EDGE OF VALOR
Todd Ingram Adventures, Book 5 Hardcover: ISBN: 9781612515199 Naval Institute Press $26.95 (Hardback)
The fifth exciting entry to the Todd Ingram series, Edge of Valor features the World War II exploits of Cdr. Todd Ingram, commanding officer of the destroyer USS Maxwell (DD 525). After the ship is damaged by a hit from a kamikaze just off Okinawa, they pull in for repairs at Kerama Retto Island where they hear news of the war's end. Instead of being shipped home with the rest, Cdr. Ingram receives orders to fly to Manila where he is thrown into the events regarding the formal surrender. Two days later, the promise of being able to attend the ceremony at Tokyo Bay seems a distant hope as he is sent to Karafuto Island to defuse a Soviet attack on Hokkaido, and to extract a Red Cross representative who is being protected by the Japanese in the garrison that is under siege by the Soviets and who has overwhelming photographic evidence of horrific deeds enacted on Chinese citizens... Three weeks ago, there was a war on. He was fighting the Japanese and the Soviets were allies, now the war is over and the battles lines aren't so clear anymore.
SYNOPSIS by John J Gobbell
The Fifth novel of the Todd Ingram Historical Naval Adventures, published by the U.S. Naval Institute Press.
Edge of Valor is the fifth historical thriller by John J. Gobbell featuring the World War II exploits of Cdr. Todd Ingram, commanding officer of the destroyer USS Maxwell (DD 525), who saves his ship when it’s hit by a kamikaze off Okinawa. For repairs, they pull into Kerama Rhetto, Okinawa, where news of the war’s end comes. With everyone else, Ingram expects to be shipped home. Instead, he receives orders to fly to Manila where he’s met by Brig. Gen. Otis Dewitt, an Army buddy from his days on Corregidor and now intelligence aide to General Richard K Sutherland, chief of staff to General Douglas MacArthur. On Ingram’s C-54 are sixteen Japanese senior military and civilian diplomats who meet with Sutherland to discuss formal surrender arrangements. Two days later, the terms are agreed with Ingram working with one of the Japanese delegates to ensure enemy mines are neutralized so the allied fleet of over two ships can enter Tokyo Bay. While Ingram is promised he can attend the ceremony in Tokyo Bay, DeWitt, in concert with the State Department, has an ulterior motive and sends him to Karafuto Island (Sakhalin to the Soviets) to defuse a Soviet attack on Hokkaido – the northernmost island of Japan’s Home Islands. Ingram’s old adversary Edward Dezhnev is the brigade commander responsible for laying siege to a Japanese holdout command in Toro, a natural jumping-off place for an attack on Hokkaido.
Also in Toro, DeWitt explains, is Walter Boring, a Red Cross representative with two crates of overwhelming photographic evidence of Japan’s experiments on live human beings in China. Ingram is expected to return Boring and those crates, but how can he when Boring is being protected by the Japanese garrison in Toro, where Dezhnev and his brigade stand ready to overpower them at any moment?
As his shipmates prepare to return to their loved ones, Ingram’s war continues. Three weeks earlier he was fighting the Japanese, and the Russians were supposed to be friends. Now he doesn’t know who to trust.
Critical Praise / Cover Quotes
"Having skippered his battered destroyer through deadly kamikaze attacks, twice Navy Cross winner Todd Ingram is rewarded by Washington with a new and even more perilous secret mission. And John J. Gobbell will keep his readers up until dawn to discover if Ingram can possibly accomplish or even survive his hair-raising assignment to foil a bold Soviet planned invasion of Hokkaido from Sakhalin—before the ink is dry on Japan's surrender."
"Jack Gobbell knows how to tell a story, and Edge of Valor is a corking good one—combining the final days of World War II's war in the Pacific and the beginning of the Cold War. Gobbell skillfully weaves fascinating, well-drawn fictional characters into historical situations and thus makes a learning experience out of gripping drama. Along the way, he gives such real-life characters as Gen. Douglas MacArthur, Adm. Chester Nimitz, Adm. John S. McCain Sr. and even Arturo Toscanini walk-on parts that are often almost as interesting as his main characters. Edge of Valor is, in short, a compelling and well-researched work of historical fiction."
"Far better than a yarn. Edge of Valor has vivid historical characters and heart. Like no other historical novel, it brings to life the new world order that followed WWII and is still emerging as the cause of turmoil in the western Pacific continues to shift."
"John Gobbell's latest book, Edge of Valor: A Todd Ingram Novel is another triumph in this series. It is historical fiction at its best. He is a master of the details of the battle actions of our WWII destroyers and extends his tale to include the beginning of the Cold War with the Soviet Union."
- Publishers Weekly (2 June 2014)
- Terry Miller - National Association of Destroyer Veterans
- Quarterdeck Magazine
- Historical Novel Society (November 2014)
Gobbell’s exciting fifth Todd Ingram novel (after 2004’s The Neptune Strategy) finds Ingram commanding the destroyer USS Maxwell, which comes under Kamikaze attack off the coast of Japan shortly after the second atomic bomb falls on Nagasaki. Following the Japanese surrender, Ingram thinks the end of the war in the Pacific means an imminent return to his wife and son stateside after years of combat, yet he quickly discovers otherwise. While Ingram’s next assignment is to escort top Japanese military officials and diplomats on a flight to the Philippines to negotiate peace with Gen. Douglas MacArthur, his old comrade from Corregidor days, Brig. Gen. Otis DeWitt, has bigger plans for the war-weary commander. DeWitt dispatches him to Sakhalin Island, where the Soviets are preparing to launch an attack on Hokkaido. The heroic Ingram gets involved in plenty of intrigue as he seeks to thwart the Soviet threat. History and military buffs will be well rewarded.
This book is the fifth in the Todd Ingram series though it is not necessary to read them in order. In it as the war with Japan is ending, another foe is apparent as the Cold War begins. Todd Ingram’s background makes him the most likely candidate for a difficult and as it turns out, dangerous assignment so instead of heading for home and family at the end of the war; he finds himself the focus of intrigue, espionage and combat in a frozen place being disputed by a reeling Japan and the Soviet Union. John Gobbell paints a rich picture of U.S. Navy life from an officer's perspective, reflecting his own navy service. He draws on that knowledge and has researched the time period to produce another enjoyable tale for his many fans. Edge of Valor, like the other books in the Todd Ingram series, puts the reader in the action with vivid descriptions and lifelike dialog. Gobbell provides an undercurrent of the issues of the painful separation from family so familiar to military personnel and especially those who serve at sea. Old issues haunt some of the characters and affect their behavior in ways all too familiar to most veterans and Ingram and his family are not immune to them. Characters familiar to readers of Gobbell's previous works appear in sometimes new and tangled roles, resulting in unexpected twists as Ingram becomes aware that this post-war situation has become personal—someone is trying to kill him. Any U.S. Navy veteran should appreciate this book but especially the destroyer sailors and I recommend it very favorably.
Edge of Valor is John Gobbell at his finest, with a rapidly-paced historical thriller that will have readers turning pages at a furious rate. His portrayal of the war years in the Pacific and on the home front is brilliant and authentic down to the last detail.
August, 1945. The surrender of Japan should have brought a close to the war, and to the need of Commander Todd Ingram’s presence in the Pacific. But when he is called away from his duties aboard the USS Maxwell to go on a top secret mission, he is troubled. He wants nothing more than to go home to his wife in California.
Of what use would the commanding officer of an American destroyer be among a crew of pilots, Marines, and representatives of the state department escorting Japanese dignitaries? What role could he play in dissuading Soviet intentions to occupy not only territory on the mainland, but also the island of Hokkaido? When he sees his Russian contact, all is made clear. This is the very man he had come to call friend years ago in San Francisco. It’s also the very man who tried to have Ingram’s wife killed. With NKVD threats against his life, the prospect of WWIII, and the onset of the Cold War, the world itself seems at stake. And Ingram finds himself in the middle of it.
This is the fifth installment of the Ingram series. I haven’t read the others, but Gobbell does a good job of getting the reader up to speed. As a commissioned officer in the U.S. Navy, he is able to bring tremendous insight, information, and authenticity to play in his writing. He obviously loves military life. The novel is full of banter among the ranks, banter between the ranks, and banter between the military branches. His enthusiasm for his characters perhaps shows through too much, and the pacing is a bit off. Nevertheless it was an enjoyable read, and it was good to meet the likes of MacArthur and be there for the official surrender ceremony.
Crossing the carrier's bow_ always a risky maneuver espcially in combat. USS Bush (DD 529)- USS Intrepid (CV 11)
Enroute - they flew over Corregidor Island at the entrance to Manila Bay. Note Bataan Peninsula in background.
As with this C-54 from a later era, Bucky Radcliff fights for directional control as he lands at Toro. Note opposite rudder and airleron positions
Japanese destroyer - note depressed guns - leads US Fleet into Tokay Bay - USS Nicholas (DD 449) in Foreground
Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu signs for the Imperial Japanese Government. Standing by is General MacArthur's Chief of Staff, General Richard K. Sutherlin. Note General Richard Sutherlin at left.
Admirals William F. Halsey, Jr. and John S. McCain Sr., chat after the ceremony. Note Commodore Perry's flag mounted on bulkhead.
Admirals Nimitz and Halsey sent Admiral MCain home to Coronado California in Nimitz' personal PB2Y Coronado.
1939 Packard-12 Brunn Body Cabriolet like the one whisking newlyweds Captain and Mrs. Landa from the Church of the Good Shepard to the Beverly Hills Hotel