Alexander Kent,
Richard Bolitho #14: A Tradition of Victory
(Hutchinson, 1981; McBooks, 2000)

It's 1801 and both the English and French, weary of war, are suing for peace -- but the terms of that peace will be dictated by the nation with the strongest position. And the French, with rumors of an invasion fleet massing in some hidden harbor, appear to have the upper hand.

That's why Rear-Admiral Richard Bolitho, in command of a small fleet captained by his old friend Thomas Herrick, is sent to French waters. His mission is to find the fleet and, if possible, destroy it.

Of course, it's not that easy, and Alexander Kent has again penned a thrilling adventure set at the height of the Napoleonic wars.

As is too often the case, Bolitho suffers hard losses along the way, including friends and, for a time, his freedom after his ship sinks beneath him and his only supporting frigate flees the scene without firing a shot. Bolitho, thinking only of escape and completion of his mission, refuses to give his parole -- meaning harsher treatment for him and his men.

But escape he will -- obviously, since it wouldn't be much of an adventure story if told from a cell -- and Bolitho rallies his remaining forces to get back to their mission before the French can force the British crown into an unfavorable treaty.

The Bolitho series continues to be one of the best naval series on the market. Fortunately, Kent -- a.k.a. Douglas Reeman -- produced plenty of novels in the series, and there is still a lot more to read.

book review by
Tom Knapp

11 October 2014

Agree? Disagree?
Send us your opinions!

what's new