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Killing Rommel, By Steven Pressfield

Readers of Steven Pressfield know that his stylish and meticulous novels of battle can rise as far above an often dismal genre as Patrick O'Brian's. After two tales of Alexander the Great, he shifts epochs – without any softening of his flinty, rhythmic and laconic prose – to dramatise an episode of the Desert War in North Africa.

After the fall of Tobruk in 1942, a maverick British squad sets out to decapatitate the Afrika Korps by eliminating the Desert Fox himself. Presented as the memoirs of a highly literate publisher, this account of the clandestine operation "where a single individual might make a difference" shuns false heroics to paint the true face of irregular war in the wilderness.