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Britannia's Shark: The Dawlish Chronicles: April - September 1881 Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
As in the first two books our hero continues his undercover duties, and again the writing is a superb mixture of daring do and totally the opposite,(Amazon would not allow the first phrase I used). It is almost guaranteed that if Dawlish has to make a vital shot then something will spoil his aim, likewise when flight or fight is called for he will be the one to loose his footing at the critical moment, actually this story would probably have been shorter with a far more satisfactory outcome if Dawlish had stayed in England, are we sure he is the best the Admiralty have?
But that is the delight of this series, Dawlish is seriously fallible, Mr Vanner very successfully avoids the pitfall of many naval heroes who stroll through their novels avoiding certain death like some Hollywood movie Star.
Another point many other writers of serialised tales could learn from is this authors ability to make brief referrals to previous books without going into long, un-necessary reprinted detail.
Dawlish is simply human like many of the other well written and rounded characters, and those simple facts aligned with a very full and knowledgeable grasp of the machinery and politics of the age in which Dawlish lives makes for a totally absorbing entertaining read.
Well done Mr Vanner, now full steam ahead with book 4.
Dawlish’s career is characterised by a series of secretive operations to further British interests, well outside the publicly visible face of the Navy. He is one of the servicemen of that age who were willing to experiment with a wide range of emerging technologies, which together were rapidly transforming sea travel and sea warfare from the sailing ships of Nelson’s time to the ironclads of the First World War. Indeed, other than ship-based aircraft, all of the ingredients of modern naval warfare were well formed during Dawlish’s lifetime.
The main emerging technology of this story is the submarine. Antoine vividly captures the claustrophobic horror induced in a man who has been used to open horizons and fresh air, when faced with the constricting darkness, clutter, and polluted atmosphere encountered in this very early prototype. Only total commitment to his calling, and complete acceptance of the necessity of his actions, could overcome Dawlish’s visceral rejection of his situation. The mixed reception of the submarine as a weapon is clear – recognition of its military value alongside repugnance at connotations of cowardice and deceit.
I enjoyed this story considerably more than its predecessor. For one thing there was a much richer, and (for me at least) a much more interesting blend of politics and cultural dynamics alongside the ship and land based fighting.Read more ›
The action takes us from the elegance of the Austro-Hungarian Adriatic to the squalor of revolutionary Cuba, via London and the United States. The scenes in a post-Civil War New York and Long Island, with shadowy Fenians and the (real-life) inventor of the first truly viable submarine, were particularly good.
But if I'm honest, the setting and storyline of the first in the series, Britannia's Wolf, and the Dawlish (and Florence) that we got to know in that book, were more keenly drawn; and the second, Britannia's Reach, was better paced. The action in No. 3 was perhaps just a little too relentless, a little too prolonged, to maintain what both those earlier books achieved: the sense that this was a real, flawed, flesh-and-blood character involved in activities that, while extraordinary by our own tame standards, might actually have befallen an ambitious career officer.
The developing theme of a sort of special agent (reminiscent of McCutchan's Halfhyde) is less convincing and appealing to me than that of a man whose career has been blighted through the social snobbery caused by marrying a servant having to put himself in the way of danger in order to secure the advancement that his qualities otherwise deserve.
If Mr Vanner can resist the temptation to over-dramatise the next instalments, and relies instead on the inherent drama and romance of the sea, the ships and the period itself that provide his backdrop, and the strong characterisation he has created for Nicholas and Florence Dawlish, I have no doubt that they will become great and lasting favourites.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I am increasingly enjoying this series, and the author is definitely finding his feet as the saga progresses. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Seanie
The last of the Dawlish Chronicles and just as enjoyable as the first two books. Very well researched and with a fast moving plot I feel that I've learnt a great deal about areas... Read morePublished 16 months ago by Mr. D. G. Phillips
Liked the way the story twisted. I won't give anything away amd will just say that I found it as good as the previous books, which were good reads. EnjoyPublished 16 months ago by Derfel
I have enjoyed all three of the Dawlish novels. Having read all the fighting sail novels I can find I stumbled upon these and found the early times of steam powered ships just as... Read morePublished 20 months ago by D. A. Newbery
Having been a fan of the author's excellent naval history blog for the past couple of years, when I finally got around to reading the novels my expectations were very high and I... Read morePublished 22 months ago by Simon Jones
Britannia's Shark is the third instalment of the Dawlish Chronicles, telling the story of the early career of Admiral Sir Nicholas Dawlish, who was to die at the age of seventy two... Read morePublished 22 months ago by Bruno D'Agostino
Taken through an exciting story from a period of history I knew very little about,great read. Third in the series.Published on 29 Jan. 2015 by Martin Collier
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