Ramage's Diamond, by Dudley Pope

by Peter on March 30, 2011

Ramage has now been made post and is sent to the Caribbean as captain of the frigate HMS Juno. He takes over Juno from a captain that has been given court martial for drunkenness, and has to whip one of the sloppiest crews and ship he has ever seen into shape on the journey from England to Martinique. Ramage's Diamond, by Dudley Pope And what a delightful and interesting journey it is – Pope has never before let Lord Ramage run this loose. It is like a tale of the unexpected, or as Lord Ramage himself says: “Ships sink for unexpected reasons”. So he sets out not only to whip some discipline into the ship, make the seaman perform to Navy standards, but also to prepare the ship for the unexpected!

The main action takes place at Martinique in the summer of 1804.Having arrived, Ramage, as the most junior captain of the station, is assigned a seeming boring task. But with Ramage, it does not get boring: Rather he performs surprising actions on a routine basis (actually based on historical events, an action performed by Commodore Samuel Hood), and Ramage’s Diamond retells the story of a tremendous feat of martial engineering. As well, Ramage captures frigates and schooners, and quickly builds his own little fleet. Seeing the importance of controlling the shipping lanes in and out of Fort de France, he mounts batteries on a towering rock (the Diamond). Then, utilizing the batteries, and his little fleet, and some very clever tactics, he manages to defeat a much larger French fleet and supply convoy. Ramage sink, burns or captures the entire convoy!

This is an incredibly good and wonderful book. Generally the books in the Ramage series are of excellent quality and with lots of extremely interesting - sometimes ingenious – action. Even so, Ramage’s Diamond is a cut above the rest of the books in the series that I have read so far. An impressive book and a great joy to read, especially for people reading the whole series!

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