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Not only has a new subaltern, Guy Liddell, who seems determined to make life difficult, recently arrived on the island, but Tanner has offended Alopex, a powerful Cretan kapitan who has sworn to kill him. Then suddenly the Germans invade and British fortunes take another dive for the worst.
At Hiraklion, Tanner and the rest of the 2nd Battalion Yorks Rangers find themselves battling in vicious close-quarter fighting against the German paratroopers. Leading a counter-attack, it is Peploe and Tanner's B Company that helps drive the enemy back. But this success is short-lived and, once again, Tanner and Sykes find themselves faced with a bitter retreat.
Enemy bombers, however, ensure their attempted evacuation is scuppered. Making their way back to the island, Tanner and a handful of Rangers are now forced to flee to the mountainous interior where only one man seems able to help them - Alopex. To make matters worse, the Germans are determined on vengeance, and Tanner soon finds himself face-to-face with more than one enemy eager to settle the score.