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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: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (76 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 56,210 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

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 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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14 of 15 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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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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By Phyllis Stien on 11 Feb. 2014
Format: Paperback
Having read other reviews, I will preface mine by saying that as a non-Napoleonic nautical nerd, I am quite content in my ignorance and will gullibly accept any number of obscure sails, supported by improbable rigging, filled with winds which come from an unlikely quarter. I am not reading the book as revision for my sailing proficiency badge, I just want to be entertained - as I was by the first two books in this series. This one, however, was a disappointment and left me feeling a bit cheated.

I do feel that STR has been let down by his editor, in being permitted to indulge his latent Austen tendencies to the detriment of the narrative. As soon as the author was allowed to stray beyond Hayden's immediate environment, which he had not done before, the plot sprang a significant leak. Comparisons are inevitable and I cannot help wondering if other authors in this genre would not have presented Henrietta's situation as a fait accompli, when the reader returned to England with Hayden - other devices being used to explain how she arrived there. It is a pity when there are alternative areas upon which STR might have lavished space: the press gangs or Admiralty machinations, to name but two, that I was made to suffer pages and pages of Georgian social angst.

The author, on his web page, promises a fourth book; hopefully he is making a wise choice regarding which type of stays will dominate the text. I will wait until it appears for 0.01p to find out.
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