Captains courageous, ambitious and resolute do furious battle on the high seas in the midst of the French Revolution.
This U.K. export reaches American shores to continue the adventures of Capt. Charles Hayden and his unlucky frigate, the HMS Themis. Russell (A Battle Won, 2010, etc.) has the advantage this time, having already established Hayden’s background and his dual nature as a British officer with a French mother. This allows him to throw the reader right into the action, as Hayden and his motley crew intercept intelligence about a plot to invade England. But before the Captain can return to Portsmouth with the news, they’re outmaneuvered by a wily French captain named Lacrosse—as fascinating a character as Russell has conceived and an absorbing counterpoint to the nobly flawed Hayden. But a sudden shipwreck shifts the ground between the warring crews, leading to a remarkable rescue for Hayden and his men. Meanwhile, back in England, a misunderstanding has left Hayden estranged from his lady love, Henrietta Carthew, who is being courted by another man. Her absence is a particularly cruel blow for Hayden, as tentative in romance as he is bold in battle. Nevertheless, the newly promoted Post Captain soldiers on in his new charge, the 64-gun ship Raisonnable. The crew is tasked with delivering dispatches to Adm. Lord Howe, who is cruising the English Channel in pursuit of a French convoy. Russell is no slouch at writing adventure, having crafted a host of sci-fi/fantasy novels under pen names, but he is becoming incredibly skilled at crafting these seafaring adventures. Hayden makes for a rich character whose internal turmoil lends credence to his role as master and commander, while his crew is as varied and interesting as any of Patrick O’Brien’s lot.
Another vivid adventure with a tumultuous historical backdrop—not to be missed by fans of pirates and naval strategy or by history buffs.