This is the first audiobook in the epic WWII Raiding Forces series. Meticulously researched (the author was an instructor at the Army Ranger School), the series begins with the birth of special operations – as seen through the eyes of a young American officer who has volunteered to serve with British Forces.
May, 1940: 10th Panzer Division has decimated France and is driving on Calais a short distance from Dunkirk. Lieutenant John Randal, a veteran of the US 26th Cavalry Regiment, volunteers to serve with the British forces and arrives on the continent three days before the town falls. What unfolds is a blend of guerrilla tactics learned in the Philippian jungles, the first small-scale Commando raid, tough training at No. 1 Parachute Training School, suspense, humor, and a little romance with the drop-dead gorgeous widow Lady Jane Seaborn.
The author – a decorated Ranger combat veteran – covers the details of war extensively, putting the listener right in the middle of the action. As the novel ends, newly promoted Major Randal, upon returning from the first British parachute raid of the war, is alerted that Raiding Forces will deploy within 48 hours via sea transport for their next mission off the Gold Coast of Africa.
Those Who Dare is exactly what it purports to be – a lot of military, some suspense and humor with a hint of romance. Phil Ward’s first book in the Raiding Forces series feels like part Ken Burns documentary (that’s not an insult, I love Ken Burns) and part 1950’s radio program. Detailing the creation of the Raiding Forces, this centers mostly around Lieutenant John Randal but there is a huge cast that we get to know, root for, and love. The romance does not progress beyond a peck on the cheek and Lady Jane Seaborn proves an enjoyable Peggy Carter to John Randal’s Steve Rogers.
My only complaints were:
* the author used rank and full names nearly every time a character was mentioned. It gets tedious.
* the military drum sound effect between each section. It’s a lot of drumming.
Even with that I truly enjoyed this production and am looking forward to the next book, Dead Eagles.
This is duet narration. Miles Meili narrates the bulk of the story with Shauna MacDonald performing any female speaking parts. Meili & MacDonald give us an impressive range of voices, accents, and personalities. It was wonderful and I’m thrilled they’ll be narrating the rest of the series.
Trigger Warnings (possible spoilers):
Very brief mentions of wartime death. Not graphic.