The fate of the Allies rests in the hands of eccentric British Navy Captain George Hardy. Regarded as a madman by some, and viewed as a genius in naval warfare by those who serve with him, Hardy leads his ragtag fleet of warships into a deadly match of wits and wills against the determined Kern and his untested U-boats. Under cover of the ocean, the deadliest of enemies are about to engage their final battle….

Welcome to HuntersAndTheHunted.Com, the Cyberspace Home of author:

Steven Wilson.

Monday, July 26, 2004
[Steven Wilson / HuntersAndTheHunted.Com]

by Steven Wilson, [IMAGE]2005


Remember that your life’s vocation, deliberately chosen, is War: War as a means of Peace, but still War; and in singleness of purpose prepare for the time when the Defence of this Realm may come to be in your keeping.
--Alston’s Manual of Seamanship, 1865

Warm Springs Georgia,
July 3, 1941

Louis Hoffman walked up the slight grassy knoll leading to the large swimming pool, removing his sweat-drenched jacket and undoing his tie. He’d already unbuttoned his vest and taken off his battered hat but it was still too damned hot for a civilized man to be out in this uncivilized country. His suit, which always looked as if he slept in it and then got up and hurriedly ate a three course breakfast, was as limp as the damp hair that plastered the back of his neck.

Hoffman was irritated which was a natural state of affairs for the diminutive aid to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He was hot and he was disgusted that he’d had to travel from Washington down to this god-forsaken country because Franklin told him to come to Warm Springs as quickly as he could because it was “important.” Everything with Franklin was important because Franklin made everything important and when anyone around the President exhibited the least bit of consternation over the endless barrage of edicts, Franklin would flash that patented smile of his and airily wave off any concerns.


Hoffman looked up to see a strange shape floating on the pool, distorted by the flashing rays of the sun. He held his hand up to cut down the glare. It was the torso of a man. The man was waving at him.

“Louis,” Franklin Delano Roosevelt called again in that famous vibrant voice that never seemed to lack confidence or calm authority. “Good of you to come.”

Hoffman jammed the handkerchief in his back pocket and dropped heavily into a deck chair. “You ordered me to,” he said, curtly. He watched as Roosevelt maneuvered the floating chair through the water, his powerful shoulders, arms and chest, white against the blue water, driving him closer. Hoffman knew that the President’s legs, robbed of life by polio, dangled uselessly below the surface.

The President stuck out his big hand and beamed. “Good to see you, Louis.”

Hoffman pulled a cigarette from a pack and lit it. “I hate this fucking place.” He stuck the cigarette in Roosevelt’s ebony holder and handed it to the president.

Roosevelt threw his head back and laughed heartily. “We do need to get you out of Washington more often, my old friend.”

“How about Times Square and 2nd Avenue?” Hoffman said, lighting a cigarette for himself. “Where’s a guy get a drink around here?”

“Ring the bell, Louis,” Roosevelt said, pointing to a small bell on a table next to the chair. “When Charles comes order whatever you like. I’ll have iced tea, lots of lemon, unsweetened.” He pushed himself away from the edge of the pool and clamped the holder in his teeth at a jaunty angle. “I’ve got two more laps and then we’ll talk. Go to the lodge and get refreshed. I’ll meet you in an hour. In your room is a folder with the latest dispatches from England.” He was almost shouting as he neared the center of the pool.

It was two hours before a servant took Hoffman to Roosevelt’s office. The president dressed in lightweight slacks, a knit shit and canvas deck shoes, motioned Hoffman to a chair next to him.

“Louis,” the president began thoughtfully, sliding a cigarette into a holder, “we’ve a problem.”

“Is this a one drink problem or a two drink problem?” Hoffman asked.

“Hear me out and you can decide for yourself.” Roosevelt moved the wheelchair closer to Hoffman. “I don’t think England can last much longer on her own. Adolph is too strong. The British rescued the bulk of their army at Dunkerque but left their supplies on the beach. No tanks, artillery, or trucks. They might as well be a 19th Century army. Mr. Hitler’s U-boats are starving her. Her convoys see fifty or sixty per cent losses. Whatever is getting through is not enough. We have given her 50 old destroyers and whatever else we can spare short of going to war ourselves.” He examined the end of the glowing cigarette. “I’m afraid, and I mention this only to you of course, that Great Britain is dying.”

Steven Wilson / HuntersAndTheHunted.Com

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