Reefs and Shoals|
An Alan Lewrie Naval Adventure
St. Martin's Griffin/Thomas Dunne Books, 368pp, $16.99, Kindle $8.89
Dewey Lambdin, a resident of Tennessee, has been writing swashbuckling naval adventure novels since 1996. I'm embarrassed to admit, I just last month discovered his oeuvre...and what a kick! His series of more than twenty novels covers British naval actions during the American Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars. Prior to my late discovery I had studiously avoided war stories of all sorts for all the obvious reasons of a squeamish, semi-pacifist female. However, I got a genuine kick out of this book and intend to read more (all!) titles in the series.
Lambdin's hero, Captain Alan Lurie is the laid back but extremely competent main character of the 20+ volume series. In this novel, set in the very early 1800s) he is ordered to sail to the southern coast of the newly-minted United States as well as the offshore islands in the latitude, and, with two smaller vessels, vanquish any other national (especially the French) presence which might possibly be trading with the Americans. He skirmishes with French trading vessels, chases a few pirates, frightens a band of Indians, squires the ladies from Charleston, South Carolina and Brunswick, Georgia before he heads further south along the coast. He acquires a large lumpy dog, (he already travels with two cats), takes tea and stronger tonics with the American traders while keeping an eye out for the ladies and for British interests on shore and at sea.
The novel fully depends on Lurie. Not only is he the "man in charge" of his squadron of three vessels, but he is the diplomat ashore, spreading good will and encouraging trade and discouraging any possible advantage that might fall to the French...and then there are the mosquitoes! Charming, easy going, humorous and quirky...and very humane to his crew (and critters), Lurie charms his readers as well as his crew and the American traders. The small band of pirates, however do not fare so well.
The series boasts twenty novels at this moment. The first, The King's Coat was published in 1989. Another title is due out on February fourth. I'm sorry I didn't discover this delightful series last fall when the whole winter reading season was ahead of us. On the other hand, I think with a little sun-block, Captain Lurie just might get me through the summer reading season. To Dewey Lambdin, I say, keep writing and thanks for the fun!