The Battle of the Atlantic was a fierce and deadly conflict fought primarily between German U-boats and Allied naval forces over nearly six years between 1939 and 1945. Douglas Reeman was a first-hand participant, serving aboard a British destroyer on convoy duty in the North Atlantic, where day-to-day existence was grim at best. Years later and well established as a best-selling author of naval fiction, Reeman returned to the Western Ocean, this time in his novel entitled Killing Ground. It begins in 1942, as Nazi U-boats are ravaging Allied convoys in the North Atlantic, which are carrying war matériel to beleaguered Britain and Russia. Lieutenant-Commander David Howard commands HMS Gladiator, a destroyer built between the two world wars, with an eclectic crew pieced together like a patchwork quilt from the regular Navy and, until recently, young men from civilian Britain. Sub-Lieutenant Richard Ayres -- a "temporary gentleman" -- comes aboard, with Gladiator preparing to embark for Iceland, where it will collect and shepherd a convoy bound for Russia. Underneath the slate-gray Arctic Sea lies an enemy U-boat, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Manfred Kleiber, waiting for a fresh prey. At twenty-six, he is a seasoned veteran, who for the first time considers his own mortality. Killing Ground is a classic epic of men and women caught up in a horrific conflict that none of them caused, but were obligated to see through to the end -- at great human sacrifice. Reeman deftly places readers on Gladiator's bridge, sharing the gripping tension with Howard and Ayres, as the ship carries on a ruthless private war with a murderous unseen enemy. Page after page, Reeman's splendid prose speaks authentically, describing naval life and battles at sea as only one who has been there can. The smells and sounds of a merchant ship afire or Oerlikon anti-aircraft guns firing at an enemy fighter excite the senses. In the end, though, it is the poignant humanity, the inner thoughts and emotions of his characters, that set Reeman's novels apart from others. Killing Ground is one of this naval fiction master's finest.