We’ve discussed some of the esoteric armaments that have come in the possession of Dewey Lambdin’s naval character, Alan Lewrie. In The French Admiral he acquired a Ferguson rifle. In The Captain’s Vengenace he picked up a Girandoni air rifle. At least since The Captain’s Vengeance, though possibly as early as Havoc’s Sword, he has been in possession of a pair of double barrel dueling pistols by gunmaking legend Joseph Manton.
We’re not sure of the provenance of these pistols but these pistols were the pinnacle of the gunmaker’s art in the late 18th century.
The list of ships, characters, and cultural references from Dewey Lambdin’s Alan Lewrie novel, The Captain’s Vengeance is available at scribd.com.
The climatic action in Dewey Lambdin’s Alan Lewrie novel, The Captain’s Vengeance, takes place on Grand Terre Island.
Grand Terre, at the top of the above image (for orientation Barataria Bay is to the left and the Gulf of Mexico to the right), was a longtime haunt of pirates and privateersmen. Barataria Bay was virtually impossible to find unless you were looking for it.
Jean Lafitte, who has a cameo role in Lambdin’s novel, used Grand Terre as his base of operations until about 1814 when the US Navy became concerned with protecting commerce to its newly acquired Gulf ports. By 1815 the fact that New Orleans was under military government made Grand Terre and Barataria Bay unsuitable for pirates. Many of them decamped to Cuba and to Galveston, TX.
Dewey Lambdin’s naval hero, Alan Lewrie, has a way of collecting unique weapons. He owns a pair of double barrelled Manton dueling pistols and a Ferguson rifle.
In The Captain’s Vengeance, he adds yet another. The Girandoni air rifle.
The Alan Lewrie novel by Dewey Lambdin, Havoc’s Sword, ends and The Captain’s Vengeance begins at Prince Rupert Bay, Dominica.
Dominica, at the time, was wretchedly poor though the harbor at Prince Rupert Bay was highly regarded:
In this bay the whole of British navy may safely ride at anchor all seasons of the year, and be well supplied with necessaries not to be found at English harbours in Antigua, or any other part of the English West Indies, the rendezvous of the British fleet.
There was an attempt made to move the capital of the island from farther down the coast to the hamlet of Portsmouth but this effort was defeated by the marshes around Portsmouth and the inevitable diseases.
The view above is from Fort Shirley.
The Captain’s Vengeance picks up where Havoc’s Sword ended. Alan Lewrie and HMS Proteus are scouring the Caribbean to find a valuable prize that disappeared from Prince Rupert Bay, Dominica before a Prize Court could condemn it. The most likely suspect is a surly pressed seaman, Toby Jugg, who has a wife and children in Barbados. They visit his home and find his real name is Paddy Warder and he has an extensive history as a sailor and privateersman. However, she has not heard from him in some time.
Major spoilers follow.
The list of ships, characters, and cultural references from Dewey Lambdin’s Alan Lewrie novel, The King’s Coat is available at scribd.com.
I just completed a substantial revision of the original post on this blog, The King’s Coat.
When I first read The King’s Coat I hadn’t intended on undertaking this project. At some point, as I was reading The French Admiral, I decided to begin writing plot summaries and lists of characters from the novels. The King’s Coat was missing. So a couple of weeks ago I decided to re-read The King’s Coat and do the synopsis.
I’ve stated before that often the only task that writers of historical novels set during the Age of Sail have to undertake is to make minor modifications of actual incidents to generate great plots. We’ve shown how Dudley Pope benefited from history in Ramage’s Diamond, how Alexander Kent downsizes Horatio Nelson’s actions at Cape St. Vincent, and how Patrick O’Brian pinched some of Edward Riou’s life for Desolation Island.
Sometimes real life probably wouldn’t make it past a vigilant editor. For instance, the seizure of Banda, the exploits of HMS Glatton, or the reckless gallantry of Robert Faulknor probably fall into this category.
One of the things that I find sets Dewey Lambdin’s Alan Lewrie novels apart from others in the genre is that the hero, a rather roguish British Navy officer, lives in the culutral context of the times. When you read one of the novels you encounter the songs, literature, politics, and cultural of Georgian England.
One of those instances is his reference to the song Johnnie Cope in the novel Havoc’s Sword.