Ramage and the Freebooters, by Dudley Pope
(This book was published as The Triton Brig in the US.) The first line of the book reads: "As Ramage's carriage rattled along Whitehall he was surprised to see the long and wide street was almost deserted." The reason the street was deserted, was the Spithead mutiny. Lord Ramage is called to the Admiralty and given command as well as an urgent mission, but as the brig he is given is part of the mutiny, his task is not an easy one and requires solving several quite unusual problems before he can have a chance to put out to sea. However, as we all know, this is Lord Ramage’s forte!
If he manages to get away from Spithead, Ramage is to deliver three sealed dispatches to admirals off Brest and Cadiz, and in the Caribbean. If he fails, he will become a very convenient scapegoat.
This is how the third novel in the Ramage series begins. As with the two previous ones, it is an extraordinarily exciting story which captures all the romance, mystery and adventure of the Caribbean in Nelson's day, and is great installment in this series about the Royal Navy in the Napoleonic Age.
Having arrived in the Caribbean, Ramage is instructed to stop the mysterious loss of ships sailing from Grenada to Barbados after two frigate captains had previously failed to do so. A new puzzle, and again he is set up as a scapegoat. He has no choice in the matter, but must gamble that he will be successful. And, as it turns out, logical analysis and a keen understanding of the economics of piracy soon leads Lord Ramage in the direction of the freebooters.
Dudley Pope delivers excellent adventure yarn with delightful, well thought out plots. He also has a cunning ability to convey how the best of the best handle emergency situations, and – as well - portrays these situations with realism and authenticity. Ramage and the Freebooters is very exciting. It is at least the equal of the first two books in this series. A great thrill to read!