Britannia's Reach: The Dawlish Chronicles November 1879 - April 1880: Volume 2 Paperback – 25 Jan 2014
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About the Author
Antoine Vanner has had an adventurous and varied life that prepared him well to write novels he describes as "Duty and Daring in the Heyday of the British Empire." "I have survived military coups, a guerrilla war, storms at sea and life in mangrove swamps, tropical forest, offshore oil-platforms and the boardroom," he says. "That's a good starting point for any writer." Antoine has lived and worked long-term in eight countries, has travelled widely in all continents except Antarctica and is fluent in three languages. He has a passion for nineteenth-century political and military history and has a deep understanding of what was the cutting-edge technology of the time. His knowledge of human nature and his first-hand experience of the locales – often surprising – of the most important conflicts of the period provide the impetus for his chronicling of the life of the Royal Navy officer Nicholas Dawlish. “I’m fascinated by the Victorian period,” Antoine says, “for not only was it one of colonial expansion and of Great Power rivalry that often came to the brink of war, but it was also one of unprecedented social, political, technological and scientific change. Britain’s power may have been at an apogee but it was under constant threat and would demand constant adaptation from those who aspired to shape events. Many born in the 1840s would not only play significant roles in the later decades of the century but be key players in the maelstrom that would engulf the world in 1914. The Dawlish Chronicles are set in that world of change, uncertainty and risk and they involve projection of naval power to meet complex social, political and diplomatic challenges.” Find out more on Antoine's website www.dawlishchronicles.com which covers a very wide range of historical and naval topics related to the late Victorian period. You can also follow Antoine's blog on http://dawlishchronicles.blogspot.co.uk/ Antoine also welcomes you to follow him on Twitter at @AntoineVanner
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Top Customer Reviews
Full marks to Antoine for his unusual choice of setting for this book. Dawlish makes a career of handling slightly shady.assignments and there is something of the Mission Impossible in the way he is routinely told that Britain will disavow knowledge of and responsibility for the endeavour if it goes wrong. Here, commercial rather than political interests drive the military goals. In common with many other naval officers of his day, the protagonist Dawlish is courageous, disciplined on a personal level, and very competent at conducting necessary actions on land or sea – or on river, in this case.
The details of naval technology and customs have obviously been very thoroughly researched, and it is clear from other reviewers’ comments that on a military level the book comes over as authentic. Certainly great care has been lavished on descriptions of the military hardware and its use.
However, the book as a whole did not click with me as much as the first one. For one thing there are essentially no female characters explored sympathetically or in depth. This would be fair enough for the shipboard experience, but in Britannia’s Wolf, Antoine successfully found ways to bring female balance into the narrative.
Similarly, the combat action takes over the whole book from early on, and other forms of interaction are largely discarded. The proportion of the book describing battle scenes is extremely high.Read more ›
In this second Dawlish Chronicle, he takes us to Paraguay, South America, to accompany Commander Nicholas Dawlish RN on a dangerous mission for his patron and government. And it’s dangerous in many ways apart from the fighting action: a morally questionable goal, shifting alliances amongst the participants, a treacherous river and clever, experienced and honourable enemy.
Commander Dawlish is a skilled and self-disciplined naval officer driven by both honour and a deep desire for advancement. He has his faults, sensitivities and doubts which make him a rounded protagonist. He is a man of his age and sometimes seems old fashioned and patronising to 21st century readers, but spot-on for a Victorian military man.
The great strength of this book is the detail and depiction of the ships, sailing conditions, weaponry, tactics, military engineering and naval service life. I loved the balloon! If a reader wants the Tom Clancy level techno detail of the period, it’s here, and fascinating even for the non-technical reader.
For me, the detail was occasionally too much. I would have enjoyed more developed interaction between and background about the characters, particularly the opponents. And unlike the excellent Britannia’s Wolf, there was little presence of female characters; the one female enemy tended to verge on the stereotype. Perhaps more interplay with the character of the very interesting Mrs Dawlish at the beginning, thinking more about past conversations with her or references to her part in Britannia’s Wolf could have leavened the very male-centred action.
However, that action was exciting; on land and sea, naval, military, technological, political and commercial.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A good read, it was interesting to read about a new time period as napoleonic and roman seem to have been overdone.Published 20 months ago by Derfel
Commander Nicholas Dawlish is back, this time tasked with putting down a rebellion in South America. Read morePublished 22 months ago by unclearthur
Reading ‘Britannia’s Reach’ on holiday took me back to my youth and the Hornblower books – fantastic! Fast, exciting, believable and gripping. A book I really could not put down. Read morePublished 24 months ago by jeremy ricketts
The Dawlish Chronicles cover a period less "romantic" but just as interesting as the great age of sail. Dawlish is an interesting hero. Read morePublished on 28 July 2014 by Kevin Burr
A good story well written - better than recent Cornwell and equal to Mallinson's early Hervey books a cracking long read. More pleasePublished on 19 July 2014 by Mr. C. Goodchild