Top positive review
16 people found this helpful
Gets better with each book.
on 22 February 2005
The pairing of down-to-earth Kydd with the intellectual Renzi continues to lift this series above the run-of-the-mill (although Kydd has lost most of his gaucheness by now).
Promotion within the ranks has come to both, as a result of the Caribbean experience in 'Seaflower', and they are part of the Mediterranean Fleet - although in different ships.
While Renzi is 'enjoying' the battle at Cape St.Vincent, Kydd is stuck in Gibraltar 'suffering' the attentions of the Town Major's wife. His new confidante Cockburn tries to warn him off - to no avail, so Renzi drags him off to Venice, where they are trapped by Boney's invading forces. They escape, thanks to an 'ex' of Renzi's, but a tough decision by Renzi seems to signal an end to the friendship as they return to Blighty - and the Nore mutiny. Kydd is in the forefront, but miraculously earns a pardon (thanks to Renzi), then finds himself in the thick of the bloody battle at Camperdown.
Altogether a seeming mish-mash of events ... but after all, this is exactly what a seaman's life would be like: no plan; no greater purpose; no battle tactics; no 'story'; just go where the Admiralty sends the ship and do what the captain commands ... This is what the author is trying to convey in this series - the story is in life's little details.
And very good detail it is; the author's personal research into the locations produces a highly-believable account of little-known events in the most volatile period in British naval history. There follows a taster of the next book 'Quarterdeck', and, as we have come to expect in this genre, his sources of the facts behind the fiction.
This is the most in-depth depiction of the infamous mutiny that I've read, as - for the last time - through Kydd's eyes we see more of the behind-the-scenes machinations than if he were an Aubrey or Hornblower. *****