An Awkward Commission
Stranded in Portsmouth, John Pearce has once again failed to secure the release of those who depended on him – his fellow Pelicans. They have been shipped off to the Mediterranean while he was indulging himself in London. So he must take ship and follow them. His application to William Pitt for a place finds him as 8th lieutenant on HMS Victory, flagship of Admiral Lord Hood.
South and ahead of him, his Pelicans are serving under a flogging captain, but all is not lost as each of the gang does what he can to promote himself – O’Hagan fights to establish his place in the below decks hierarch; Taverner carves out a niche where his trickery can work to the gang’s advantage; Gherson ends up as secretary to Rear Admiral Ralph Barclay.
As the action moves to the main French Mediterranean port of Toulon, the tension between crews and captains intensifies, coming to a brilliant head when the HMS Brilliant is detached from the fleet under the orders of Captain Horatio Nelson, bound for North Africa.
What The Critics Said
‘Using a clever blend of fact and fiction, Donachie leads his readers through the seamy side of life in the 1790s, and with graphic imagery he spins a rollicking yarn of boldness and redemption’
Good Book Guide
‘I found this one to be very well-written by an author who knows his history, and with some exciting sea-battles… this is a good read with some good detail about the workings of the seafaring ships of the day and an interesting historical background.’
Historical Novels Review
‘Having discovered David Donachie’s work rather late in life I have really enjoyed discovering new things and traditions. Having read lots of books about the RN and sailing in general ranging from Ramage to Reaman and lots more David’s approach was refreshingly different. Like all novels of this ilk there is always the most improbable actions, results etc. but it is good stuff. I am now hoping that the later books in the series will soon be available in paperback. If you have not yet read any of David’s work then give his first book a try and it will lead you into this in the series.’