Dudley Pope,
Ramage's Signal
(Martin Secker & Warburg, 1980; McBooks, 2001)

Still on a mission to disrupt ships and commerce in the Mediterranean Sea, Nicholas Ramage and Calypso aren't having tons of luck. But then they raid a coastal French signal tower and, rather than simply destroy it and leave, Ramage intercepts and translates a series of messages and soon learns of a poorly defended French merchant convoy awaiting an escort.

And Ramage just happens to be in command of a French-built frigate -- captured by the British, but still sailing with French rigging and sails, and with French colors aboard. And Ramage, of course, has a plan.

Like the plot of the previous book, The Ramage Touch, Ramage's Signal does not hinge on important battles or grand events in the greater scheme of the ongoing war between England and France. It's about relatively minor actions with little lasting significance.

But it's fun, because Dudley Pope is a solid writer who builds strong characters and interesting situations. Not every action has to be earth-shaking, but every book should be lively and entertaining. Ramage's Signal fits the bill.

book review by
Tom Knapp

9 August 2014

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