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Signal-Close Action! [Audio CD]

Alexander Kent , Michael Jayston
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

March 2005 Captain Richard Bolitho Adventures
Amid rumours of a French armada massing in the Mediterranean, Commodore Bolitho must seek out the enemy. A fleet, even a nation could depend on his decisions and he accepts the challenge as the price of his career.
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product Description


“One of our foremost writers of naval fiction.”
Sunday Times --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Douglas Reeman (Alexander Kent) did convoy duty in the Atlantic, the Arctic and the North Sea. He has written over thirty novels under his own name and more than twenty bestselling historical novels featuring Richard Bolitho under the pseudonym Alexander Kent. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
If you loved Forester's "Hornblower" series, as I did, then you will also appreciate Alexander Kent's "Richard Bolitho" tales. You do not get the sense that they are derivative of Forester's work, for they stand on their own original merit. The action flows nonstop and logically with hardly a calm or doldrum. The author clearly understands the complexities of handling and fighting a ship under sail. He doesn't just use nautical terminology and commands as colorful filler- he uses them accurately as a fundamental part of the narrative. In fact, as a secondary feature, these books are a decent primer on 18th century seamanship.
As much as the author excels at technical accuracy, his character development and knowledge of human nature is even stronger. He shows that the politics, gameplaying, and back-stabbing aboard a warship can be every bit as complex as that in a Turkish harem. Yet, there is the underlying sense of the imperative of setting a positive example as an officer, of showing your people that you can truly LEAD as well as you can simply COMMAND their daily lives.
In this volume Bolitho has been promoted to Commodore and given command of a squadron (three seventy-fours, a thirty-two gun frigate, and a sloop of war.) He takes command with orders to find out what Napoleon is up to in the Mediterrean- and then to handle it as best he sees fit. As the majority of the British fleet is tied up on blockade duty in the Atlantic, he will be the sole projection of British naval might this side of Gibraltar. The details of commanding an entire task force instead of a single vessel, as in the earlier volumes, is fascinating in and of itself. Ultimately, Bolitho finds that he must place his command between the Nile and an entire French fleet....
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5.0 out of 5 stars Intense psychology of command Feb. 6 2002
This is one of the most heart-wrenching books in the series, no longer just action stories but studies in personality. It is intensely personal amidst the usual carnage. It's fascinating to watch Bolitho struggle with his promotion to Commodore and his new, enforced aloofness from shipboard affairs and his officers. Bolitho's typical concern for his crew is now extended to an entire squadron of some 2000 men, their faces no longer known but their fates wracking poor Bolitho. Particularly affecting is his struggle to contend with the failing nerve of his closest friend and protegé, flag captain Herrick, who has been with him from early days. The waters of personality move into the deeps as Bolitho rises in rank and others reach their limits. Bolitho suffers a relapse of the malarial fever at a critical junction in the cruise from Gibralter to Egypt, and rivalries among his subordinates come to the fore. Just another source of the immense tension Kent builds in this novel of the desperate British attempt to fathom Napoleon's intent for his vast Mediterranean fleet buildup. Kent again avoids including Bolitho in one of the great historical fleet actions, this time at Aboukir Bay. While he does give Bolitho a role in directing the French into a weaker position, and does explain the battle's great importance, that climactic battle passes much too remotely and quickly to satisfy.
The suspense in this series is partly the eventual goal and task set to Bolitho and mostly how Bolitho is ever going to solve impossible tactical situations at sea. The usual solution he proposes is a surprise maneuver, but what form will it take this time? Like many of Kent's book titles, "Signal - Close Action!" is a stirring phrase but barely hints at the situations and solutions to be found within.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Dashing Bonaparte's Oriental Ambitions! April 25 2000
It is with relief that admirers of Richard Bolitho learn that when Bonaparte launched his invasion of Egypt, the dashing sea-officer was not found wanting and was in the thick of efforts to frustrate the future Emperor's knavish tricks. As Mr.Kent tells the story in this splendid addition to the Bolitho Chronicles, the experience was however a far from pleasant one, and though Bolitho deservedly flies his flag at last, he must weather illness, conflict with his old friend Herrick , betrayal by an old colleague and a ferocious battle with a French squadron in the Corfu Channel before he can lay his ship alongside the enemy in the climactic Battle of the Nile. As always the historical and technical details add colour to the story and the faithful reader gets considerable satisfaction from following the fortunes and developing characters of the hero and his colleagues. Those who enjoy this book will also find satisfaction in Brian Lavery's excellent "Nelson and the Nile", which describes the entire 1798 Mediterranean Campaign from both the British and French viewpoints in lively and entertaining prose. One is only disappointed that t omits any mention of Bolitho's pivotal role. One wonders why!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Bonaparte's retreat Jan. 28 2004
In this Bolitho adventure, Post Captain Richard Bolitho is made a Commodore and given a small squadron consisting of three 74-gun ships-of-the-line and a couple of smaller vessels and ordered to the Mediterannean to discover the French Fleet's intentions.

Eventually he is instrumental in getting rear admiral Horatio Nelson's attention, and bringing a full-fledged British Fleet into the Med, leading to the Battle of the Nile.

This story has the usual hard fought sea battles, as well as cutting out action and other forays onto foreign soil, with only minimal love interest this time.

Bolitho is faced with a couple of subordinate captains' jealousy, and in one case hatred, but manages to pull it off anyway.

Alexander Kent has written another winner, and provided us with another great vicarious adventure.

Joseph (Joe) Pierre, USN (Ret)

author of Handguns and Freedom...their care and maintenance
and other books
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