Dewey Lambdin, where have you been all my life? Ever since finishing C.S. Forester’s Hornblower series as a kid, I’ve been in search of another good wooden-ships-and-iron-men fix, but have never managed to find an author who didn’t come up woefully short—until now.
Like Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey/Maturin series, Lambdin’s Capt. Alan Lewrie adventures tend to ramble a bit, as opposed to being tightly plotted like Forester’s. But unlike O’Brian, Lambdin is a true sailor (son of a U.S. Naval officer no less), which means good rambling, as opposed to endless pages on the local flora and fauna, arcane medical techniques or the finer points of 19th century English cuisine.
In Hostile Shores, Capt. Lewrie—a womanizing scoundrel whose seamanship may not be the best but whose gunnery is beyond reproach—first takes part in the British invasion of Cape Town and then sails across the Atlantic to invade Buenos Aires for good measure. His adventures include everything from a ripping-good spat with some Dutch cavalry to one of the best frigate duels I’ve ever read. For you foodies, there’s even a little cuisine-chat. But bird watching? Not bloody likely!
Best of all, Hostile Shores is no less than the 19th book in Lambdin’s Alan Lewrie series, which means yours truly will have plenty of tales to satisfy his addiction for years to come. For those who haven’t yet had a chance to experience Lambdin’s work, enjoy. For those who already know all about this author, why so quiet all these years?
By Dewey Lambdin
Published by Thomas Dunne
Books; 354 pps.
Available through cadentpublishing.com