In Fortress Malta, James tells the story of the island’s 30-month siege – following the lives and experiences of the people who lived there while Malta was bombed relentlessly by both Regia Aeronautica and Luftwaffe. Malta wasn’t just a besieged fortress, it was also a base for allied air forces, submarines and torpedo boats. James pays great attention to detail, as always, but this is a masterful piece of narration focusing on the experiences of the people involved, rather than blocks of facts and figures. People like twenty-year-old fighter pilot Raoul Daddo-Langlois, anti-aircraft gunner Ken Griffiths, American Art Roscoe and submariner Tubby Crawford – as well as cabaret dancer-turned RAF plotter Christina Ratcliffe, and the brilliant and irrepressible reconnaissance pilot, Adrian Warburton. It’s a cast of characters that show us very many different aspects of life; first-hand heroism, resilience, love and loss. A compelling read.