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.
The plot in Dewey Lambdin’s Alan Lewrie novels Sea of Grey, Havoc’s Sword, A King’s Trade, and Troubled Waters takes place in the context of slavery. Slavery in Haiti and British possessions in the West Indies, specifically, but more broadly in the context of the political and social struggle in Britain to abolish the slave trade.
The the aftermath of the mission covered in The Captain’s Vengeance, Dewey Lambdin’s naval hero, Alan Lewrie had returned to Jamaica to general acclaim. His seizure of the Spanish treasure ship had made himself and his superiors wealthy men and the piracy ring had been suppressed thereby demonstrating the long reach of the British navy. But his triumph was to be short-lived. In a private dinner with the deputy to the commander of the Jamaica Station, Lewrie finds that while the squadron is planning an exciting, and possibly profitable, mission against Spanish shipping, Lewrie will not be involved. Instead, he is being sent to Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Major spoilers follow.
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 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, Havoc’s Sword is available at scribd.com.
USS Delaware takes the French privateer La Croyable off Egg Harbor, NJ
The Alan Lewrie novels Sea of Grey and Havoc’s Sword are set in the Caribbean during America’s Quasi War with France.
This war is one of the least known, and least written about, wars in our history. It has some modern significance as it was a war waged when most of the Founding Fathers were still alive and it was waged without a declaration of war. The war was waged at sea between 1798 and 1800
Havoc’s Sword, the eleventh of the Alan Lewrie novels by Dewey Lambdin is set in the Caribbean, and pickes up where Sea of Grey leaves off in the autumn of 1798.
The forces of Revolutionary France based in Guadaloupe are in disarray. A Royalist revolution has only recently been put down by Victor Hugues. France is trying to regain control of Haiti, now in the throes of the L’Ouverture rebellion, and go on the offensive against the British. Lewrie’s longtime foe, Guillaume Choundas, is assigned to the area as commander of French navy forces.
Major spoilers follow.