Naval Warfare Books

Book reviews

The Golden U-boat

Henrick, Richard P.

1996, Kensington Publishing Corp.
ISBN 082175470X
Paperback, 384 pages

Type. Novel
Pros. ???
Cons. Poor writing, convoluted plot

This novel, most of which takes place in the modern day, deals in part with the rediscovery of two Type XXI U-boats which went missing during World War II. Most of the book is not about U-boats, however, but rather about a current-day plot to re-establish a Nazi Reich in South America.

The book takes off rather slowly, is hampered by stilted and completely unbelievable dialogue, and contains numerous misspellings and grammatical errors. Part of the problem is that the author explains historical context and technology through his characters' dialogue, which makes for some pretty silly and unrealistic sentences coming out of those characters' mouths, but even when not employing this device, the dialogue is laughable. The author also seems to have an obsession with food, describing in detail what the characters eat and having them carry on long conversations about their normal shipboard meals. Of course even characters in novels have to eat, but I bought this book because I wanted to read about U-boats, not pages and pages about pork and beans and recipes for turkey burgers.

The plot itself is complicated and beyond the bounds of probability. A Russian naval officer who wants to take revenge for his mistreatment at the hands of the Nazis in World War II makes it his mission to track down neo-Nazi groups all over the world. A sunken U-boat containing a valuable cargo is found off the coast of Norway. A shipment of heavy water, sent to the bottom of a lake in World War II, is rediscovered and is a salvage objective for a group which wants to re-establish a Nazi Reich. A second U-boat, preserved and hidden since the end of World War II, is part of their plan. The Soviets are pursuing their own objective in the same waters, namely to disrupt Norwegian oil production in order to corner the market. Before the book ends, the northern waters become positively infested with submarines, old and new, of several nations.

This book seems to belong to a love-it-or-hate-it genre, judging by the (mystifying to me) glowing reviews of this book and the author's other work that can be found at So even though I thought this book was a waste of my time and money (and I even read it twice, just to make sure I wasn't missing something), apparently there are many who might disagree with me. To sum up, I hated it, but you might love it.

Review written by Tonya Allen.

Published on 12 Jun 2000.

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