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Britannia's Reach: The Dawlish Chronicles November 1879 - April 1880: Volume 2 Paperback – 25 Jan 2014

4.7 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Frequently Bought Together

  • Britannia's Reach: The Dawlish Chronicles  November 1879 - April 1880: Volume 2
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  • Britannia's Shark: The Dawlish Chronicles April - September 1881: Volume 3
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  • Britannia's Wolf: The Dawlish Chronicles: September 1877 - February 1878
Total price: £22.58
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Product details

  • Paperback: 356 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (25 Jan. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1492969389
  • ISBN-13: 978-1492969389
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.1 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 653,038 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

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


Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Britannia’s Reach, by Antoine Vanner, is the second in a loosely connected series of books about the life and times of a British naval officer in the late 19th century. A while ago I read and reviewed the first in the series. Britannia’s Wolf. The books are independent of each other, and you do not need to have read the first one to understand the second.

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.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
You have to hand it to Antoine Vanner – he knows his stuff!

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.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Having read 'Britannia's Wolf' I had an idea that I would like this book ... and I was not disappointed. It was even better than I expected! Any book that includes two of my favourite types of warship - Monitors and Rendel Gunboats - is always going to get a double-plus good vote from me ... and it's location - Paraguay - is one that has interested me ever since I first read about the war between Paraguay and the Triple Alliance of Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay, and the later Chaco War between Paraguay and Bolivia. Yet again the characters (both good and bad) are multi-dimensional and believable, the plot unfolds at a great pace, and the battle descriptions are first-rate. I am looking forward to reading more of the 'Dawlish Chronicles'.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Antoine Vanner once again spins an enthralling yarn based around the fascinating and relatively little known ironclad era. Commander Nicholas Dawlish returns, this time in charge of a ragtag collection of gunboats and monitors making for a breakaway state up a remote South American river. Just as in his previous mission, Dawlish has to contend with determined enemies on the water and dubious allies ashore, and the moral high ground has been left back in England. This is no straightforward tale of derring do - Vanner's hard-edged, driven character skirts dangerously close to being out of his depth, and it's not at all clear that Dawlish has picked the right side. Moreover, this is a tale that has lots to say to a modern audience about Western adventurism and the effect of cold material interests on the least privileged. This is both heart-pounding adventure and a nuanced exploration of the nature of power and money.
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