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Travis Kelland was 20 years old when Germany invaded Poland to start World War II. He was also the only son and heir to Sir Charles Kelland, a wealthy and powerful businessman whose vastholdings stretched across many provinces of Canada. Sir Charles was grooming young Travis toeventually take the reins of the Kelland empire. However, Travis had other plans. He enlisted in the Royal Canadian Navy and set forth on a grand adventure to fight the Nazis.

Of course, Travis was in for a rude awakening. He joined the MTB's (Motor Torpedo Boats)squadrons fighting in the Channel and the North Sea and was immediately faced with death and destruction. Yet Travis was a survivor too. After proving himself in combat, he was transferred to the Mediterranean and took command of his own MTB based out of Alexandria, Egypt. In this theatre of operations, his crew fought German and Italians, constantly faced with overwhelming odds and the constant threat of Rommel. One mission took Kelland to Greece to rescue the family of a powerful Greek merchant and Travis fell instantly in love with his daughter Kathryn.

As Travis continued to make a name for himself with the Admiralty, he and his crew became wrapped up in the war's casualties on a much more personal level. In the end, Travis couldn't compete with a dashing Greek officer in the Royal Navy and he lost his dear Kathryn.

It was just a matter of time, however, when dashing and decorated Lt. Commander Kelland rescued a Spanish refugee named Carlota, when the freighter she was traveling on was attacked by a German U-boat. This indeed was a romance that neither war nor the British Empire could prevent. These are the adventures of MTB 545, from 1940 - 1945, spanning the desperate years to the days of victory just after the D-Day invasion. Travis Kelland proves that his adventure-had much more to do with love and respect, than war and destruction.

Element of Surprise, like most of Derek Hart's previous novels, is based around extensive research and filled with interesting and diverse characters. This war at sea, in little tiny wooden boats, was fast and furious, but the men and women who fought against the German onslaught were just everyday citizens. Their hopes and dreams, fears and losses are captured within the pages of Element of Surprise, the first book to the Torpedo Boat Trilogy.

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