“This is the captain.” Long training and long-practiced self-control kept his voice even; no one could guess from that flat voice the excitement which boiled inside him, which could master him if he relaxed that self-control for an instant. “We’re running down a U-boat. Every man must be ready for instant action.”
The best Forster ever. Better than Hornblower. Out techno-babbles Clancy. The reader feels Krause’s pain. Immediate and real.
“A U-boat for certain, and Keeling was rushing down upon her at twenty-two knots. We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement.”
Krause’s entire life comes into focus during two days in 1942 in the North Atlantic. His Christian upbringing, his being “passed over”* for promotion, his failed marriage, but most of all his rigid sense of duty before self all animate the inner dialogue which is the heart of this amazing story.
“Every man shall bear his own burden, and this was his—that was a text from Galatians; he could remember learning it, so many years ago—and all he had to do was his duty; no one needed an audience for that. He was alone with his responsibility in this crowded pilothouse, at the head of the crowded convoy. God setteth the solitary in families.”
Cannot imagine how this could be made into a movie. How does the camera capture the inner conflict. That the name change to Greyhound suggests some dilution. Regardless, read the book first.
“Krause found himself in the position of a man whose casual remark turns out to be true. Now that he had announced that he wanted to go to the head he was in a state of overwhelming anxiety to do so. It was shockingly urgent. He could not wait another minute.”
*Military idiom for officer considered for but not being promoted.