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
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.
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.
Ramage and the Guillotine opens in the summer of 1801. Ramage is home awaiting employment after his exploits in Ramage’s Prize and Britain is on tenterhooks expecting Napoleon to invade.
The Pitt government has fallen and Ramage’s patron, First Lord of Admiralty, Lord Spencer, is out of office and is replaced by Lord St. Vincent, someone with whom Ramage is on equally good terms.
Major spoilers follow. Continue reading
Ramage’s Prize picks up shortly after where Governor Ramage, R.N. leaves off. Lieutenant Ramage is unemployed in Kingston, Jamaica and it seems unlikely that he will wring another command from Rear Admiral Sir Pilcher Skinner, the commander of the Jamaica Station.
Major spoilers follow.
In C. Northcote Parkinson’s Richard Delancey novel Dead Reckoning, Captain Delancey tracks a French privateer to its base on the Kapuas River in Borneo. The privateer is protected by a stockade which fortifies both sides of the river.
Dead Reckoning fast forwards the life of C. Northcote Parkinson’s character Richard Delancey by four years picking up in late 1805. When we left Delancey in Touch and Go he was a recently made commander on the eve of the Peace of Amiens. Now he is a married post captain with one commission, in the 28-gun frigate HMS Vengeance, under his belt.
He receives his orders to take command of the aging 32-gun frigate, HMS Laura, to the Far East with trepidation. He is deeply in love with his wife, an actress and only barely socially acceptable, and doesn’t look forward to the long separation. But he is not financially secure enough to decline the commission and spend the rest of his life on half-pay.
Major spoilers follow.