Charles Hayden sets off aboard the ill-fated HMS Themis with orders to destroy a French frigate and to gather intelligence from a royalist spy. On discovering French plans for an imminent invasion of England, Hayden must return to Portsmouth to give warning before it's too late. But the enemy has been lying in wait for him, and so begins a dangerous chase out into the Atlantic and into the clutches of a powerful French squadron...
Also published in the US under the title Take, Burn or Destroy.
©2012 Sean Thomas Russell (P)2012 W F Howes Ltd
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This the third outing for Charles Hayden and my least favourite so far.
He was such a promising character, a bright, talented and ambitious naval officer who has no influential friends and therefore does not get on as well as he should. Unfortunately, the Hayden of the book is losing his way rather and becoming dare I say it a bit dull. The author has made Hayden more fallible, which is a good thing because no-one could be right all the time. However, he spends most of this book pining for his love Henrietta and the adventures at sea have to share the space with events on shore. There are no encounters with senior officers, friendly to him or otherwise and even Mr Stephens of the Admiralty makes no appearance. There is, however, a lot of time with Henrietta and her family and Hayden's possible rival in love while Hayden himself is away at sea. The consequences of the confusion left at the end of book 2 are played out in detail.
I listen to these novels for the adventure side of things and the will-they-won't they was pitched just right in the two earlier novels. I am not that interested in Henrietta, who became less not more interesting as the novel went on.
Nick Boulton's reading was as good as ever and his characterisation is excellent. Sadly, I felt this book did not give him enough to work with, unlike the first two.
As I travel a lot, I wouldn't normally get the time to read the book, but in this case I have. The Audio version is a great deal of fun and very enjoyable.
Nice continuation of the prior novels - can't wait for the next instalment.
Confusion to our enemies and down with the French !
If you love Hornblower - you'll love this
I must admit that I'm addicted to this series but really don't know why , the narration is what makes the story come alive , Nick Boulton does so many divergent characters that you can feel what it would be like on board ship with all the fantastic crew , each one playing there part well.For me the author does well but should stay away from mixing in his meaningless love stories as it just makes pointless sense and with know effect on the main story ! , really boring .
Sean carries us along on another adventure with his hero, allowing us to feel his exhilaration in battle and his frustration in his personal life in a way that is wholly believable.
I would recommend this. Its fantastic detailed account of ship sailing in the Napoleonic war. Superb narrator and a great storyline.
The battle descriptions.
I cant wait for the next book.
Let me say at the outset, I enjoyed Russell's previous book, a battle won and hoped this would be similar but sadly it was not. There is a useful if limited plot around Hayden at sea however there are also long tedious passages relating to Harriet that sound as if the author was aspiring to Pride and Prejudice more than Hornblower. The two sides to the story appeal to different people (and probably different genders.) It was well read but the story line is not as engaging. Come on Russell, forget about the romance bit and concentrate on the action... it's what you do best.
...is the gaps between book releases - 18months to find out what happens next is too long - really interesting descriptions though - you can really feel yourself as part of it...
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