Category Archives: Alan Lewrie Novels

Lieutenant Robert Pigot on the St. Mary’s River

Having finished another Alan Lewrie adventure, it is time to take a quick look at the historical incidents that were form a backdrop for the novel.

How effective was French privateering operations against British commerce? Not very. It was a nuisance, siphoning off numerous minor combatants to protect convoys and patrol against privateers but the losses were minor. As a strategic weapon aimed at the British economy it was an abysmal failure.

The highlight of Reefs and Shoals is the small boat action on the St. Mary’s River. Like so many incidents by Pope or O’Brian or Lambdin this one is rooted in fact. Continue reading

3 Comments

Filed under Age of Sail, Alan Lewrie Novels, Smal Boat Actions

Reefs and Shoals

Note and warning. This synopsis will include spoilers. Spoilers don’t bother me because I usually read the last chapter of a book first. I understand YMMV.

I’m doing what has become my annual post on this blog on the latest Alan Lewrie naval adventure by Dewey Lambdin. This one is title Reefs and Shoals.

January 1805 finds Lewrie still in command of HMS Reliant frigate and heavily engaged with the lovely and available Lydia Stangbourne. Lydia, who we first met in the previous Lewrie adventure, is something of a bookend for Lewrie. She has his healthy libido and a reputation for dissolute behavior. Unfortunately, for her and for Lewrie, her reputation is undeserved and the result of a smear campaign conducted by her vengeful ex-husband after she sought the unthinkable: a divorce because of his beastly appetites. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Alan Lewrie Novels, Naval Fiction, Uncategorized

Invasion Year

Invasion Year, the latest Alan Lewrie novel by Dewey Lambdin, begins with Captain Lewrie and HMS Reliant attached to the British fleet operating against the French fleet in Haiti. They arrive on the scene as the French capitulate on land. Lewrie plays a key role in negotiations with the rebels based on the knowledge he attained in Sea of Grey.

True to form, Lewrie causes some discomfiture on the part of his commodore, even though he is the senior captain, but in the end they are on friendly terms.

While replenishing supplies in Kingston, Jamaica, Lewrie receives unexpected news from England in the form of a letter informing him he has been knighted for his services to the Crown with the ceremony held in abeyance until his return. The squadron receives orders to return to England but they have to act as convoy escorts en route. The largish, 100+ ship, convoy loses some vessels to French privateers but not so many as to affect the career of the commodore.

Upon arrival in England, Lewrie is eventually seen at Court and knighted by a somewhat befuddled King George III. In the process he makes the acquaintance of Lady Lydia Stangbourne. She is a well connected young woman who has had her reputation besmirched in the course of a rather ugly and public divorce. In short, her reputation will not suffer for her association with Lewrie.

HMS Reliant is caught up in a secret mission being carried out by Admiralty revolving around using floating bombs, torpedoes, against the French invasion fleet in port. In the course of this experience Lewrie renews his acquaintance with the former commander of Lewrie’s HMS Thermopylae, Captain Joseph Speaks, and with Foreign Office operative James Peel.

Reliant tests the devices and eventually takes part on Admiral Lord Keith’s inconclusive raid on Boulogne.

When Lewrie returns from the raid he finds Peel has a distasteful new mission for him.

2 Comments

Filed under Age of Sail, Alan Lewrie Novels, Book Reviews, Naval Fiction

Thoughts on King, Ship, and Sword

King, Ship, and Sword is a decidedly mixed bag.

On the one hand, it doesn’t move the development of Alan Lewrie forward much, if at all. The major focus of the novel seems to be tying up lose ends, like Lewrie’s rocky marriage and the ever diminishing villain Guillaume Choundas, and setting the stage for the second half of Lewrie’s life which, if he avoids court-martial, should see him hoist his flag by the time Waterloo rolls around.

It is obvious that Charitė de Guilleri and Phoebe Aretino are reentering the picture. Lewrie seems to be building an expertise in New Orleans and environs that one suspects will result in him being present for the Battle of New Orleans. As the War of 1812 looms, he will undoubtedly encounter his son who, at last look, was an officer in the US Navy.

Now Lewrie (quick close your eyes if you don’t want to read a spoiler) has two sons in the Navy which will certainly cause him some anxious moments.

His roguish father has started putting his affairs in order which hints at his upcoming demise. Unfortunately, looks like Sir Hugo is destined to die peacefully in his own bed rather than violently in someone else’s.

His half-brother, Gerald, has been absent since Lewrie had him press-ganged into the navy. His half-sister, Belinda, hasn’t made an appearance since the first novel, The King’s Coat. Even though she is pushing 40 she is still a highly desired hooker. It’s hard to believe she won’t reappear at some point.

On the whole, this is not the best of the series. The naval action seems to be an afterthought. A respected, upright Lewrie isn’t quite as much fun as the devious, edgy Lewrie we’ve known in the past. And Lambdin makes some technical errors, like complaining about the “purser’s pound”, i.e. rations being issued at 14 rather than 16 ounces to the pound, a practice which ceased with the Spithead Mutiny. He also describes the cheese in terms that could only be Suffolk cheese which was dropped by the Victualling Board in 1758.

But we’re waiting for the next in the series, The Invasion Year.

1 Comment

Filed under Age of Sail, Alan Lewrie Novels, Book Reviews

King, Ship, and Sword

King, Ship, and Sword is the 16th and latest of Dewey Lambdin’s naval adventures chronicling the career of Alan Lewrie.

We left Lewrie in Baltic Gambit in the aftermath of the Battle of Copenhagen as the captain of HMS Thermopylae. He survives the battle with his professional reputation enhanced but staring the wreckage of his marriage and close friendships in the face.

King, Ship, and Sword picks up with Thermopylae on close blockade of the Dutch ports as peace becomes more and more inevitable. Lewrie, as usual, is in a state of disfavor with the powers at Whitehall and his ship is one of the last to be called home and paid off when the Peace of Amiens is signed.
Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Age of Sail, Alan Lewrie Novels, Naval Fiction

Panton, Leslie & Company

In the third of Dewey Lambdin’s Alan Lewrie novels, The King’s Commission, freshly commissioned Lieutenant Alan Lewrie finds himself assigned the mission of escorting a covert British mission to arm Indians in North Florida and encourage them to raid into Georgia. The trade network of a company called Panton, Leslie & Company is used to contact the Indians and facilitate the transfer of arms and trade goods.

In The Captain’s Vengeance, Lewrie is again detached to undertake a covert mission against pirates based in Spanish New Orleans. Again, Panton, Leslie & Company is the front used for the operation.

As with most of the side trips Lambdin takes us on, Panton, Leslie & Company was real and it did work hand in glove with the British government.

Continue reading

6 Comments

Filed under Age of Sail, Alan Lewrie Novels, Culture and Life Style Ashore, Period History

A Misty, Moisty Morning


From Baltic Gambit as Captain Alan Lewrie’s HMS Thermopylae joins Admiral Sir Hyde Parker’s frigates moving to attack the Danish fleet at Copenhagen:

Sails sprang aloft, even as the best bower was rung up, catted, and fished, and Thermopylae paid off the breeze from her anchorage, a faint wake beginning to form as she gained a bit of steerageway among the many warships preparing for battle, slowly threading her way to join up with Capt. Riou’s HMS Amazon.

“A tune, there!? Lewrie yelled. “Desmond, gather the lads, and carry us in!”

A moment later, and the Marine drummer lad, the fifer, Desmond and his uillean pipes, and the ship’s fiddler began One Misty, Moisty Morning, a gay, uplifting tune. Sailors began to stamp their feet in time, and several bellowed out the brief repeating chorus, of “And How D’ye Do, and how d’ye do, and how d’ye do, again!” whenever it came around.

As I’ve noted earlier, part of the enjoyment of Dewey Lambdin’s Alan Lewrie novels is that they immerse you in the 18th century.

I’m also a fan of Steeleye Span, so on this occasion a favorite music group and a favorite author coincide.

1 Comment

Filed under Age of Sail, Alan Lewrie Novels, Culture and Life Style Ashore, Naval Fiction

Ships, Characters, and Cultural References from Baltic Gambit

The list of ships, characters, and cultural references from Dewey Lambdin’s Alan Lewrie novel, Troubled Waters is available at scribd.com.

Leave a comment

Filed under Age of Sail, Alan Lewrie Novels, Naval Fiction

The Alan Lewrie Novels: A Perspective

I’ve recently finished working my way through Dewey Lambdin’s series of novels following the career of his character Alan Lewrie. I stumbled onto the first by accident, was captured in the first paragraph, back in November and to a certain extent that novel, The King’s Coat, crystallized some ideas that had been floating around in my head about providing a researched resource covering life at sea, particularly life in the British navy, in the 18th and early 19th centuries.

It seems that I have nearly a year to wait until the next installment arrives, so I’ll close this chapter with my perspective on the novel and the character.

Continue reading

3 Comments

Filed under Age of Sail, Alan Lewrie Novels, Naval Fiction

Interview with Dewey Lambdin

qdMcBooks’s newletter, Quarterdeck, has an interview with the author of the Alan Lewrie novels, Dewey Lambdin, in its January-February edition. Some good info on The Baltic Gambit, which we have featured, and on Lambdin’s history.

7 Comments

Filed under Age of Sail, Alan Lewrie Novels, Naval Fiction