In Danger's Path

In Danger’s Path is the eighth novel in WEB Griffin’s series of The Corps. While it weighs in at a lengthy 550 pages in hardcover, it is well worth the effort.

The main plot focuses on, true to Griffin’s other novels, a little more obscure history. The US Navy needs better weather information about the Northern Pacific. The Army and their Air Corps also need this same info as they plan ahead for an invasion of the Japanese islands. It is decided that weather data from Mongolia would be helpful to both services. The issue becomes as to which service will mount the mission, and how to setup a weather station in Japan’s backyard, and keep it supplied without the enemy bombing it. While this doesn’t get highlighted in history books, this mission and the weather station is historically true.

Griffin uses this as his starting point for this apocryphal story of some of our favorite US Marines to setup the weather station in the Gobi Desert (imaginatively called Operation Gobi- seriously they should have had a better code name than that!). The storyline divides between General Pickering, now a bigwig at the OSS (Office of Strategic Services, the forerunner of the CIA) in charge of Pacific Operations. We follow the planning stages, and the interservice politics involved in a complicated mission on the other side of the world. There is also a sideline about a potential break in security that results in a shake up among the brass.

The other major plot line focuses on some issues that hadn’t seriously come up from the first novel in this series, Semper Fi. In typical Griffin fashion, he diabolically shelves these storylines on the back burner just until you start to give up hope (or at least forget…), and then he thrusts them into the forefront. More specifically, we hear more about the foreign wives left behind in China from the Marines that were withdrawn before World War II. He also interweaves some chronologically older events into this novel that brings things together. Seriously, anyone that can mesh eight books together into a cohesive plot line must be a master of their trade!

By the end of In Danger’s Path, it is 1943, all of the major characters in the series are featured, and a lot of loose ends get tied together. After eight novels, some of which are not exactly short, we have been taken on quite a tour of the Marines in World War Two. In my view, Griffin probably could have ended the series here. In fact it appears that this is the last of The Corps novels that deal with WW II. However, there are two more novels that head on over to the Korean War, and who knows if there are more coming.

Grade: A-

For reviews of the first six novels of the series, click here. For the seventh novel, Behind the Lines, see here.

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