"Beyond the Reef" by Alexander Kent

Richard Bolitho Saga #19

I am becoming less enamored with this series as it progresses to its conclusion. There is less focus on life at sea and the naval battles and more on Admiral of the Red Sir Richard Bolitho's personal love life with his mistress Lady Catherine Somerville. There are also additional complications with his nephew Captain Adam Bolitho's love affair with Zenobia, Adm. Keen's wife. These books are starting to be more soap opera than good naval fiction.

The year is 1806 and Admiral Bolitho is sent to Capetown to bolster British defenses. He sets sail on the Barquentine Golden Plover with Lady Catherine and gold to pay the British Army. But, there is treachery and mutiny and they are shipwrecked. When any hope is almost gone, they are rescued by Commander James Tyacke, an old friend and the horribly disfigured captain of the brig Larne.

After returning to England, Bolitho is the dispatched to the West Indies to halt the French buildup and stop any invasion attempts. The book culminates with a sea battle in which Bolitho's three ships of the line and one frigate shatter the French invasion fleet.

Other old friends that appear are; Allday, Ossard, Yovell, Herrick, and Adam Bolitho.

Reviewed by Kenneth S. Smith 2/07/2001

Available from:
McBooks Press

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