The further nautical adventures of Lambdin’s (Reefs and Shoals, 2012, etc.) Capt. Sir Alan Lewrie, baronet.
This book begins where Reefs and Shoals left off—with Lewrie commanding HMS Reliant and in charge of a handful of ships tasked with protecting the Bahamas. When a fresh squadron comes to take over defense of the islands, Lewrie wastes no time getting on the bad side of the pompous commodore, who promptly sends Lewrie back to England to have Reliant cleaned and refitted for duty. Once there, left without anything to do, Lewrie must scrounge up fresh orders in order to move Reliant up the long list of ships in need of attention. Using all of his considerable wiles, he manages to get Reliant attached to a fleet ferrying soldiers for an invasion meant to take Cape Town from the Dutch. Despite a series of misadventures, while waiting for Reliant’s hull to be scraped, he manages to spend some time with his new love, Lydia Stangbourne. Once Reliant is seaworthy again, he joins the fleet, and upon arriving in Cape Town, Lewrie talks his way into a naval brigade sent ashore with the troops and sees some action on land. But once the British secure the Cape, the admiral in charge sends the entire fleet to South America for a poorly planned invasion of the Argentine. Lewrie has no choice but to follow orders and does his best to make the best of a potentially bad situation. As its title suggests, several important plot points take place on dry land rather than onboard Lewrie’s frigate. Still, the principal draws remain the same: first, an immersive level of detail on everything from the minutia of life aboard ship to the nuances of period speech, and second, Lewrie himself, a compelling blend of duty-bound naval officer and incorrigible scamp. And when Reliant finally does find itself in a scrape at sea, the ensuing battle is absolutely thrilling.
More of the same: great naval action and deep historical detail in the vein of O’Brian and Forrester.