Genre: Historical Fiction, Nautical Fiction
Setting: 1913, At sea in the Atlantic Ocean
First Sentence: The Royal Dockyard at Portsmouth, usually a place of noise and constant movement, was quiet as the grave.
This novel is the twenty-second book in the author's "Richard Bolitho" series which currently runs to thirty volumes.
The war with France, after lasting about twenty years, will soon be over. The war with the United States is costing many British and American sailors' lives. Soon Britain will be at peace for the first time in a generation.
Admiral Sir Richard Bolitho can sense the end of hostilities. In his heart he begins to question the need for more bloodshed.
Why should more sailors die just to win a battle in the middle of the ocean?
What will happen to the Navy sailors when their services are no longer needed?
Already there are many disabled sailors forced to beg for a living. And there is a generation of men who only know life as it is lived upon a British man-o-war.
Duty requires that Bolitho's squadron attack and destroy American Navy vessels on the high seas. Yet, Bolitho understands that there is no honor in paying a large butcher's bill just to win a relatively meaningless victory.
I liked this book. In Bolitho the author has created a realistic character. Bolitho has attained high rank, yet he still struggles to balance duty and honor.
I suggest that you read the books in this series in order.