"Enemy In Sight" by Alexander Kent
In book ten, we find Bolitho in the two decker 74 Hyperion on blockade duty off the coast of France under the incompetent command of Commodore Phelam-Martin. Sent inshore looking for a missing frigate, they happen on a group of French sail of the line trying to escape to the open sea. They catch a frigate sleeping and blow it out of the water and then proceed to block the escaping ships. But a foul French admiral in command starts hanging the captured crew of the missing British frigate and Bolitho has no choice but to withdraw. Bolitho convinces the commodore that the French are heading for the Caribbean to cause mischief with the Dutch and Spanish. The French have one three deck 100 gun ship, several two deck 74s, and a couple of frigates. The British squadron has only three old two decker 74s, two frigates, and a sloop. Several sea engagements ensue and one good battle ashore. The French capture a Spanish treasure ship and Bolitho figures they are heading back to France or Spain. With the commodore wounded, Bolitho takes command and they beat back to the coast of France under all sail to be waiting for the French ships. What takes place is one of the greatest battles in any of the Kent books.
Reviewed by Kenneth S. Smith, January 1999
Ithaca, New York