Email this review


Twelfth of the Richard Bolitho British naval novels, which began in 1772 and by now have arrived at 1800. Already a rear admiral, Bolitho has just returned from the Nile where he went in advance of Nelson to destroy Napoleon's fleet. As a flag officer, Bolitho has his own squadron to command: four ships of the line, two frigates, and a sloop of war. Because of his great youth, he and his ships are posted to Copenhagen during the winter to act as the Navy's inshore squadron, inshore being the estuary to Copenhagen and the Baltic. During the winter Denmark joins Russia, Sweden, and Prussia in declaring armed neutrality of the northern powers in the French Revolutionary Wars and in announcing that they will not comply with the British rules on neutral navigation. Bolitho intercepts a French ship with a letter revealing the likelihood of these plans. Dining his first action against the French, his ships outfight the enemy, but he takes a musket ball in the leg. While recovering he learns that his late brother, a so-called traitor, killed the brother of Bolitho's own admiral. Bolitho also is pining through widowerhood and struck with shock upon meeting Belinda, the widow of one of his old sailors--a look-alike for his late wife. And the final Battle of Copenhagen is a bloody fracas. Throughout, Kent has the opportunity to pull strings that sound back beautifully with a remembrance of ships and faces past from previous Bolitho novels; and the new one is the richest yet in the series.

Pub Date: Jan. 22nd, 1978
ISBN: 1590133315
Publisher: Putnam