Book Review: Gone To Sea In A Bucket by David Black

Another month, another decent Kindle First pick. This was a stab in the dark but it paid off for me as it was an entertaining read.

The novel follows Harry Gilmoura young man who has joined the navy during the Second World War, after a frustrating first commission where he finds himself victim of the navy’s entrenched class system. However, a friendly suggestion allows him to avoid trouble and he winds up a submariner.

As Harry attempts to adapt to his new role he must also deal with personal issues, fear over how he will act under pressure, a disapproving father and two ladies at the same time.


Black is a good, no-frills writer who captures the atmosphere and characters in an engaging, simple manner. He captures the relationships between the sailors with a decent ear for dialogue and good characterisation, but some characters are a little shallow, particularly the female roles.

It’s a tad old fashioned in places, but at other times it’s refreshing in it’s portrayal of WWII fighting men, crude, argumentative and not the stiff upper lip clichés we’re usually shown. Through Harry’s eyes we get the fear and the navy’s strange rules and traditions, and we also get an idea of what it must be like for a young man going to war.

It’s clear he’s far more at home with the war aspect, managing to convey the camaraderie along with the tense, claustrophobic conditions of a submarine at sea. The battle sequences are tense and fast paced and there are signs that Black has it to develop as a writer and I’ll check back on Mr Gilmour’s progress.

Verdict: A solid and involving war story, other’s room for improvement but it gets the job done. 6/10.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


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