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Saturday, July 12, 2014

A Matter of Honor by William C. Hammond

Genre: Nautical Fiction, Historical Fiction

Setting: At sea, in England and France during the American Revolution.

First Sentence: Richard Cutler drew aside the flaps of the oilskin cloak draped around his shoulders and stared down in disbelief at his watch.

This novel is the first in the five novel Cutler Family Chronicles.

It is the great age of sail.  The last few years of the of the eighteenth century have been glamorized in literature as the time of the great fictional naval captains: Hornblower, Ramage, and Bolitho among many others.  Now we can add an American hero to the list.

Richard Cutler is the son of an American merchant.  Richard learns about the sea serving aboard his father's ships.  When the revolution begins, he signs on as a midshipman aboard one of the few U. S. Navy vessels.  It so happens that the ship is captained by the famous American naval captain John Paul Jones.

Cutler is eager to fight the British.  While he believes in the cause of independence, he also wants revenge for the death of his older brother who was killed at the hands of the British.

As the story develops, Cutler is involved in several exciting battles.  He experiences love with two very different women.  And he meets some of the greatest luminaries of the American revolution.

Hammond tells his tale with a unique writing style.  The story narrative will leap over an important piece of information.  Later, Hammond will flash back to reveal the hidden detail.  I found that this writing style kept me engaged with the story.

I am a fan of nautical fiction set during the Napoleonic Wars.  I feel that this novel compares well with the other novels in this genre.  The battle scenes were realistic and exciting.  And life aboard a Navy vessel was portrayed accurately.

Overall, I enjoyed this book.  If you are a fan of Hornblower, Ramage and Bolitho you'll like this series.


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