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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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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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AT LEAST THERE ARE NO FLIES, HE THOUGHT, BUT THE PRICE YOU PAID for that one minor luxury was the cold, the damnable cold. Read the first page
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Most helpful customer reviews
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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4.0 out of 5 stars The best of the first three June 19 2002
Format:Paperback
As is often the case in a series, James Nelson has improved in each of the first three books of the "Revolution at sea" saga. Bringing to mind the work of Alexander Kent, he has brought his main character more depth and believability by showing him to be capable of errors in judgment. The conflict between Northern and Southern colonists greatly enhanced the story. I hope Nelson does more to fill out the character of Ezra Rumstick. Overall, this book gives me reason to look forward to the next one.
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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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