Reluctant midshipman Alan Lewrie's adventures that began in The King's Coat (1989) continue, this time taking him into the last battles of the American Revolution. Lewrie's career as a rake was rudely interrupted when his dissolute father set him up on a fake incest charge, forced him to sign away his inheritance, and enlisted him--for life--as an officer in His Majesty's Navy. But to everyone's surprise, including his own, Lewrie has turned out to have a knack for sailing and a taste for combat. His biggest problem now is the antipathy of his captain, a gloomy Bible-thumper whose affection for Lewrie ended with the revelation of Lewrie's scandalous past. Lewrie can do no right as far as Captain Treghues is concerned, yet it is always Lewrie who shines as H.M.S. Desperate sails into the coastal waters of the rebellious colonies to join the British fleet--and then to drub the traitorous colonists and repel the scheming French. When Lord Cornwallis' army demands the use of Desperate's guns, Lewrie leaves the ship with them and joins the land war that is shaping up at Yorktown. Ashore in Virginia, he fights alongside colonial loyalists--until he is forced to lead a daring escape across the Chesapeake Bay on a fleet of leaky barges. The weight of history slows the pace, and the demands of war leave little time for Lewrie to show his charm. Still, Lambdin's scholarship and the unusual vantage point make the read worthwhile.