THE CAPTAIN'S VENGEANCE

Dewey Lambdin, Author
Dewey Lambdin, Author . St. Martin's/Dunne $25.95 (336p) ISBN 978-0-312-31547-4
Reviewed on: 09/06/2004
Release date: 11/01/2004
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-0-312-31550-4
Ebook - 352 pages - 978-1-4299-6274-2
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This 12th installment of the Alan Lewrie naval adventure series sends the British captain to 1799 New Orleans in pursuit of pirates. Unlike the manly, ship-shape society aboard his frigate, New Orleans seems dominated by seductive women, especially the coquettish pirate ringleader Charité, who is plotting an insurrection against Louisiana's slothful Spanish rulers that will reunite it with Republican France and forestall a takeover by the uncouth but energetic Americans. Crying "laisser les bons temps rouler ," Charité fights for her right " 'to be French... to take joy in being sans moralité ' "; for her, the French Revolution—the great problem of the naval adventure genre—is not a sociopolitical rupture but a new, unconventional defense of traditional Gallic decadence and frivolity against the encroachment of Yankee industriousness. Out of his depth, Lewrie confronts her unruly French femininity the only way he can on dry land—through noisy, seven-condom sex marathons ("her pleasure made her squawl out loud... grunting and lowing like a heifer being taken by a rutting bull") undertaken while his associates unravel the various intrigues. Throughout, Lambdin layers on period minutiae of clothing, weapons, customs and patois (" 'You cheese-paring bougre !' ") along with accounts of Mississippi valley trade and settlement patterns. A wealth of historical detail and lively, if stereotyped, supporting characters partly make up for the novel's slack plot and overdone sex. Agent, Jake Elwell at Wieser & Wieser . (Nov.)

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