I was familiar with Dudley Pope’s nonfiction work long before I ever became acquainted with his Nicholas Ramage novels. I read his Battle of the River Plate in high school and purchased his Great Gamble: Nelson at Copenhagen some 30 years ago, in hardback and when I really couldn’t afford it.
I blundered into Ramage’s Diamond some years ago but Pope’s books are hard to find, or were before the era of Amazon and Borders, and the only other book in this series that I’ve read is Ramage’s Mutiny. I read both of these before I’d really started exploring the side currents of naval warfare in the Age of Sail and found Ramage to be too perfect a character. Where Hornblower is constantly beset with self doubts, Ramage is a natural commander and seaman who is loved by his men and supremely confident in his abilities.
Thus far I haven’t been disappointed. Lieutenant Ramage is an interesting character: intense, hard nosed, and with an amusing speech impediment that wasn’t mentioned in the later two novels I’d read. Some reviewers have pooh-poohed his luck but, again, if one looks at actual incidents during the age Pope’s fiction is just as plausible as what actually happened.
I plan to do a synopsis of the book in the next week and move on to the next in the series as I await then next Alan Lewrie novel.