Alan Lewrie is the main character in The Naval Adventures of Alan Lewrie series. He is a brash, impetuous ladies’ man and general rakehell. He’s also an officer in the Royal Navy where his bravery and quick thinking brings him success as often as they land him in hot water.
From a young midshipman who develops a love for naval artillery to the captain of a dashing frigate, Lewrie moves up the ranks as he samples the pleasures of the world and makes his mark as a King’s officer!
To me, there is hardly anything more romantic, intriguing, exotic, and interesting than a great naval novel, of course about the British navy during the era of sail. To read about the careers of naval commanders, the battles, the political intrigue, the ships, and crews is fascinating. It is in a class of its own as reading. Not necessarily always great literature, but often – in the hands of a good author – great reading and lots of joy! And while he may not be a C.S. Forester or a Patrick O’Brian, Dewey Lambdin is a good writer, perhaps better than for example Dudley Pope and Alexander Kent!
And the series entitled The Naval Adventures of Alan Lewrie by Dewey Lambdin is just that. Great, joyful reading. The series, which is published in chronological order (14 books so far), starts with The Kings Coat. This is a book about the young Alan Lewrie, who is brash, somewhat rebellious, and quite a libertine. At seventeen years old he is forced to go to sea as a midshipman in the tall-masted ship-of-the-line Ariadne. Basically his father wants him removed from the scene so that he can spend Alan’s inheritance himself. This is a relatively “noir” but very realistic and entertaining story.
Much later, and later in the series as well, we meet Alan Lewrie again. In King’s Captain and Sea of Grey, Alan Lewrie, or Ram-Cat as he is often called, is now a Captain of the Royal Navy, with his own ship of the line. Lewrie has, as is his habit, impressed with his bravery. This time in the Battle at Cape St. Vincent. However, upon taking over his new ship, Lewrie is faced with a naval wide mutiny. He longs for command of HMS Proteus, but must first win over an old enemy and take back his ship. Eventually, of course, he does, and in Sea of Grey, we find him back in the thick of the action in the Caribbean, with ample opportunity to fire his beloved artillery pieces at ships as well as the slave army of Toussaint L’Overeture. And again being used by the Crown’s spies in their strange games. As well, we meet in this book the newly revived United States Navy!
This is a wonderful series, and actually my personal favorite among the series from the Age of Sails.