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Age of Sail / Book Series / Dudley Pope / Main Character / Royal Navy

Ramage’s Challenge, by Dudley Pope

Many things may be said about Dudley Pope’s nautical fiction series from the age of sail, featuring Lord Ramage. What cannot be said is that it is boring! Dudley Pope is a great writer, and his books about Lord Ramage are always full of surprises, and always very entertaining. And so is Ramage’s challenge!

After a long spell in the Caribbean, Captain Lord Ramage has been given orders to return to the Mediterranean with his captured French frigate HMS Calypso. After the outbreak of fresh hostilities between Britain and France, France has captured British nobles to use as hostages, among them Ramage’s first love, Gianna, the Marchesa di Volterra. Now English Admiralty spies have been able to find out where they are held, and Ramage is ordered to try to free them.

Once again Ramage leads the daring crew of the Calypso into enemy waters on a difficult mission. And, as usual, he will need all his wits and ability to come up with good ruses to outwit the clever French. And, as always, Lord Ramage delivers, but on land and in naval action.

This book is strange, but also quite innovative and interesting. The action is clever and intriguing, and it is well written and well-plotted. I liked Ramage’s Challenge. However, it takes a little too long before the action starts, and the story is a little odd, even though the Pope’s writing is good enough to save the book for me. Even so, this is not one of Dudley Pope’s best, but still interesting if you follow the series.

Takes over the helm from Hornblower. — Daily Mirror