A to Z Challenge: T is for “Trapp’s War”

TIn my A to Z Challenge posts I’ve already mentioned several times books recommended to me by my mom, and today I’m going about another one.

She handed Brian Callison’s “Trapp’s War” to me around the same time she let me read thrillers from her bookshelf, and as far as I remember, I’ve read it in one sitting. And then again, and again, and again… (Back when I was young and had plenty of time, I loved to re-read books.)

The story is set during the World War II and it focuses on Mediterranean Sea and Malta, the Alliance’s lone fortress-island. German blockade makes survival on the island difficult, but the commanders are determined to wage their war for as long as possible. Even if it means sending an old civilian ship out to the sea to disturb the Axis supply lines. Sounds ridiculous? The main character, lieutenant Miller would say so, but his superior commander thinks otherwise, so the battered ship with a suiting name, Charon, sets out to the sea, commanded by captain Trapp, and with a crew being a mix of misfits and the most unruly Navy sailors.

Polish version of the cover.

The concept itself already seemed interesting: a decoy ship secretly hunting for the Axis supply vessels, but what makes “Trapp’s War” even more entertaining read is Callison’s humor. Dark and grim, it bursts from the pages, and causes every chapter to be a roller-coaster of fun. We get to experience the story through Miller’s eyes (unlucky enough to be assigned to Charon after it sets out), and his snarky comments add a lot of flavor to the narration. Also great portrayal of all the characters, with their flaws and quirks, presents a lot of humor opportunities, so “Trapp’s War” is full of witty dialogue and memorable one-liners.

To this day, me and my mom throw funny lines at each other whenever the book becomes the topic of a conversation.

Still, with all the fun and humor, “Trapp’s War” is still a book about war, so you can expect twists and nail-biting moments, though the story never takes a sharp turn towards drama, and the dramatic events are countered by an appropriate dose of dark humor. A perfectly balanced meal of delicious words. And definitely a good antidote when you’ve had your fill of serious and thought-provoking literature.

So, how about you? What was the last book that made you laugh out loud?

Joanna Maciejewska

Joanna Maciejewska is a fantasy and science fiction author who enjoys all things SFF: books, movies, and video games. Her short stories appeared in magazines and anthologies in Polish and in English. Her epic fantasy adventure series, starting with By the Pact, is available in ebook and paperback at all major retailers.

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. JEN

    I’ve read a couple picture books recently that pulled an audible laugh from me, but the last novel that made me laugh was written by Shannon Hale.

  2. sjhigbee

    Ah… yes – Brian Calliston! He is a firm favourite with Himself, who regularly rereads his books. I also recall Trapp’s War – you’re right, it does tend towards dark humour. Though I mostly recall the constantly being cold and wet… and shuddering with relief that I wasn’t out there.
    The book that had me sniggering, if not actually laughing aloud is an Indie novella I read at the beginning of last week – ‘Date Night at Union Station’. It’s a sci fi comedy of manners set on a space station, managing to weave a series of offbeat adventures involving trading scams and a variety of aliens in amongst a career woman sampling a dating agency that was a present from concerned friends. It’s charming and funny and thoroughly enjoyable.

  3. portiabridget

    I haven’t read that one but I was a fan of King Rat by James Clavell. It is also set during WWII but it deals with American and English POWs kept by the Japanese.

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