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The Continental Risque [Paperback]

James L. Nelson
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Aug. 1 1998 Revolution at Sea Saga (Book 3)
Nelson's exciting seafaring trilogy concludes. As cries for independence ring through the chambers of the Second Continental Congress, Captain Isaac Biddlecomb and his crew are called upon to engage The Royal Navy.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

At the outset, the final installment in Nelson's Revolution at Sea trilogy (after The Maddest Idea) seems to chart a steady course through the standard formulaic historical romance, with dashing swashbucklers, satin-skinned ingenues, crusty old sea dogs and a heinous villain belowdecks. Once on the open seas, however, Nelson proves again to be an able novelist who handles deftly the conventions of the O'Brien-dominated maritime genre and writes characters who burst out of their stereotypes. Isaac Biddlecomb, now captain of the converted merchantman Charlemagne, a newly commissioned brig-of-war in the Continental Navy of 1776, is being pursued by his archenemy, HMS Glasgow. Through a series of clever yachting maneuvers, Biddlecomb eludes the larger enemy ship, impresses the love of his life, Virginia Stanton, daughter of his old mentor, and makes himself a hero. After a brief and somewhat tedious stay on shore, though, during which the reader is treated to cameos of Samuel Adams, Benjamin Franklin and other founding fathers, the captain and his ship join the fledgling Continental fleet and the salt breeze invigorates Nelson's tale as his hero sails through various adventures in the Bahamas. Nelson's capacious knowledge of sailing and period maritime practices informs the book on every page and very nearly clutters the story with too much seamanship. But his rounded characters, tense action and battle sequences will certainly please fans of historical fiction. Editor, Tris Coburn; agent, Nat Sobel.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

"'A fine adventure series...first-rate action writing'" Publishers Weekly "'A master both of his period and the English language'" -- Patrick O'Brian --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
Format:Paperback
The third novel in the series (a fourth is due out soon) is the best one yet. An exciting tale alive with history, battles, political turmoil, courage and cowardice. Captain Biddlecomb has developed into a seaworthy character who is brave, cunning and much to his discomfort, a patriot. The regional distrust between northern and southern politicians were most interesting, since most of the naval vessels were built, crewed and sailed from northern ports. The first contigent of Marines was a superb touch as was the first landings on a foreign shore. Much insight into the actual sailing of ships, positions of shore batteries, fortresses, local commanders were all presented in a fresh fashion. An excellent read, and am looking forward to the fourth novel. As I mentioned in my reviews of the first two books, far too many nautical terms that most landlubbers won't understand. But some really terrific sea battles, storms, neferous characters and dialog. I would like to see more books by Mr. Nelson, who really knows about sailing ships, perhaps the War of 1812, the Seminole War or something with the Barbary pirates. Perhaps another nautical series could develope about the Civil War featuring Biddlecomb's son(s)? That would be something to really look forward to.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Birth of the American Navy July 18 2002
Format:Paperback
The Colonial Navy is formed at last, and Isaac is placed in charge of the only purpose-built man-o'war brig amongst them. His crew is a different matter: political pressures force the demotion of Rumstick and the installation of an unknown quantity as 1st Lieutenant, who brings with him an abrasive manner and 30 crew to replace those who left for the greater attraction and rewards of privateering.
These 30 consist mainly of Southern convicts - including a deadly sea-lawyer bent on causing havoc (and succeeding admirably) - and this combination twice leads almost to full mutiny, only averted by Isaac's charisma and his friends' loyalty.
Again, a factual account (outlined in the historical postscript) makes for a great read (one wonders if John Adams was really the obnoxious boor portrayed here?) *****
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Format:Paperback
Generally this is a good historical novel, and has more naval action than the author's last novel. The main problem is the author's refusal to allow the loss of a ship (and the main character's assignment to another ship). The story starts with an improbable, larger-than-life, rescue of the ship from where it was beached at the end of the previous novel. Making things too larger-than-life detracts from an otherwise good story. It is a good account of the creation of a fledgling navy. The politics described were a continuing problem for the young U.S. Navy for a long period of time, e.g., the appointment of officers based on connections rather than ability.
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