The brilliantly stylish American master of salty-tongued British naval tales set in the time of Nelson and Napoleon presents his 11th in the Alan Lewrie series.
In Sea of Grey (2002), Lewrie, commanding the frigate Proteus (farewell, beloved Jester), came up against Toussaint L’Overture’s Black rebellion in Haiti, as well as against a spatter of privateers off St. Domingue. And now he’s still in the Caribbean, still clearing the waters of privateers, and Lambdin is still telling about it in the standard lofty tone of British naval stories—a tone just as energized but distant from reality as hard-boiled noir fiction’s version—so that the characters heave fretful sighs and “survey” rather than “see” while gripping the rat-lines. It’s more battle scenes and sailor talk as well as lengthy passages of detail mixing sea lore, geography, politics, the Admiralty, piracy, and sex into a fairly talky and slow-moving series of adventures during which the reader finds himself perched aloft in the main weather stays, just below the futtock shrouds, with spyglass in hand to follow each stratagem and deadly duel as the senses feast on gunpowder and ginger beer. Lambdin cries “Havoc!” and lets slip the dogs of war.