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Nelson (By Force of Arms), the author of two nautical series, offers an exciting stand-alone naval warfare adventure. This time his hero is an officer in the battered and ill-equipped Confederate Navy during the American Civil War. Shortly after the fall of Fort Sumter in 1861, Lt. Samuel Bowater resigns his commission in the U.S. Navy, torn between his pledge of loyalty to the Union and his loyalty to his home state, South Carolina. Aided by his family's influence and his previous military experience, he joins the fledgling Confederate Navy, where he is assigned to be captain of an old steam-powered tugboat converted into a gunboat. Like all of Nelson's captains, Bowater is bright, brave, resourceful and disciplined. His crew, however, is a motley collection of landsmen and sailors, men who fall under the influence of the enigmatic chief engineer, Hieronymus Taylor, the violin-playing dictator of the engine room. With the old gunboat and an unpredictable crew, Bowater is at quite a disadvantage in his battles with the powerful Union navy, especially during the spectacular battle for Roanoke Island. Meanwhile, a Mississippi plantation owner, Robley Paine, loses his three sons at the first battle of Bull Run, and he devises a crazy scheme to protect the river frontage of his property. Bowater, Taylor and the crew team up with Paine in a futile defense of New Orleans. This solid story is filled with Civil War and naval history, focusing on steam-powered warships and ironclads and on the courage of men who sailed into shot and shell for a hopeless cause. Nelson also adds suspense, romance and a bit of mystery, leaving plenty of room for the obvious sequel.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
James L. Nelson has served as a seaman, rigger, boatswain, and officer on a number of sailing vessels. He is the author of By Force of Arms, The Maddest Idea, The Continental Risque, Lords of the Ocean, and All the Brave Fellows -- the five books of his Revolution at Sea Saga. -- as well as The Guardship: Book One of the Brethren of the Coast. He lives with his wife and children in Harpswell, Maine.
This novel is highly readable but is somewhat hampered by the second plot which is too unbelievable to be taken seriously. Read morePublished on June 1 2004
A fascinating story and impossible to put down. Nelson once again spins a great yarn. Each Nelson book is better than the last. Read morePublished on May 24 2004 by MLB