A bothersome death sentence interrupts the adventures of dashing Georgian naval hero Alan Lewrie, but not for long. Action resumes in the Bay of Biscay.
Now a post-captain with a lovely new ship, Savage, freshly snatched from the French and newly rigged for action, Lewrie, in his 14th adventure (A King’s Trade, 2006, etc.), is itching to put to sea. What’s stopping him is a spot of legal trouble. Big trouble, actually. The Jamaican plantation owner whose slaves Lewrie liberated when he was last in the Caribbean has ramrodded a trial through the island courts and obtained a death sentence for Alan in absentia. Ludicrous as the charge may be (the slaves were unsurprisingly eager to liberate themselves) and rotten as the Jamaican court proceedings may have been, the islanders have legal rights in the British courts. Poor Alan is at the mercy of his sprightly young Scottish barrister, whose taste for expensive restaurants makes deep inroads into the Captain’s recently acquired fortune. To complicate matters, Sophie, Alan’s delectable ward, is about to be wed to one of Lewrie’s former First Officers, another exceptionally costly event. And his American wife Caroline has been receiving detailed anonymous letters about Alan’s indiscretions, to which she gives credence. What a relief, then, to get through the trial (verdict to be announced much later) and the wedding (great event, but Caroline is not mollified) and sail off to the French Atlantic coast where His Majesty’s navy has sealed up the ports and throttled most of the commerce. Happy to find that he has increased authority and a handful of other ships to get adventurous with, Captain Lewrie takes a look at the vulnerabilities of Bonaparte’s local seaports and stretches what could have been a soporific assignment into a splendid dustup. All this is told in Lambdin’s usual mannered but amusing version of Regency English, which slows the pace, but not disagreeably.
Excellent amusement—Georgette Heyer for the gents.