King's Commission

Dewey Lamdbin, Author, Dewey Lambdin, Author
Dewey Lamdbin, Author, Dewey Lambdin, Author Dutton Books $21.95 (400p) ISBN 978-1-55611-187-7
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Fans garnered by Alan Lewrie (in The King's Coat and The French Admiral ) will gladly follow the 19-year-old scamp in his latest maritime adventure. In 1783, three years after being forced into the Royal Navy, Alan has risen to first lieutenant on the brig Shrike. Commanded by 50-year veteran Lt. Lilycrop, the brig does brisk business in taking French and Spanish prizes in the Caribbean. Learning seamanship under Lilycrop, Alan grudgingly realizes he enjoys the Navy. He continues to enjoy women: jolly war-widow Dolly; voracious adulteress Betty; sweet Indian maid Rabbit; rich, pretty and dumb Lucy (the last, chastely). An attempt to enlist Indian allies in West Florida ends badly and bloodily but with kudos for Alan. Horatio Nelson appears in a rare defeat and the book ends with the crusty Lilycrop's delivering a nicely sentimental, stiff-upper-lip farewell and Alan's taking command of Shrike. Lots of nautical color, especially war's gore and ``the usual human odors'' aboard crowded ships, accompany Alan's good-natured journey through admiralty policies and politics. (Mar.)
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