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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

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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


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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
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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.
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4.0 out of 5 stars a good read, Jan. 14 2010
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Dennis P (Winnipeg, Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The King's Coat (Mass Market Paperback)
A good read. Not a cerebral as O'Brien's novels (all of which I've read..twice)but very enjoyable and certainly faster paced. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the series.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Only as honorable as he has to be . . ., Nov. 12 2003
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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.
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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.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Nautical porn??, Feb. 23 2003
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L. Einung (Palm Desert, CA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The King's Coat (Mass Market Paperback)
I have to agree with the comments of the other reviewers of this book but would also like to forewarn first readers that Lambdin has a fascination with ultra explicit sex scenes, and he embeds them liberally throughout his books. This no doubt makes the books more attractive to those who love modern literature but it is likely to be a bit disturbing to those, such as myself, who are more interested in nautical adventures than dime novel discriptions of sexual conquest. This hasn't stopped me from reading and enjoying his books but, as I now start on the fourth book in the series, I'm finding myself skimming through the sex scenes to get onto the real nautical stuff.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Lewd.. Licivious.. Landlubbing?? Lewrie!, Aug. 7 2002
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Brian K. Liles "Big Daddy Bri" (Sunny SoCal) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The King's Coat (Mass Market Paperback)
I must admit, this is the first book of this kind that I've read and I found it to be a great book. Although getting through all the sailors slang was a little confusing, this was still a quick and enjoyable read.
Lambdin did a fine job in his freshman attempt at authoring a naval novel. He's created a likeable lead man and has a well developed supporting cast. The battle scenes are great and the sex was just raw enough to be entertaining.
I highly recommend this novel!
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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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great read, accurate nautical flavor, Sept. 6 2000
This review is from: The King's Coat (Mass Market Paperback)
This entire series is incredibly addictive. Having just finished reading the series for the third time (lacking the oft lamented "The French Admiral"), I eagerly await Lambdin's next yarn. Alan Lewrie, just cast out of his comfortable life in London, thrives after getting his sea legs. Although this book and the entire series has more adult scenes than you will find with Horatio Hornblower, Lewrie's personal flaws make this a much more believable and enjoyable tale. Lambdin uses nautical and social terms of the day and paints a thorough description of life onboard a warship in the late 18th century. If you are fascinated by life during the Age of Sail, or just enjoy historical fiction, this entire series is a must read.
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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.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Good Wooden Ships/Iron Men fun, July 28 2000
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This review is from: The King's Coat (Mass Market Paperback)
This is nowhere in the literary league of Patrick O'Brian, but seem pretty well researched. The characters are likable and fun, full of weaknesses as well as strengths. The bawdiness of the book is a real pleasure--this were real people having a wild time. The swearing is incredibly creative as well, a nice change from similar books which may say "he cursed like a sailor". The sounds like the way people might really have talked. Great fun.
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The King's Coat
The King's Coat by Dewey Lambdin (Mass Market Paperback - July 29 1998)
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