H.M.S. Cockerel

Dewey Llambdin, Author, Dewey Lambdin, Author Dutton Books $23.95 (368p) ISBN 978-1-55611-446-5
As in the five earlier novels chronicling the adventures of 18th-century British naval lieutenant Alan Lewrie (The Gun Ketch, etc.), Lambdin here serves up a fast-moving yarn loaded with action, colorful characters and marvelous period detail. In 1792, war clouds from France threaten to spread the storm of the Revolution across Europe, prompting the Admiralty to recall Lewrie from his comfortable life as a gentleman farmer in Surrey. After a brief stint in charge of a press-gang rounding up ``deserters,'' Alan is named first officer of the frigate Cockerel. The burden of serving under the neurotic, overbearing Captain Braxton is eased somewhat by an excursion to Naples, where Alan meets, and forgets his marriage vows, with the lusty Lady Emma Hamilton. Later, Alan is assigned to shore duty at Toulon, where a pocket of Royalists is under siege by Revolutionaries. There, the lieutenant encounters then-Colonel Napoleon Bonaparte and, after the city's evacuation, manages, with stylish seamanship and cunning, to become something of a hero. This is Lambdin's usual satisfying brew, leavened with welcome humor-as when Lady Hamilton, at a crucial amatory moment, coos, ``I'll never in my life know... what it is... 'bout me, and sailors!'' (July)
Reviewed on: 05/29/1995
Release date: 06/01/1995
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