Reefs and Shoals

Dewey Lambdin. St. Martin’s/Dunne, $25.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-312-59571-5
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. Agent: Harold Ober Associates. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 11/28/2011
Release date: 01/17/2012
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