In this, the ninth book in the Nathaniel Drinkwater series, the Captain and his HMS Patrician arrive in the South China Sea. They have traveled along the coast of North America, battled a typhoon and rescued an East Indiaman on the way
Now Drinkwater is ordered to guard a convoy of ships from the East India Company from Canton to Penang, in an area full of pirates. So in A Private Revenge, we find Drinkwater dealing with pirates, French and Dutch men-of-war, as well as an unexpected, unwelcome, and very threatening passenger from his past, his archenemy Morris.
The smart but evil Morris whose Navy career ended in a scandal, seeks revenge on Nathaniel Drinkwater and has made plans that will ruin the good, decent and somewhat naïve Captain who seems to be unable to understand the true nature of Morris and the length he is willing to go to in order to harm Drinkwater. His lack of understanding leads to deception and tragedy. Woodman cleverly builds up tension, and we as readers know something terrible will happen, even though Drinkwater does not.
And, indeed, terrible things do happen. Sabotage, treachery, kidnapping, torture, hard fighting, and death all result from the evil actions of Morris. The climax of A Private Revenge takes place on Borneo and forces the Patricians and Drinkwater to fight for their lives.
This is very exciting, to some extent even a frustrating book, for followers of the series. I feel pretty certain that is will be exciting for newcomers to the series, but probably not to the same extent. Woodman’s use of creative plot lines which spans multiple books in the series and historical events is very good. This book is relatively dark and tough and actually left me a little sad at the end. A book you need to read!