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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Hostile Shores by Dewey Lambdin

Genre: Nautical Fiction

Setting: 1805-1806, at sea, in England, and in foreign lands during the Napoleonic Wars.

First Sentence:  A jaunt ashore would clear his head and provide a brief but welcome diversion from his hew responsibility and worry, he was sure of it.

FYI: Some adult content.

This novel is the nineteenth in Lambdin's Alan Lewrie Naval Adventure series.

In the grand tradition of naval fiction, the author follows his main character as his career progresses from midshipman to captain during the Napoleonic wars.  In Captain Sir Alan Lewrie, Lambdin has created a unique and memorable main character.

Lewrie is a bold captain who will lead his crew into battle.  Even if he is against long odds.  His crew likes him because he rarely uses the cat to enforce discipline.

At the beginning of this novel, Lewrie is the commanding officer of the British Navy's small contingent protecting the Bahamas.  There is a rumor that the French fleet is in the area.  When a squadron of warships approaches, Lewrie leads his small group of vessels in a suicidal mission to defend the port.  At the last moment, just before Lewrie opens fire, the approaching ships identify themselves as British.  Lewrie's reaction to this ill-conceived jape puts him in bad graces with the new commander.

Thus, Lewrie gets orders to return to England to have his ship refitted.  Lewrie's unexpected arrival, and lack of further orders, makes his ship a low priority.

Fortunately, Lewrie knows how to navigate the bureaucracy of the Admiralty offices.  He finagles orders to join a combined navy and army force headed to South Africa to take the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Town from the Dutch.

After a month of refitting and visiting with his love interest, the Lady Lydia Stangbourne, Lewrie joins a convoy headed to Africa.  Along the way, Lewrie learns about the Battle of Trafalgar and the death of Lord Nelson.

After the conquest of Cape Town, Lewrie's ship becomes a part of an expeditionary force organized by Commodore Popham.  Popham has a grand idea to become the next great naval hero.  Acting without orders, he sails to Argentina to "liberate" the Argentinians from Spanish control.  Lewrie knows that this invasion is a fool's errand.

Can Lewrie find glory for his ship and crew without becoming entangled in what is sure to be a failed mission?

In Lewrie, Lambdin has created a unique hero.  And in this novel, Lambdin tells a realistic tale of a ship's captain.

I enjoyed reading this novel.  And, I enjoyed reading about the exploits of Captain Lewrie.

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