Customer Reviews


21 Reviews
5 star:
 (8)
4 star:
 (5)
3 star:
 (5)
2 star:
 (2)
1 star:
 (1)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


5.0 out of 5 stars Bloody good read
I must congratulate mr dewey on these series of books,
After reading all of C.S. Lewis's Hornblower I must say how much ive enjoyed reading this book.
Its such a refreshing change to read about a character that has some of the normal flaws that every one of us has,
Rather than the same ole officer and gentleman that we generaly read in the...
Published on April 17 2003 by Christopher Bishop

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hornblower It's Not
It's probably not fair that when an author decides to write about the English navy during the Napoleonic wars he will be compared to Hornblower, but as the Hornblower novels were one of the first and still the best about this subject, it is to be expected. How does Mr. Lambdin compare? Well, for storytelling, historical accuracy and character development, he's pretty...
Published on Jan. 20 2004 by Paul McGrath


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hornblower It's Not, Jan. 20 2004
By 
Paul McGrath (Sacramento, CA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The King's Coat (Mass Market Paperback)
It's probably not fair that when an author decides to write about the English navy during the Napoleonic wars he will be compared to Hornblower, but as the Hornblower novels were one of the first and still the best about this subject, it is to be expected. How does Mr. Lambdin compare? Well, for storytelling, historical accuracy and character development, he's pretty good. However, as a writer--a practitioner of the English language if you will--he leaves a lot to be desired. The prose is pedestrian at best and displays little wit or panache.
The story has to do with a young Englishman in 1780, Alan Lewrie, who after an unfortunate carnal romp with his stepsister is hustled off into the navy as a midshipman. Over the course of the novel he serves on the crew of three different ships, is involved in three terrific battles, and survives a bout with yellow jack fever. He also gets into a duel, falls in love, and has several sexual escapades with various beautiful women. Quite an eventful year, one would think, so much so that it teeters very close to the straining edge of credibility. But if you accept the adventures on their own terms and don't consider them too carefully you'll find that they're not too grossly improbable.
The detail is pretty good. Although there is--by necessity, one supposes--a lot of nautical jargon, the author takes the time to explain a lot it, and it comes across as very informative and interesting. Here is an excellent example, having to the with the ship's cannons: ". . . the guns had been loaded with quarter-weight powder cartridges, eight pounds of powder to propel a thirty-two pound iron ball. An increase in powder charge would not impel the shot any further or faster, since all the powder did not take flame at once." This type of careful explanation, along with the maps and diagrams in the front of the novel, help to make the technical jargon more understandable. If there is a fault with the Hornblower novels, and with the Patrick O'Brian novels as well, it is that the authors perhaps assumed a little too much from their readers.
The characters and descriptions of sea-life are pretty good too. There is a lot of below-decks, working-class banter that one doesn't get in Hornblower and O'Brian, and also much discussion of the day-to-day, hour-to-hour duties of the average sailor. Again, it's interesting and informative and a presents a different view of the sailor's life from that of the officer class.
The problem here is the language which . . . well, it's not awful, but there's nothing elegant or charming about it either. It's a bit coarse on occasion and the f-word is used a little too liberally as well. Worse, it isn't used to convey verisimilitude, or a sense of the times. Lewrie is introduced to his girlfriend's father. His clothing and the, "wig he wore fairly screamed "Country"--of the worst huntin', shootin', ridin', drinkin', tenant-tramplin', dog lovin', View-Halloo variety." Reading language like this, in a novel about English people in 1780, is like listening to the proverbial fingernail on the proverbial chalkboard.
It's quite off-putting, but still probably not enough to prevent me from reading the second novel of this series. Eventually.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Only as honorable as he has to be . . ., Nov. 11 2003
By 
This review is from: The King's Coat (Mass Market Paperback)
It's takes nerve to invent a new Napoleonic War-era fictional naval hero when you're competing with Horatio Hornblower and Jack Aubrey, not to mention a half-dozen lesser lights. Except Alan Lewrie isn't really "heroic," though he has nerve when needed. He's the bastard offspring of a scheming member of the minor London aristocracy, well educated enough and skilled with weapons, but profligate with money and definitely a "user" when it comes to women. After being set up (we don't know why -- yet) and caught in bed with his half-sister, he has the choice of being hauled before a magistrate or being packed off to sea as a midshipman. After a rough few months, he learns his trade well enough to be of some use on a deck and discovers a love of artillery. He makes some friends, loses some, commits some dreadful blunders, and has some unexpected successes. He's not a villain but neither is he entirely honest. In other words, he's a very human being and probably better than most of his class by our standards. Lambdin writes with humor and verve, inventing believable characters and painting excellent word pictures of the engagements in which Lewrie takes part -- but I wish he hadn't so casually elided what appear to be substantial portions of his protagonist's first year at sea.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Bloody good read, April 17 2003
This review is from: The King's Coat (Mass Market Paperback)
I must congratulate mr dewey on these series of books,
After reading all of C.S. Lewis's Hornblower I must say how much ive enjoyed reading this book.
Its such a refreshing change to read about a character that has some of the normal flaws that every one of us has,
Rather than the same ole officer and gentleman that we generaly read in the Rammage,,Aubry,,Hornblower sagas.
It reads a lot like A Cornwell novel more than a lewis i found it very funny and also packed full of action which kept me turning the pages.
Alan Lewrie is no Hornblower hes a cad and a bit of a ladies man but hes more of an intreasting character because of it.
I will be collecting this series of novels and following mr Lewries career through the Royal navy.
I hope my dewey will eventualy get around to writing about a character in the USN of the same period i would love to see that.
I was born in Oxford England and now live in the USA and served in the British Army with the Royal Green Jackets the same regiment as Bernard Cornwells Sharpe.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent mix of history and naval adventure, Jan. 27 1999
By 
Rick Buchanan (Roanoke, Virginia United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The King's Coat (Mass Market Paperback)
I read a lot of military fiction, and this is by far the best British naval series I've ever read. I would call this "Flashman Goes to Sea," since it has the same sort of ribald approach and a scoundrel hero who succeeds in spite of himself. Written by an American, the series, especially in the first few novels, has a distinctly American point of view. I read with interest the review from the writer who was critical of the "homophobic" bias of the author. While I'll admit that the protagonist, Lewrie, is a homophobe, this is not out of character for him, as he has suffered from the perfidies of his half-sibling, who is gay, and at the time he seems shocked and disgusted by his apparently homosexual superior officer, he is still shy of his 20th birthday. I, on the other hand, liked the descriptions of life aboard ship; the strong battle scenes; the fact that Lewrie is not the perfect little hero; and the glimpses of British Colonial life in both America and the West Indies. For anyone who likes naval fiction, I heartily recommend this series. I have just started the series by Patrick O'Brian, and the Lewrie books are far more "modern" and exciting, at least to me.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2.0 out of 5 stars How a Rouge Finds Honour, Jan. 23 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The King's Coat (Mass Market Paperback)
This is the tale of an 18th century youth born on the wrong side of the blanket, the son of an morally and financially impoverished minor English nobleman. Even though our hero's father has recognized him and saved him from the gutter, he is used as means to get our hero's dead mother's family fortune by being blackmailed into joining the Royal Navy as a midshipman at the late age of seventeen. The upshot is that our hero becomes a very reluctant but able sailorman. He begrudgingly finds that in spite of himself there is a core of decency and honour that makes him into something of a man. Albeit a man who ruts with after every woman he sets sight on. There is in this rutting a underlying doubt of his own sense of manliness. His rabid hate of homosexuals indicates a character riddled with secret self doubts of own sexuality. He seems to be to disturbed by close and warm feelings that any of his many very handsome friends may cause by to forward demonstrations of effections. He turns his back on one of the mentors on his first ship who had taken the trouble to teach him the skills of a sea officer, when that worthy is seen kissing another man in a carriage at a party where he been rutted like a boar with a married woman. He leapt to the conclusion that this officer was a 'Molly'. The hero/author will present further diatribes against homosexuals in the following stories of our hero's saga. The author's portrayal of the life of the British tar of 18th century is not entirely accurate when it comes to the idea that they were long sufferingly chaste in their sex lives except for when when in port and the ship was out of discipline. Our author is imposing the mind set of the mid 20th century on a time much different where men developed strong male to male ties that were kept separate from their duty to hearth and home. This was the case regardless of class, whether they were of the upper classes or lower. As witnessed by Admiral Nelson, infamous for his laision with Lady Hamilton, still whilst at sea was close to Captian Hardy from whom he asked a kiss before he died of his wounds at Trafalgar. In spite of the author's rabid homophobia, and overlooking poorly written sex scenes, this book and the following tales are good reads. However they will never match up to the stories about Hornblower or Bolitho.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Humerous but historical naval account of the Napoleonic Era, Oct. 1 1998
By 
karen (hammond, in) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The King's Coat (Mass Market Paperback)
The first of a growing series of books about a reluctant Royal Navy hero. I had previously read all of the later books in the series, with the exception of this book and the 2nd in the series, "the French Adirmal" (which is due for reprinting in '99), when I found this one. Thankfully it's being reprinted. It is quite humerous, and bawdy at times, but with plenty of naval action which takes place at the beginning of the American Revolution. Alan Lewry, the hero, is forced to join the Royal Navy at 17, due to some falsely accused improprieties (he was actually framed) which occured at home. Alan is whisked away into the rude and very different routines of shipboard life in the late 1700's, learning a new trade, while trying to live long enough to get back at the people who forced him into the navy. Every time he gets a leg up, so he thinks, his other leg is kicked out from beneath him. At times, it's better than the O'Brian series, only because it seems more real - with an added dose of humor. Although not written in the English spoken in the 18th century, it's far easier to follow. The action is brisk and brutal, as it must have been at the time. A great series, and if you don't mind the bawdyness, one well worth reading. There's plenty to laugh at and more adventure than you can wish for. Once started, it's really hard to put down. The series will grow on you. And you'll be buying them all and wishing Mr. Lambdin would come out with the next book.
Greg Toth
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Harold Robbins meets C.S. Forester, Aug. 18 2000
This review is from: The King's Coat (Mass Market Paperback)
If you like nautical fiction of the great age of sail (e.g. Forester, O'Brian, Woodman, Marryat), you will enjoy this opening volume of the action-packed, fast moving and realistic adventures of our tarnished hero, Alan Lewrie. While on water, this book is as good as any of the above writers, excepting of course the incomparable O'Brian. However, our author founders on land with trashy sex scenes more appropriate to a Harld Robbins potboiler. The author trying to model his protagonist on Fraser's Flashman, or Fielding's Tom Jones comes badly ascupper. These humorless sex scenes are perhaps why this nautical series is not as popular as many others. However, once back on the high seas, this book recaptures its pace and becomes highly exciting and enjoyable. One day, however, I hope to open a book with a handsome, brave, cunning and feisty hero in possession of a small penis. It will, however, not be written by the otherwise entertaining Mr. Lambdin.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1.0 out of 5 stars Trashy and poorly written, April 2 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Kings Coat (Mass Market Paperback)
Having fallen in love with Patrick O'Brian's work, I started branching out into other naval fiction set in the same era. C. S. Forester and Frederick Marryat are very enjoyable. Lambdin is abysmal. The King's Coat is very poorly written and edited - subjects and verbs don't agree, there are endless misspellings, and any time he's at a loss, Lambdin throws in sex. The sex is fairly explicit, which is OK, but serves no other purpose than titillation of the reader, which is not. It advances the story in no way at all. Lewrie is apparently intended to be a nautical Flashman, but Lambdin doesn't have anything approaching the skill of George Macdonald Fraser. When Lambdin runs out of inspiration, Lewrie tumbles a wench at length and in great detail. The dialogue tends to sound either suspiciously American and modern, or archly dated. Nothing to recommend this book or the series except the fairly well done descriptions of the handling of the ships.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3.0 out of 5 stars A good book if not just a little trashy., Jan. 7 2000
This review is from: The King's Coat (Mass Market Paperback)
I really did enjoy this book. more than the amount of stars that i gave it. the character is alan lewrie. a rogue and unlikly hero, he is thrown into his majesty's service by circumstance and tries to make the best of it. the action is fast paced and exciting. it does get graphic at times with the effects of splinters and cannon balls. i enjoy how the hero is not all prim and proper made a good refreshing change from hornblower. my only real complaint is the sex. it is heavy and very un-necessary to the overall story. just thrown in to fill some pages. but apart from that the story is interesting and worth a read. but keep in mind that this book is not for everyone and if you are thinking of buying it for your kids then i strongly recommend looking at the hornblower series. otherwise pick it up and give it a read.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Kudos for King's Coat, Nov. 14 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The King's Coat (Mass Market Paperback)
This book is a great read! The battle scenes are comparable to Bernard Cornwell's Sharpe series. This book is fastpaced and action packed. Alan Lewrie is the opposite of Hornblower and Jack Aubrey which is completely refreshing, even if he is a lecherous rascal. The dialogue is fresh, quick witted, salty and to the point. I love this character and can't wait for the next book in the series. The fact that the author is a sailor makes the sailing lingo understandable and he includes information about ships and sailing points that helps the reader (sailor and non-sailor alike) understand the business of sailing that takes place in this book completely. Mr. Lambdin has given us in The King's Coat an excellent beginning to a wonderful series and a very rememberable rogue in Alan Lewrie.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

The King's Coat
The King's Coat by Dewey Lambdin (Mass Market Paperback - July 29 1998)
CDN$ 10.99 CDN$ 9.89
Usually ships in 1 to 2 months
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews