Friday, July 27, 2018

Forgotten Books: Midshipman Bolitho and the Avenger - Alexander Kent (Douglas Reeman)

MIDSHIPMAN BOLITHO AND THE AVENGER is the second novel, chronologically, in the 18th Century naval adventure series written by Douglas Reeman under the pseudonym Alexander Kent. I really enjoyed the first one, RICHARD BOLITHO, MIDSHIPMAN, so I was looking forward to the sequel and it didn’t let me down.

As this book opens, 17-year-old Richard Bolitho has returned to England from his pirate-chasing adventure in the previous novel and has leave to travel to his family home in Cornwall to celebrate Christmas with his family. His friend and fellow midshipman Martyn Dancer goes with him. But no sooner do they arrive than a dead man is found on the beach of a nearby cove, then the King’s ship Avenger, under the command of none other than Bolitho’s older brother Hugh, shows up. Hugh has been sent to crack down on smugglers and wreckers working along the coastline, and since he’s short on officers, he presses his younger brother and Dancer into service on the Avenger.

There’s some action at sea, including a really excellent climactic chase and battle, but most of this adventure takes place on land as the Bolitho brothers try to break up the smuggling ring. The twist ending isn’t entirely a surprise, but it still works pretty well. Reeman writes great action scenes, and I continue to be impressed by how tight his writing is and how he spins his yarns at such a fast pace. No bloated historical novel here. This is good, old-fashioned swords and pistols high adventure, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I have the next novel in the series on hand, and I suspect I’ll be getting to it soon.


Rick Robinson said...

I liked this a little more than the first one, but never got to the next, and I'm not even sure I have it.

George said...

I've read several Alexander Kent adventures and enjoyed them all. Now I want to drop everything and read another one!

Jeff Meyerson said...

I used to pick these and the "Reeman" books up in the summers in England, where they were plentiful in secondhand bookstores. Reading them? That's a different question.