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 like a sex a 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.
The novel sprawls rather, but this is to be expected since it deals with an untidy war. What distinguishes it from most novels of this type are the insights into the vulnerable situation of women in the late 18th century in general, and in the midst of a savage war in particular; and the even-handed treatment of both sides in the American War of Independence. The novel offers an unflinching scrutiny of the harsh conditions at the time, whether in an authoritarian and tradition-bound naval service or in what is essentially a civil war, with its horrifying spiral of atrocity and counter-atrocity (Syria being but one of the most recent examples). Lewrie is a callous, self-centered rogue, but he learns from his experiences and grows more sympathetic towards others, particularly those for whom he feels a responsibility. The author does a fine job of allowing his hero's experiences to develop his character credibly, while avoiding the trap of romanticizing the process. An excellent addition to the series.
Dewey Lambdin has created the best character to sail an English man-o-war since Alexander Kent's Richard Bolitho. You can forget O'briens Aubrey. C.S. Forester and Alexander Kent showed the way in creating great sea stories and detailing the actions that make a sailing ship function -- in peace and most particularly, at war. Dewey Lambdin matches the caliber of that writing and adds a real person, Alan Lewrie, who doesn't even want to be in the Navy, until he discovers to his utter dismay that he really likes this sailing stuff and that he is very good at artillery and other things having to do with explosives. Lambdin captures the vernacular of the day, and has his characters speak as characters of the day would speak. He shares the thoughts, doubts, aspirations, hopes, desires, and despairs of Alan Lewrie. And in this sharing, you come to truly know Alan and care for him. Mr. Lambdin has created a great character and a great series. I have only recently discovered him. I recommend him to anyone who relishes great sea stories most highly.
"The French Admiral" is the second book of a multibook series. I found the others to be very exciting but for the life of me, I can not understand why a book (part of a series published in 1992) has now been taken out of print. It seems to have recieved extremely good reviews. It's a good tale which kept me interesting in the future of its young hero. My only criticisms of Mr. Lambdin's wooks is that he has a tendency to slip out of the vernacular of the period and into modern speech. Also the extensive sexual vinettes become altogether too pornographic (not that I don't like good porn now and then) but for this work I think it detracts.
Fans of this series have been stumped by this book's continuing unavailability and the unfulfilled publisher's promises to put out a paperback copy. Well I finally found this book at the local library in the LARGE PRINT fiction section. It is published by G.K.Hall who also have published the eighth in the series, Jester's Fortune in a large print addition. So check it out at your local library or ask them to order it. It is every bit as good as the others in the series so it is not on account of quality that it has been mysteriously made unavailable. If only the author would stop confusing sex with acrobatics!
I am an old salt and a devoted reader of O'brian, Nelson, Marryat, Forester, etc. I have read Lambdin's first Alan Lewrie novel, The King's Coat and thoroughly enjoyed it. I bought the rest of the series - all but the second, The French Admiral, in which a major adversary is introduced. For some unexplained reason, the publisher has failed to republish this single book in the series. I am now attempting to locate a copy because I wish to read the series in order.It is a major absence in the highly engaging narrative and in the development of the fascinating characters!
I have read the entire series of Alan Lewrie novels EXCEPT THIS ONE! According to other reviews it was supposed to become available again in June or July of 1999. It is now the end of January 2001 and I STILL CAN'T GET IT! I am a huge fan of the series as (apparently) are a lot of other people. We are all stymied by our inability to get this book. What's up at the publishers???
I wanted to order this book for my husband because he has been gobbling up Dewey Lambdin's Alan Lewrie series since he discovered them. Like the reader from Seattle (Aug.26/98) he is incredibly frustrated that he can't get the second book in the best naval series he's read since Patrick O'Brien's. Perhaps the publisher should listen to readers on this!
Lambdin's flawed hero is always exciting and matures quite a deal in this novel. Great excitement and true to the rough nature of the American Revolution. While this book is now only available in libraries and used book stores, the back cover of one of his more recent novels stated that it will be rereleased in fall 1999. Don't miss it.