Novel by Alistair MacLean, (c)1955.
The story of the last mission of the light cruiser HMS Ulysses on the hazardous Murmansk Convoy, guarding a shipment of war material to the USSR. This book is a complete downer, doomed men on a doomed ship, with a dying captain, on a hopeless mission -- and yet, in the end, it manages to be triumphant. The book, that is. The ship is lost with nearly all of the crew.
MacLean's descriptions of life on board are horrifying and authentic. There are scenes that will stick in your mind long after the book is finished. The young sailor, walking barefoot in freezing water so that it doesn't solidify. The Oerlikon anti-aircraft gunner, being verbally dressed down by the captain for falling asleep at his post, until the captain realizes he is not asleep, but has frozen to death. The torpedo man who is ordered to sink a burning ship that is commanded by his father.
His first book, and arguably his best on an emotional level.