Friday, August 25, 2006

Convergence of Valor



Convergence of Valor: The Men of the H. L. Hunley
by Guntis G. Goncarovs
(iUniverse / 0-595-37055-1 / December 2005 / 250 pages / $16.95)

Dive! Dive! Put some muscle into it, men! Historical Fiction author Guntis Goncarovs takes us to the bottom of Mobile Bay in the first submarine developed during the U.S. Civil War. The H. L. Hunley was manned and powered by a crew of eight non-Union men who were not exactly soldiers, either. Most of them had to be very strong men because the screw was turned manually by the crew using an elaborate system of cranks and gears. The torpedo was dragged behind the sub with a rope, and the only light inside the sub emitted from a candle at each end. The Hunley was designed, built, and tested in Mobile, AL, for a mission crucial to the Southern cause, the breaking of the Federal blockade of Charleston, SC. Union ships had cut off the shipment of supplies to Charleston and held their position for months. The Confederate Navy was willing to take desperate measures at the risk of many lives. Convergence of Valor is a fictionalized account of whatever actually happened to several crews of the Hunley during its development and deployment. The exact details of the story are unknown.

Convergence of Valor takes us to a special place in American history. If you are a fan of this type of reading, this book belongs on your bookshelf between Bruce Catton's This Hallowed Ground and Tom Clancy's The Hunt for Red October. The author has done his research on the history of the Hunley. Don't let his Russian-sounding name throw you: he lives not far from the location of the actual events. You can put the words H. L. Hunley
in any search engine and discover plenty of details about the true heroic events surrounding this primitive submarine. As in the two classics noted, the technical details surround the unknown variables in a manner that brings the historical events to life. Yes, it's a shorter book concerning a very specific event, but the quality and mood are very similar. Mr. Goncarovs puts the reader on that manually powered sub. He lets the reader experience how scary such a place would be. Dead men tell no tales... but this one does.

Gustis G. Goncarovs' website