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3.3 out of 5 stars
3.3 out of 5 stars
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on 8 June 2014
I have always enjoyed sea novels; Herman Melville, CS Forester, Patrick O'Brian, and even Alexander Kent have all contrived some believable heroes, heroines and villains in their works. But Mr O'Neil seems unable to step up to the mark with Mr Martin Forest or, for that matter, any of the other characters that stuff out the pages of this offering. I found myself wondering when the main character would suddenly announce that he was from the planet Krypton!

This was like reading a version of Pride and Prejudice written by someone that had only ever seen the televised interpretation, once. Totally unconvincing.
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on 5 May 2015
While some of the writing is good and the plot and characters have huge potential, I feel that this book absolutely squanders a great setup.

The main character can do no wrong: from the first page to the last he instantly succeeds in every endeavor with no effort or difficulty. This makes our hero rather unlikable, with his lack of any flaws. In some ways this is indicative of the timeframe, when connections meant more than talent, but even this had limits and naval officers had to be at least moderately capable. We expect our literary heroes to have abilities beyond the norm, but this book takes this to such an extreme that it simply becomes unbelievable. Our hero, unfortunately, needs to fail occasionally.

Which brings me to point to: the pace. Where other series take anywhere from 3-10 books to take our character from fresh midshipman to captain (or just jump straight into the story at a later stage) this book absolutely rockets through our protagonist's career in a few short chapters. There is SO much potential for exploring the story, the journey and the characters, but this is entirely missed in the race to make the hero into the superlative naval captain. Entire sections of his career are skimmed over, and the story along the way can be better described as being summarized, than being told. Things happen, we are informed, but are told very little of how or why.

Entire journeys are wasted with "We arrived safely in India" type opt-outs. Huge pivotal battle scenes which other authors can stretch into several chapters of description, trouble, adventure and hard-fought glory, are dispatched with "We were better and rolled the enemy up in two passes, earning YET MORE prize money".... Not only did I feel I learned little of the character and his career, I began to actually dislike him for how 1-dimensional he is. A shame, because I really felt that the characters and storyline had initial appeal and could have been developed into a very interesting 4-5 book series.

In short, it felt like the author was so keen to make sure we know his hero is the best, that he forgot to actually convince us that we agree.
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on 11 September 2014
I am sure there is a story in this book somewhere but it just never comes across.
The characters remain 2 dimensional never filling out into people. The story is written more like a Captains log, Ship commanded, destination, weather, route. Sailing from England to India would give most authors scope for adventure, Mr O.Neil can accomplish the same journey of thousands of miles by the simple one line of 'the journey was uneventful'
Also the time frame seems at odds with a continuing story, months and even years can pass in a few lines, as if there was nothing but a long boring period for the characters to get through as quick as possible.
And that about sums up this book for me, a long boring period to get through, even the battles were written with out much realism or enthusiasm, attacked, fired a broadside, turned about and fired another, then raked the bow/stern and the enemy struck their colours.
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on 14 June 2015
Great follow-on with loads of action and a bit of intrigue thrown in. As usual our hero finds plenty to keep him and his crew busy. I have also found it interesting to look at an atlas of the coasts where our frigate cruises - better still - look it up on Google Earth. Fascinating.
BUT I do wish this writer would get himself a better proof reader ! The spelling and grammatical mistakes are not only annoying but distracting.
Otherwise another good read.
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on 23 February 2015
If you would like to read a précis of what could have been 4/5 books. No other author has managed to take his hero from a waif in the street to a knighted post captain in around 300 pages and therefore the book does not hold a candle to the likes of Alexander Kent.
Lets face it, if you can reduce the battle of Trafalgar to less than a page you have little real knowledge of the navy of the time or you just cannot be bothered. I SHALL CERTAINLY NOT BE BUYING ANY MORE BOOKS FROM THIS AUTHOR and hope that he reads this and other reviews which should also be sent to his publisher.
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on 3 April 2014
I lasted only a few pages, Midshipmen carrying swords (dirk) and newly pressed men being sent up the mast as lookout in a war zone I don't think so
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on 12 June 2015
Tale of young boy and his rise through the ranks to Captain his own ship. Written in such a way that you feel you are there, gripped from early stages all the way through, full of adventure and plenty of plot twists.
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on 10 September 2015
I thought it was a bit "boys own". The story covered a long period and included a lot of events which were not believable. Not up to the standard of authors like Dewey Lambdin, Dudley Pope, C S Forrester etc.
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on 11 November 2014
Unbelievable characters, superficial story lines with no depth. Our "hero" wrecked enemy ships with a single broadside and must have "earned" more prize money in a few years than Pellew and Cochrane combined throughout their careers!
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on 9 August 2014
I simply couldn't read further than the first chapter, it's like a child's essay.
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