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Monday, May 7, 2012

In Distant Waters by Richard Woodman

genre: Historical Fiction, Nautical Fiction

Setting: 1808, Aboard a British Navy frigate during the Napoleonic Wars

This novel is the eighth novel Richard Woodman's Nathaniel Drinkwater series.  This series, which reaches to 14 novels, follows the career of Captain Nathaniel Drinkwater.  Drinkwater strives to carry out his orders.  Yet he sometimes fails to live up to his own ideals  Along the way, he has found loyal supporters and fierce enemies.

At the beginning of this novel, Drinkwater and his crew have just transferred to a new ship, the Patrician.  Unfortunately, his first official act on board is to hang a deserter.  This creates friction between himself and the crew.

The Patrician is  ordered to the Pacific in order to prevent the Russians from increasing their  presence in the Pacific Northwest.  Unclear orders from the Admiralty make Drinkwater unsure of the true objective of his cruise.  Is he to make war on the Spanish, the Russians, or both.  To be sure, they both are dangerous, unscrupulous foes, as Drinkwater discovers.

The unrest of the crew causes problems.  Several times crew members attempt to desert.
At one point there is sabotage.  Someone has drilled a hole in the hull of the ship and caused a leak.  This forces Drinkwater to beach the ship to repair the leak.  In the process of repairing the leak, a large group of the crew deserts into the wilderness.  And then the ship is attacked by the Spanish.  Drinkwater and the Patrician are captured.

Can Drinkwater escape from the Spanish, recover his ship, gather his scattered crew, and fulfill his orders?

I really enjoyed this book.  It is a well written sea yarn.  Woodman tells a great story that is well plotted.  His writing style moves the plot along.  For me, this book was literally a page turner.  I finished it in three days, which is fast for me.  I will be reading the other books in the series.

In Distant Waters

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