team is on a seperate and very personal mission to find Betty.