CRACKDOWN Bernard Cornwell 1990
I have for a long time, personally believed, that Cornwell's sailing adventures are some of his best writing. Historical novels are my main interest in fiction and although I am not normally that keen on modern period thrillers, I am happy to make an exception to the rule for Cornwell's five sailing tales, (and those of Sam Llewellyn), particularly as they are set in the decades of my own serious yachting days and therefore have a very familiar nostalgia. I must admit that I was genuinely disappointed when no further novels of the same ilk were forthcoming after the five were published.
The central character of Crackdown is an ex-marine officer, Nick Breakspear, who runs a charter company in the Bahamas. Against his better judgement he accepts a charter from a US senator to take his cocaine addicted off-spring on a curative cruise which ultimately brings him into conflict with Caribbean drug smugglers.
The story is full of action, the characters are well rounded and believable, and Cornwell uses his first hand knowledge of boats, sailing and the local waters to the best effect.
Every couple of years I take down my spare, battered, paperback copies of these five novels and they accompany me on holiday. I am not sure how many times I have re-read them in the past twenty years but despite knowing the stories intimately I never tire of them.