Ramage and the Renegades is a great historical fiction book and important in the Lord Ramage series. In this book, the Marchesa of Volterra, who has been Lord Ramage’s love through the series so far, realizes that marriage is not going to happen.
The Marchesa has decided to return to Italy despite the fact her enemy Napoleon still rules there. And it is now clear to her that in addition to religious beliefs that make marriage difficult, they also have duties that will be impossible to reconcile. And Captain Ramage is off on a new mission, where he meets and falls in love with another woman.
There is finally peace in Europe. The Treaty of Amiens has been signed, and hostilities have ceased. Many claim – and Lord Ramage and his father, the Admiral – are among them, that England won the war and lost the peace. Be that as it may – and in hindsight, we know that the peace at Amiens was a short-lived affair – the result still is that the Royal Navy is being reduced. But Ramage has been “lucky”, and has been sent off on a secret mission to the small island of Trinidad, off the coast of Brazil, with his frigate HMS Calypso.
This mission was assumed to be a peaceful survey mission, but it didn’t turn out that way. Arriving at the island, Ramage and the crew of the Calypso are met with a band of ruthless pirates, and Ramage is more or less forced to engage in a battle to free several captive merchant ships and a powerful privateer.
The novel starts pretty slow with a focus on people rather than naval action. However, when the action starts it is very interesting. And, as always with the books in this series, Dudley Pope’s writing is excellent and the book very entertaining. Ramage & the Renegades is not among the very best in the series, but relatively important, and clearly a book you will want to read if you are a fan of the Lord Ramage series.