Behind the Lines

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

BEHIND THE LINES introduces another historical personage into the fictional ranks that populate W. E. B. Griffin’s recital of the exploits of American forces during World War II. Wendell Fertig remains one of the unsung heroes of the war in the Pacific. He organized and led one of the most successful partisan operations in the history of warfare as the self-appointed commander of the U.S. Forces in the Philippines. Moreover, he frequently accomplished the difficult task of sustaining military operations against the Japanese occupation forces in the Philippines despite significant opposition by the United States Army—particularly from General Douglas MacArthur.

In BEHIND THE LINES, Fertig makes contact with MacArthur’s headquarters and Pick Fleming is assigned the task of determining if General Fertig has the potential to seriously disrupt the Japanese occupation of the Philippines. As is his custom in such circumstances, Fleming persuades Ken McCoy to ride a rubber boat behind the lines. While McCoy is assembling his team, Fertig turns an idea into reality and opens another front against the forces of the Empire of Japan.

One of the reasons for the success of this series is that Griffin incorporates new characters into each book. Such characters appear in subsequent volumes, if only in a subsidiary role, allowing Griffin to move his story forward on several avenues. BEHIND THE LINES does represent an innovation, however, in that for the first time Griffin puts an identifiable face on the enemy in the person of Japanese officers assigned to destroy Fertig and his followers. R. B. Macklin is back as well, but every adventure tale needs its proper villain.