I haven’t really used FictionPals to write book reviews, but for some reason Amazon won’t let me post a review for this book. Can’t figure it out so I’m posting it here.
So here goes…
Every now and then, I thoroughly enjoy a good WWII story and when I picked up Operation Leonardo by Robert Cubitt, I was not disappointed. This is the first of Robert’s Commando books that I have read. He has written a total of five books on them, in particular the (fictional) group, 15Commando led by the charismatic Steve Carter. This team is based on the real Commandos in the British Army, an elite force that took the fight across several different geographical locations of the WWII theatre.
Leonardo is one of many operations under the umbrella of Operation Husky, the Allied Invasion of Sicily in July 1943. Under direct orders from General Montgomery, 15Commando is tasked to take and hold a bridge over the River Gabriel. According to the intelligence brief they were not expecting any enemy resistance and, they were told, that there were no German tanks within miles. General Montgomery was wrong. And Carter and his Commandos end up having to capture the beach and battery at Cassibile and then make for and take the bridge. They also had to ensure that the bridge doesn’t get blown up by either the Italians or, by the unexpected arrival of the Germans. That too none other than the Fallschirmjäger (paratrooper) division that parachuted in to take or blow up the same bridge.
When the going gets really tough, with the arrival of German Tiger Tanks, the Commando division is given an “everyman for himself” order. And from that point it’s a pretty heart-thumping charge to the finish. I’ll not give away any spoilers here but there are enough twists and turns to keep one guessing.
I felt it had a bit of a slow warm up with lots of initial explanatory detail. But overall, it’s an engaging story that captures and holds one’s attention. What added to the sense of authentic danger, is the fact that the series was inspired by Robert Cubitt’s own father, which gives the reader that extra edge of connection. And the incident too is based on real events. I also enjoyed the occasional literary references and quotes. A good read, with much to enjoy and learn.