Ramcat Alan Lewrie is back! Reefs and Shoals is the newest title in Dewey Lambdin’s great naval fiction series from the Napoleonic ages. In the series, we follow Alan Lewrie all the way from his maiden trip as a midshipman, sent away by a father who wanted to get him out of the house, and throughout his illustrious career in the Royal Navy.
It is now in 1805. Alan, or Sir Alan Lewrie as he now is, is onshore in Plymouth enjoying some female company when he receives a message that he has been appointed commodore and is required to set sail for Bermuda. His mission is unusual: He is to hunt for enemy privateers that are disturbing British trade in the West Indies and along the southern coast of America with his frigate Reliant and other ships that he may recruit as needed from the forces present in the area.
For a man like Lewrie, who likes to do as he pleases and hates to be ordered around by incompetent and stupid superiors, this is good news: He can more or less do as he sees fit whenever he sees fit to do so!
When Reliant reaches Bermuda, Lewrie meets up with a fellow officer he has always detested and seizes the opportunity to take some of his best ships away from his command. Then he goes hunting.
Reefs and Shoals is an interesting book that tells a good tale. There is perhaps a little less action than I would have liked, but on the other hand, the book has great dialogue, lots of interesting facts, and good descriptions of the area as well as the politically complex situation. Dewey Lambdin is very knowledgeable, and this book really shows the extent of his command of historical detail. Also, there is a battle: powder smoke, cannons fired, and grog downed. And Lewrie does as expected – he manages, in the end, to clean up the area fairly well!
In my opinion, this is one of the weaker installments in this overall very interesting series. I would have liked a little more speed, a little more action, and a little more intensity in this book, but being a follower of the series I still enjoyed reading Reefs and Shoals!