By the way, yes, that really is a scan of the dust cover of the book. I couldn't find this image anywhere on the internet - the image Goodreads uses and that pops up all over the show when you Google it is a rather boring text only image that is clearly not from my edition of the book. However, "Came The Dawn" was published as "Two If By Sea" in the US and the Dell paperback cover - which is ubiquitous on Google Images - has an image not dissimilar to this one but with a yellow sail for some reason. In the book the sails are clearly described as burnt umber and a fairly important plot device relies on this. To confuse matters even more, it appears that this book was republished in the US still as "Two If By Sea" but under the name of Andrew Garve. And if that wasn't enough, it is worth noting that both Roger Bax and Andrew Garve are pseudonyms, the author's real name is Paul Winterton.
I see also that this book was made into a movie starring none other than Clark Gable and Gene Tierney. Wow. That is a pretty impressive credential.
"Came The Dawn" was published by Hutchinson in 1949 and looks like my copy could well be a first edition. It was written with the events of World War Two fresh in the memory of the author and he draws on his experiences as a Foreign Correspondent in Moscow during the war. The plot concerns two Englishmen, one a Foreign Correspondent, the other a Military Engineer, who meet and marry local girls in Moscow in the early 1940s. After the war, they attempt to get exit visas for their wives but with the deteriorating relationship between Britain and the Soviet Union find that these are denied. The obvious solution? Buy a small boat and sail to Estonia to pick them up. It is a simple plot but it is well told. On the way they meet a Soviet patrol craft and the interactions between the two ships are well told and add humanity to what might otherwise have descended into something of a travelogue.
I found the book extremely readable. It benefited from the author's personal experience and came across as believable and not contrived. All the characters are well developed and Bax provides good back stories allowing even the more villainous sorts to appear human and not one dimensional. He does better with the male characters than the female ones but this may just be a function of the amount of time each spend in focus in the book. I didn't quite read it in one session but it didn't take much more than 24 hours to devour the lot. The story has certainly stood the test of time and I would recommend it to anyone who manages to get a hold of a copy.