Pity poor Captain Alan Lewrie, Royal Navy! He's been wind-muzzled for weeks in Portsmouth, snugly tucked into a warm shore bed with lovely, and loving, Lydia Stangbourne, a Viscount's daughter, and beginning to enjoy indulging his idle streak, when Admiralty tears Lewrie away and order him to the Bahamas, into the teeth of ferocious winter storms. It's enough to make a rakehell such as he weep and kick furniture!
At least his new orders allow Lewrie to form a small squadron from what ships he can dredge up at Bermuda and New Providence and hoist his first broad pendant, even if it is the lesser version, and style himself a Commodore.
Lewrie is to scour the shores of Cuba and Spanish Florida, the Keys and the Florida Straits in search of French and Spanish privateers which have been taking British merchantmen at an appalling rate, and call upon neutral American seaports to determine if privateers are getting aid and comfort from that quarter. Lewrie is to be "Diplomatic." Diplomatic? Lewrie? Not bloody likely!
To solve the problem and find the answers will put Lewrie in touch with old friends, old foes, and more frustration than a dog has fleas. As usual, though, Captain Alan Lewrie will find his own unique way to fulfill his duties, and in the doing, find some fun in his own irrepressible manner!
Reefs and Shoals is the 18th installment in the Alan Lewrie series, from Dewey Lambdin, "The brilliantly stylish American master of salty-tongued British naval tales" (Kirkus Reviews).
The year is 1805 and Royal Navy Capt. Alan Lewrie is back in all his swashbuckling debauchery, in Lambdin's latest Napoleonic naval warfare novel, far better than 2010's The Invasion Year. Lambdin succeeds with high-seas action, bravado, and Lewrie's characteristic antics, putting himself in good company with Julian Stockwin and Seth Hunter as worthy successors to the popular 18th- and 19th-century naval adventures of Forester, Kent, and Pope. Here Lewrie leaves the bedroom of his scandalous lover, Lady Lydia Stangbourne, for a mission in the Caribbean to destroy Spanish and French privateers preying on English shipping. But a pompous and cowardly senior officer; enemies who are smarter and tougher than expected; traitorous, inept British diplomats; and an unscrupulous American war profiteer complicate the mission. As Lewrie navigates these deadly impediments, he uncovers a scheme to disrupt British commerce and finds the traitors, resulting in bloody battles at sea and sneaky deceptions ashore. Lewrie savors the smoke and crash of a broadside and the clash and chaos of close combat, but is equally adept at subtly goading and insulting enemies, incompetents, cowards, and government toadies. Lewrie is a delightfully randy and irreverent character, the perfect man to walk the quarterdeck of a Royal Navy frigate.