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Battle Won [Hardcover]

4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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4.0 out of 5 stars Adventure at Sea April 1 2013
By Murray
This book is fast moving historical action adventure. Set in the 18th century in a time when sail was the master of the seas. Russell, who is new to the genre, guides the reader through a sea tale that has a few surprises.

The book is unique in this genre because it has a plethora of different and sometimes interesting sidebars. The author used these sidebars to paint a picture of the historical social context of those times. Some of the sidebars are interesting, but others like the golf game was a distraction for me. The characters are not all the usual players who inhabit this genre. There are heroes and villains, and then there are a few real people struggling to survive on a navy ship.

My only complaint is that I didn't find a date at the beginning and I had to guess as to when the story happened. But the story kept me reading and that's what action adventure stories are for; to entertain. I dip my ensign to this sea tale.
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Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  70 reviews
67 of 69 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fresh Take on Classic Naval Fiction Aug. 14 2010
By Richard E. Spilman - Published on Amazon.com
A Battle Won by S. Thomas Russell, is classic nautical fiction - vivid, fast paced and full of drama, both on sea and land. Master and Commander Charles Hayden is a gifted naval commander with extremely bad luck. In the previous book, Under Enemy Colors, he found himself serving aboard HMS Themis, a frigate with a tyrannical captain and a mutinous crew. Now in A Battle Won, instead of being allowed to take command of his own ship, Hayden is reassigned back to the Themis, a ship with such a bad reputation that no captain wants the command.

What makes A Battle Won so absorbing is simply that Russell writes exceptionally well. It is easy to slip into and be enveloped by the book. The scenes, both on shipboard and in Corsica, are well researched and the characters consistently both vivid and believable. It is, to use the cliché, a real page-turner, and sets us up for the next book in the series where Captain Hayden must again overcome the unfairness and ill fortune that blocks the advancement that he so richly deserves.

The only negative thing I can say about the book is also a positive, depending on your perspective. Captain Hayden and his exploits fit perfectly into the archetype of the historical naval fiction genre. He is a young and talented officer from a good background, yet held back by family history. He has more enemies than allies in the Admiralty yet ultimately rises in the rank through sheer ability. This brief bio applies to Charles Hayden, yet could also be applied to Jack Aubrey, Richard Bolitho, Horatio Hornblower and perhaps a score of others. What makes A Battle Won distinctive is Russell's story telling. While reading the book, I felt at home, in comfortable surroundings. While the territory is familiar, it still seems fresh and original.

My one recurring complaint with much of traditional naval fiction is that it can be chronically episodic. Russell succeeds in avoiding this in A Battle Won. The major sections of the book, separated by diverting intermissions, end up feeling all part of the whole. Very nicely done.

A Battle Won will be savored by fans of historical naval fiction and will be a delight for those new to the genre. Highly recommended.
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Continuing the tradition Sept. 29 2010
By Julia A. Andrews - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
It has been a long wait for the sequel to "Under Enemy Colors"...........but a worthwhile one. As other reviewers have commented, the central character, Charles Hayden, is a worthy successor to the Hornblower/Jack Aubrey tradition of naval heroes battling in the Napoleonic wars. (The mining of this period is coincidentally illustrated by the appearance of John Moore - later Sir John Moore of Corunna- both in this book and the recently published "The Fort" by Bernard Cornwell). Hayden has many trials to overcome. Some incompetent and downright malicious senior officers, an enemy (as yet unknown) in the Admiralty, and jealousy amongst some of his peers. In this tale he also finds himself embroiled in legal problems resulting from assisting some French exiles...a true example of "no good deed going unpunished".

Russell clearly knows his stuff when it comes to seafaring and his action sequences are taut and riveting. His descriptions of the rugged Corsican terrain, over which Hayden labours to manhandle naval guns, reveal an affection for that island which he emphasises in his afterword.

As always with this genre, the enjoyment of the story very much depends upon our empathy with the central character. Hayden (not yet a post captain) is modest, humorous, a brilliant seaman and leader (of course!) and an altogether likeable man.
Similarly, the secondary characters are well drawn and unfailingly interesting.

If I have any criticism of the novel, it is that a couple of the sequences would have benefited from a little editing. The task of hauling the guns over rocky terrain of Corsica would not have been effective if too much detail had been skimped. Neverthelss the passage could have been shortened a little to avoid a little dragging of the pace. Similarly, although genuinely funny and interesting, an episode describing an early golf match is slightly overdrawn. These are, nonetheless, relatively minor flaws in a great read and I look forward eagerly to the next episode of Hayden's career...no doubt glittering although fraught with difficulties.

Enjoy the read.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you love Patrick O'Brian, welcome home (and more) ... Oct. 18 2010
By Michael Shank - Published on Amazon.com
I have little to add to the reviews already written. I love Audrey (and the good Dr.) Hornblower, et. al. and have hoped to find something that compared. I did not expect to find anything that compared so favorably. This is an excellent book. It has great characters that I want to follow, a good story, a good laugh, and not a little bit about human nature that motivates me to live up to my principles (and to aspire to Capt. Hayden's in the midst of his humanity). Like O'Brian, S. Thomas Russell captures the times, the people, and the issues of the era (on land and on sea) so very well - informing and enlightening while entertaining. If you have any interest in naval fiction or simply desire a good read, look no further. I would be delighted to share the gunroom with Mr. Russell and his characters and look forward to doing so as soon as the next volume arrives. Be good to yourself and read Under Enemy Colors first (you can't beat the price). I loved the second book and liked the first - but the second would be nowhere near as good without experiencing the first. Very highly recommended.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth the wait! Aug. 13 2010
By Guilherme - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a sequel I've been looking forward to since reading the very excellent Under Enemy Colours and I was definitely not disappointed. Hayden is a strong main character who is a very welcome addition to the pantheon of fictional age of sail captains and most of the supporting characters are also well developed. I'm excited to see where this series will take us - I just hope the next installment comes around a bit quicker this time!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing Sequel March 9 2012
By Mark - Published on Amazon.com
Having read and enjoyed the first book by this author (Under Enemy Colors), I was very much looking forward to more in series. I will admit to being very much disappointed in this sequel.

First, there are two chapters in this already fairly short book that appear to have nothing to do with the plot. One where the group attends (and critiques) and Shakespere play and another involving a golf game.

Next, the autor throws in a couple of clergy members apparently for the sole purpose of making fun of them. I am so tired of this stereotype that so many authors seem to feel they need to include in order to fit in with the literary crowd.

I don't even remember the action being all that riveting. The book ends so suddenly that I had to double check to make sure that I had actually downloaded the entire book.

This book was definitely a disappointment. I may try the next book this author publishes, but it had better be more like his first book or I won't be reading any more. There are too many examples of good naval fiction out there to waste your time on bad.
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