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A Ship of War: Charles Hayden Book 3 (Charles Hayden 3) Paperback – 25 Apr 2013


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Product details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (25 April 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0241952069
  • ISBN-13: 978-0241952061
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 3 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (84 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 122,279 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

Sean Thomas Russell is a lifelong sailor whose passion for the sea - and his love of nautical history - inspired the adventures of Charles Hayden. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

About the Author

Sean Thomas Russell is a lifelong sailor whose passion for the sea - and his love of nautical history - inspired the adventures of Charles Hayden. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Nick Brett TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 10 April 2012
Format: Hardcover
The third book to feature Captain Charles Hayden, blessed/cursed with Anglo/French heritage so treated with suspicion by one side and considered a traitor by the other. Here Hayden is tasked with obtaining critical information from a spy and then having to avoid French ships before being captured, shipwrecked and then joining a fleet for a sea battle with the French. The author knows his stuff and it feels very authentic, if at times there is a little too much detail on the complexities of sails and rigging. The language, and sometimes the writing style, is not `modern' and takes some getting used to before you are swept into the story.

While we involve ourselves with Hayden's story, we also see estranged lady-friend Henrietta with her family and coping with an apparent betrayal by Hayden looks elsewhere for romance. I presume this element of the story was put there to give a more rounded view of the characters and what drives them, but the politics and intricacies of relationships and romance seemed at odds with what is basically a novel of high sea adventure.

It is probably the Henrietta storyline that, for me, pulls this back to three stars from four. But it is otherwise a well written and well researched novel.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Marshall Lord TOP 500 REVIEWER on 16 July 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is the third part of a sailing navy series featuring Charles Hayden. The first two were excellent: parts of this book were up to the same standard but others were not and I found it rather a curate's egg. The series to date consists of:

1) Under Enemy Colours
2) A Battle Won
3) This book, "A Ship of War" and NB this book has also been published in the US as "Take, Burn or Destroy."
4) "Until the Sea Shall Give Up Her Dead (Charles Hayden 4)."

In the wake of the huge fleet of "fighting sail" novels, which brought to life such fictional sailors as Horatio Hornblower, Jack Aubrey, Richard Delancey, Nicholas Ramage, Richard Bolitho, Nathaniel Drinkwater, Thomas Kydd, William Rennie, and Kit Killigrew - not to mention the real historical officer Michael Fitton, whose remarkable career was novelised by Showell Styles - yet another hero of the age of fighting sail took to the quarterdeck in Sean Thomas Russell's first book, "Under Enemy Colours."

In the sequel "A Battle Won" and at the start of this book, Mr Russell put his half-English, half-French hero Charles Hayden, who has now been promoted to the rank of Commander, back in charge of the frigate H.M.S. Themis.
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By catsatcastle on 11 Mar. 2014
Format: Audio CD
This is the third outing for Lt Charles Hayden and my least favourite so far.

He is such a promising character, a bright, talented and ambitious naval officer who has no influential friends and therefore does not get on as well as he should. Unfortunately, the Hayden of this book is losing his way rather and becoming, dare I say it, a bit dull. The author has made Hayden more fallible, which is a good thing because no-one could be right all the time. However, he spends most of this book pining for his love Henrietta and the adventures at sea come a poor second to events on shore. There are no encounters with senior officers, friendly to him or otherwise, and even Mr Stephens of the Admiralty makes no appearance. There is, however, a lot of time with Henrietta and her family and Hayden's possible rival in love while Hayden himself is away at sea. The consequences of the confusion left at the end of book 2 are played out in detail.

There is hardly any naval adventure and for much of the time Hayden's ship seems to be becalmed and perhaps the same can be said for the plot.

I listen to these novels for the adventure side of things and the will-they-won't they romance strand was pitched just right in the two earlier novels. If you are interested in Henrietta's story then you may engage with this book more than I did but it seemed to me that she became less not more interesting as the novel went on.

Nick Boulton's reading was as good as ever and his characterisation is excellent. Sadly, I felt this book did not give him enough to work with, unlike the first two.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I don't know why Amazon persists in describing this as 'Charles Hayden 1', when it is the third book in the series.
Comparisons with other Napoleonic seafaring yarns are inevitable, but as an avid reader of such stories, I prefer to take each series on its own merits and I try to avoid thinking "That bit is straight out of Patrick O'Brien" and so on, as no author could hope to avoid a certain similarity; they are, after all, essentially books about the same thing, and a certain formula is pretty much inevitable, if not mandatory.
Russell's descriptions of life at sea are excellent. In his storms you can taste the salt spray and feel the rain lashing your face. His battle scenes are vivid, exciting, powerful and tragic. The leading characters are by now very well developed. None are perfect 'hero types'. Even Hayden, with his talent for finding out the enemy and his peerless sense of duty and honour, is plagued with doubts about his decisions and feels the weight of command very heavy upon his shoulders.
In this episode we find Hayden and the crew of the Themis in dire straights, being hotly pursued by a French squadron in filthy weather. Charged with bearing vital intelligence to England with all haste, he cannot resist when a French frigate is sighted. He is once again keen to avoid any suggestion of shyness and pays the price.
The battle, storm and chase scenes are interspersed with starkly contrasting scenes of a comfortable English country estate in early summer, where his estranged love is spending time with her family, getting over Hayden's alleged betrayal. Unknown to Hayden, he has a rival for Henrietta's affections...
Russell plays these contrasting worlds very well.
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