Command A King's Ship
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From Library Journal
This trio, published in 1972, 1973, and 1968, respectively, offer more of the briny adventures of Richard Bolitho as he sails the seas during the late 18th century. LJ's reviewers found Sloop to be a "rousing novel" (LJ 12/1/72), while Kent himself was praised as the "worthy successor to C.S. Forester" (LJ 7/68). For all collections that like their adventure stories served with a pinch of salt.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
“One of our foremost writers of naval fiction.”
–Sunday Times --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
Top Customer Reviews
I like how Kent fills his stories not only with naval actions but little mysteries, or here "peacetime" intrigues and ambitions in the Far East. Kent has the ability to rapidly shift the reader's perspective from one character's thoughts to another's in a smooth and always clear manner. Most other naval authors focus on their hero alone, and everyone else is seen from outside.
I had two problems with this novel. I had trouble visualizing the ship maneuvres relative to land. Action proceeds and suddenly there's land or a channel where I didn't expect it, or on the opposite side from where I imagined it. Most disconcerting. It's possible I need to keep much more exact track of passing mentions of wind direction, tack, and course because Kent offers few other clues and does not describe them in laymen's (landsmen's) terms. It is vital to know, for instance, that starboard tack means sailing to the LEFT (with the WIND from the right), or "helm a lee" means turning into the wind. And of course there are no maps, there never are in Kent's stories. The one in Dean King's "A Sea of Words" (an O'Brian companion) is not quite right. Masts and lamps are frequently described as "spiralling" when surely "circling" to the motion of the ship is meant? Most seriously, for a subject that produces so much of the motivation in this story (and the next two), Kent never made me like Bolitho's great love, Viola. She starts out as just another arrogant aristo who makes eyes at our Richard, and it seems stupid he falls for her. Maybe that's part of the loneliness of command.
In this entry with key survivors from To Glory We Steer, Captain Richard Bolitho is off to the East Indies where piracy is alive and pirates can set up private empires. Europe is now at peace and Bolitho must cooperate with his former Spanish adversaries. However, things go awry well before they leave the Atlantic Ocean. At their destination, Bolitho faces two formidable adversaries. He also has to face his nemesis within the British administration. There are nefarious schemes to be unraveled and fierce battles to be fought. All the elements are in place for a superb action story.
Bolitho also falls for the wife of an administrator adding romance to the story. Perhaps this element is a little too formulaic. Needless to say the husband is a cad. Perhaps it would be more interesting if her husband had been a decent man and the tension created by them both not wanting to hurt him would have been greater. As it stands, the fact that a woman is married to a nasty man is long-standing literary justification to conduct an adulterous affair.
The novel progresses with Bolitho torn over his professional duties and his personal desires. The romance is fluff and the battle scenes are fairly good. One problem that I have with Kent's novels and this one in particular, is that Kent doesn't set the reference for the battles.Read more ›
I began to read about the remarkable life of Richard Bolitho, whose life spanned from 1756 to 1815. In the course of 22 books we see Bolitho from his days as a lowly Midshipman (at the age of twelve) to his death as a knighted Rear Admiral during battle. Kent has even continued past Bolitho's death with a novel focused his nephew Adam, captain of a frigate, who appears throughout the saga.
I've since read C.S. Forester's books on Hornblower and have tried O'Brien's, but the lesser-known Kent outshines all in his fiction. He brings the hardships of the period to life, drawing the reader into the harsh world of the seaman, telling compelling, epic tales of courage.
Throughout Kent's books one finds impressive lessons regarding leadership and commitment to country and one's shipmates. Along with the sea battles, we learn of the press gangs, the in-fighting politics of the Admiralty, ethical dilemmas, the uneasy alliances among nations, and especially the human reaction to an irresistible yet severe life. Bolitho earns the respect and devotion of his sailors and officers through his bravery, fairness, tactical brilliance, and because he chooses to become personally involved in their lives and takes care of his men. Bolitho is not a remote, aloof or harsh leader. He is stern, yet compassionate. He is charming and complicated.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
This tale is filled with crashing cannon fire, foaming waves, shattered hulls, storms at sea, great characters and dialog. Another book to join the others in this series, classics.Published on Feb. 20 2000 by Ironmike
Richard Bolitho is saved from peacetime idleness in the period between the end of the American War of Independence and the start of the French Revolutionary War by being assigned a... Read morePublished on Aug. 18 1999 by Donal A. O'Neill