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The King's Privateer [Hardcover]

Dewey Lambdin
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 1992
Intrepid rogue-hero Alan Lewrie boards a vessel disguised as a merchant ship bound for the South China Seas to carry out a secret mission to protect British territories from the clutches of the Dutch, Spanish, and French.

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Product Description

From Library Journal

In this fourth book of the series begun with The King's Coat ( LJ 5/1/89), Lieutenant Alan Lewrie, Royal Navy, continues his adventures in the Far East. Assigned to a ship disguised as a merchant vessel to check on French activities among local pirates, Alan finds plenty of action in Canton, Calcutta, and the islands of the South China Sea. He even runs into his hated father, Sir Hugo, but the two old enemies gain mutual respect as they are compelled to work together. Lambdin provides a well-rounded plot and fascinating, well-researched evocations of late 18th-century Oriental trade cities, but the graphic gore of the frequent battle scenes becomes increasingly unpleasant. More glory and romance, coupled with the already accurate descriptions of period tactics and weaponry, would go down better with readers of this genre than the welter of blood and guts. Recommended with this one reservation for public libraries.
- C. Robert Nixon, MLS, Lafayette, Ind.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews

Lambdin's lusty Royal Naval Lieutenant Alan Lewrie (The King's Commission, 1991, etc.) sails for the East Indies, where French privateers have dared to tamper with the profits of Britain's opium trade. Having at last foiled his father's plot to disinherit him of his mother's fortune, Lt. Lewrie is in London and in the chips, furnishing a flat and enjoying the favors of at least three shameless London ladies while paying semi-serious court to his virtuous colonial girlfriend, Caroline Chiswick. But the life of ease and easy virtue ends abruptly with a call from the Admiralty. Alan's services are needed immediately. He's to join a secret, unofficial mission, sailing with the crew of Telesto, an armed merchantman bound for India, where the august East India Company has fallen victim to French privateering. It's actually not a bad time to leave town: the pretty little housemaid Alan's seduced has announced her pregnancy, and Caroline Chiswick seems unduly interested in matrimony. In India, Alan is reunited with the last man in the world he wants to see--his unspeakable cad of a father, Sir Hugo. But Sir Hugo has gone off the sauce, given up paternal treachery, and returned to soldiering, living the good life in a pocket palace complete with complaisant dancing girls. A reconciliation is effected, and father and son sail for Macao, Canton, the South China Sea, and a series of rousing battles on sea and land with thousands of fierce native pirates and their decadent French masters. Irresistible. -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Is Lambdin getting tired of the series? May 13 2004
This fourth novel in the "Alan Lewrie" series is something of a departure, its heavily political (rather than simply naval) plot dictated by the end of the American Revolution in 1783. Lewrie finds himself back in London on a lieutenant's half-pay, subsisting comfortably (as long as he watches his expenses) and indulging his taste for sex with as many women as he can, of any age or marital status. But he's caught 'en flagrante' by an elderly husband -- once his patron, but no longer -- who wants his blood. Just as he's packing for his escape from the city, timely orders arrive from the Admiralty to report immediately to Plymouth, . . . and he's off on another adventure, this time as junior officer on a semi-secret mission to India and Canton, fighting Malay pirates who are in league with a French-backed privateer. The political leader of the mission, Mr. Twigg, is as bloody-minded a secret agent as you will find, perfectly willing to torture and murder surrendered prisoners to get the information he wants. Definitely not a nice person. And in India, Lewrie meets up again with his father, who had stolen from him, set him up with his supposed half-sister, had him essentially shanghaied into the navy, and then decamped to escape his creditors. But now we get the other side of his father's story and, while Sir Hugo retains nearly all his faults, he certainly becomes a more rounded character. Captain Choundas, on the other hand, is vicious, sexually perverted, and one-hundred-percent evil -- and since he survives the final fight with Lewrie, I would be very surprised if he did not return in future installments, probably as an agent of the French revolutionary government. Not as successful as the previous book, but I'll certainly keep reading -- though I hope the author will reduce his use of exclamation points!!!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Rough & Raunchy. May 19 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
It's 1783 and Britain is in the depression 'between wars' and like an actress between jobs is hard-up and desperate to improve her lot.
Enter young Alan Lewrie, gulled into a commision on an East Indiaman with a hidden agenda of retribution against French privateers.
Alan, like most young men, keeps his brain in his groin and finds no shortage of willing bed-partners; but this lascivity leads to problems, the least of which is a pregnant maid. On the run, even 4th luff on the Indiaman looks an attractive prospect, with the chance to make money and a name for himself, but as they arrive in Calcutta, the past catches up with him.
He is thus privy to news that the rest of the young officers are denied, causing jealousy and unrest in the gunroom.
Mr.Lambdin strives to convey accents with a quaint use of spelling and punctuation - it usually works, but sometimes is a trifle heavy going. Otherwise, apart from one or two slips, the plot rolls along very nicely. There is initially markedly little naval action - but there is plenty of intrigue and double-dealing to keep one guessing all the way through. However, when the action does start, the below-decks detail is extremely well described, educating the reader in the minutiae of the proceedings.
I am not fond of the detailed amorous interludes, which do nothing for the plot, only rubbing in the fact that Alan is human and prey to all the vices that the world has to offer, to my mind a subtle hint works better than a blow-by-blow description which easily turns salacious if not handled well.
Having read most of the other authors in this genre, I can say that Mr.Lambdin is definitely not near the bottom of the list - as I read more, he may rise alongside Richard Woodman, James Nelson & Patrick O'Brien in my estimation.
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By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Dewey Lambdin does an excellent job portraying the image of living and working a wooden sailing vessel as well as give a feeling for what it was like in the British navy of the late 1700s. Unlike other authors who use the British navy as a setting for a plot, the author evokes the feeling that you are part of the character and the story is happening to you. The protaganist is a normal young man who was kicked out of the house for being to hard a child to handle (supposedly). Part of the assocoation with the protaganist comes from the down to earth situations he gets himself into. Like any other young 'buck' in his late teens, early twenties, he doesn't always think with his head on his shoulders when he is looking for a good time. This is definately the series for you if you want an honest look at life in the King's navy with the attending comradere, boredom and technical details. It is not for those who feel that thinking/acting likea sex starved young man is unacceptable.
I suggest you start reading as early in the series as you can. Start with 'The King's Coat' (if available, it might be out of print), move on through 'The French Admiral', 'The King's Commission', 'The King's Privateer', 'The Gun Ketch' and 'HMS Cockrel'. 'For King and Country' is a trilogy that begins where the protaganist begins to settle down and contains 'The King's Commission', The King's Privateer' and 'The Gun Ketch'. It will be interesting to see how the author handles the young man coming of age. That telling of that kind of transition is what will really determine if the author is as good as he appears to be.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
good book
Published 14 days ago by Georgie McLean
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit slow moving
I am on my thirteenth novel by Lambdin and have been very happy with the series, this book was a little slow moving, but I will continue to the end of the series.
Published 15 months ago by Kevin Ballard
3.0 out of 5 stars Lewrie's been better
This was a drop in quality in the series so far. The first three and H.M.S. Cockerel were better. In "Privateer", the story tends to wander from the focus that was a... Read more
Published on March 15 2001 by Scott Blake
5.0 out of 5 stars Has to be the best of Lambdin's work
For sheer feel, this is the best of the Lewrie lot. Lewrie alternates between rage and panic and indecision, just like real people. Read more
Published on Jan. 21 2000 by John D. Beatty
5.0 out of 5 stars As casted, this is as close as it gets, to being there!
Lambdin continues to extract the very best and most accurate of detail from the 18th century naval services. The technical detail exceeds C.S. Read more
Published on March 29 1998
5.0 out of 5 stars CAN'T BE BEAT!!
I certainly hope that is wrong about no new books being planned in this series. Read more
Published on Oct. 21 1997
4.0 out of 5 stars GreatNaval action in the tradition of Hornblower and Bolitho
This is one of a series wherein the author has created a hero to rival Hornblower, although there is a dash of George MacDonald Fraser thrown in. Read more
Published on June 4 1997
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