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Commander Lewrie is sent to the Adriatic to block French ships trying to reinforce Napoleon but soon discovers he is out-manned and out-gunned on the high seas
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The eighth title in the Alan Lewrie adventure series (after The King's Coat) finds our hero in 1796 the commander of the sloop HMS Jester, one of four Royal Navy ships patrolling the Adriatic. Napoleon has been marauding in Northern Italy and the squadron's duty is to maintain the Alliance's shaky ties with Venice. Feeling shorthanded, the flotilla's leader decides to enlist, sub rosa, some Balkan pirates on the English side. Lewrie is justifiably hesitant about this ploy and, as events ensue, he's proven right when the Serbian pirates engage in an orgy of gut-churning brutality. The face of ethnic cleansing has rarely looked so ghastly. Lambdin offers views of new places here (Corfu, the "fabulist sham" of Venice); exotic history (someone calls the feral feuds of the Serbs, Croats, Greeks, Turks, Albanians, Catholics, Orthodox, Muslims "rather complicated"?British understatement raised to a new level); and inner workings of a craft (sailors' life, aboard and ashore). There are successful sea actions (and prize money), a bloody denouement with the Serbian pirates and, for the "bit unconventional" Lewrie, who is somewhat of a scamp, a new romantic entanglement. Readers of the series will not be disappointed in the ending, although Lambdin should lose his annoying tendency to mimic phonetic speech, which seriously slows the plot (e.g., an Austrian officer/translator remarks, "He asks me, are we de British Royal Navy vich hezz so vahry much silver to buy brat unt sheep"). But fans will find plenty to like in this colorful adventure.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Amiable rakehell and thorough professional Alan Lewrie undertakes his eighth adventure, and he still hasn't made it through 1796. At this rate, his saga will surely be the next multivolume Napoleonic naval epic, sailing in the wake of Forester and O'Brian. In command of H.M.S. Jester, a sloop of war, Lewrie sails to the Adriatic as part of a squadron in support of Britain's allies in the area. Unfortunately, Napoleon invades Italy at the same time, Britain's allies are beset or intimidated, and the British must ally with Serbian pirates to make up for their lack of strength for operations against French supply vessels. The uneasy alliance brings the action-packed novel to a gripping if gruesome climax. Lewrie sails away with his reputation enhanced and another willing woman in hand. Lewrie is not always appealing company, except possibly to cat lovers, but his adventures present a vivid, well-researched, thoroughly readable portrait of the rough-and-tumble side of the Royal Navy, at its best and its worst, during the days of sail. Roland Green
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Book Description Dutton. Hardcover. Condition: New. 0525944826. Seller Inventory # L8-527F
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