In the aftermath of a typhoon, Captain Nathaniel Drinkwater brings his Britannic Majesty’s frigate Patrician into the shelter of the Pearl River upon the China Coast. He is entangled in bizarre events following the British occupation of Macao and Admiral Drury’s attack on Canton. Initially relieved to be assigned the duty of a convoy escort to Penang, Drinkwater discovers that the enemy’s cargo contains a mysterious quantity of silver and a single passenger. A routine task is suddenly complicated by the resurrection of an embittered hatred and Captain Drinkwater finds himself drawn in by treachery and greed towards a climatic rendezvous in the tropical rain forest of Borneo.
Captain Richard Martin Woodman retired in 1997 from a 37-year nautical career. Woodman's Nathaniel Drinkwater series is often compared to the work of the late Patrick O'Brian. Woodman is the author of some two dozen nautical novels, as well as several nonfiction books. Unlike many other modern naval historical novelists, such as C.S. Forester or O'Brian, he has served afloat. He went to sea at the age of sixteen as an indentured midshipman and spent eleven years in command. His experience ranges from cargo-liners to ocean weather ships and specialist support vessels to yachts, square-riggers, and trawlers. Said Lloyd's List of his work: "As always, Richard Woodman's story is closely based on actual historical events. All this we have come to expect—and he adds that special ambience of colourful credibility which makes his nautical novels such rattling good reads."
A Private Revenge: Contents
PART ONE: THE DAMOCLEAN SWORD
1 The Brig
2 New Orders
4 The Dragon's Roar
5 The Matter of Morale
6 The Concerns of a Convoy
8 Fair Winds and Foul Tempers
9 Infirmities of Character
10 A Small Victory
11 Blood and Rain
PART TWO: NEMESIS
12 A Council of War
13 A Round Robin
14 The Winds of Fortune
15 The Bronze-bound Chests
16 Blow-pipe Creek
17 The Gates of the Fortress
PART THREE: A PRIVATE REVENGE
19 The Tripod
20 A Forlorn Hope
21 A Private Revenge
Packed with exciting incident worthy of wide appeal to those who love thrilling nautical encounters and the sea.
The ninth adventure of Capt. Nathaniel Drinkwater—but only the second (In Distant Waters) published here—places the middle-aged, phlegmatic skipper of H.M. frigate Patrician in the South China Sea in 1808 under secret Admiralty orders to thwart the new Franco-Russian alliance. Guiding ships of the East India Company (practically a power in itself) from Canton to Penang, he must be wary of pirates, the Hong in Canton, the emperor in Peking and a shipload of Russian prisoners. Drinkwater is duped into giving passage to his archenemy Morris, along with the man's fortune in silver and his catamite. The crafty Morris, his Navy career cut short by scandal, plots a private revenge that will ruin Drinkwater and may even let Morris have his heinous way with the Captain. The climax is a bang-up battle between Borneo's fierce Dyaks (of poison dart fame) and Patrician 's beleaguered crew. Drinkwater is a true-blue, if stolid, hero, but shipboard life, including its below-decks stink, is vividly drawn.
In this latest Nathaniel Drinkwater novel the intrepid captain commands his majesty's frigate Patrician on the China station after a cruise halfway around the world. As convoy commander for merchantmen sailing to Penang, Drinkwater deals with pirates, French and Dutch men-of-war, and an unexpected and threatening passenger from his past. Rich in detail, historically accurate, and displaying a masterly knowledge of the technical aspects of ships under sail, Woodman's novel is comparable to sea fiction by masters such as C.S. Forester and Alexander Kent in its evocation of the past age of wooden ships and iron men. Highly recommended for public libraries.
In the aftermath of a typhoon, Captain Nathaniel Drinkwater brings the HMS frigate Patrician into the shelter of the Pearl River in China, to refit. He is unwittingly entangled in the bizarre events that followed the British occupation of Macao and the attack on the Canton. Well written and exciting.
There is no doubt that Nathaniel Drinkwater rates up there with the best of the nautical world.
Woodman knows his ships and the sea and is a craftsman of great ability.
Brilliantly told . . . the characters are real and lively, the language similar; but above all it is a convincing and compulsive seafaring story.
Action to the bone, no romantic bilge-water.
. . . for all who like to read about naval action in the 19th century, told with gusto and bravura.