My family physician brought my attention, in the first place, to Patrick O'Brian's series of books about the adventures of Captain Jack Aubrey of the British Navy in the days of wooden ships and iron men.
I was not new to naval fiction. I cut my teeth on Howard Pease's stories of the merchant marine, which inspired me, directly, to ship out at the age of 16 on an 8,000 ton freighter, in the "black gang," as a fireman. Subsequently, I joined the U.S. Navy on my 17th birthday and eventually I built my own ketch-rigged sailboat, the "Wild Goose," and sailed her on the Pacific with my family.
I am somewhat of a connoisseur of naval fiction, especially as it relates to sailing vessels. The late Patrick O'Brian was a master of the genre, and his details of square riggers sailing rig and of life aboard vessels of the late 18th century were unsurpassed. Many of his actions were taken directly from admiralty records.
Alexander Kent is more of a storyteller, and he does not depend so much on detail of the sailing rig. He is more interested in the story, and his stories are superb! He keeps you reading far into the night to see how it comes out. I would read the books through in one setting, if my schedule allowed. My doctor recommewnded this series, also.
Like O'Brian, Kent (a pseudonym) follows the career of a single extraordinary seaman, Richard Bolitho, from Midshipman on to command. Bolitho began his career at the age of twelve, although the series pick him up at 16, a seasoned midshipman, in the first book of the series (which I have reviewed) "Midshipman Bolitho," in which he is assigned to a 74 gun ship of the line, the Gorgon. "Stand into Danger" picks him up as a third lieutenant on the Destiny, a frigate.
There is plenty of action in both stories. I have the third book in the series, now, and have the fourth on order. That should tell how much I like the series.
Joseph (Joe) Pierre, USN (Ret)
author of Handguns and Freedom...their care and maintenance
and other books