Well, I’ve just finished the twenty-fifth book of the Alan Lewrie naval adventure series, written by Dewey Lambdin.
I don’t know what that says about my personality, especially as I have also read my way through the twenty volumes of Patrick O’Brien’s Aubrey-Maturin series twice. What is it with me and sailing ships? My favourite exercise is horse riding where you get to sit down all the time. I am scared of heights and not very agile and so would be totally useless if I ever did set foot on any sort of sailing craft.
Well, the history is very interesting and you can’t help learning a lot. Both series cover the Napoleonic wars although Dewey Lambdin starts his time line a few years earlier, thus giving his hero more time and adventures in which to strut his stuff. The characters in both series are great and realistic, and you can’t help getting fond of them despite all their foibles.
I haven’t checked up on Dewey Lambdin, but the history rings true as far as I know from other sources and I am quite confident that he has done all his research thoroughly. I do know that O’Brian’s characters and many of their naval exploits are based on genuine heroes of the Royal Navy and many of the most outlandish and unbelievable things that they accomplish are actually records of true events.
Of course, Dewey has a couple of advantages over Patrick O’Brian, he is still alive, and therefore extremely likely to write more adventures for his hero. Also, he actually does sail boats. Amazingly, according to his biography, O’Brian is highly likely never to have stepped on one. His vivid portrayal of early 19th Century naval life is based entirely on a close study of the Royal Navy archives and his own vivid imagination. I suppose most people would say that he was the better writer, but I found both authors to be uneven with some books better than others and some getting more bogged down or a little slow moving. But what can you expect with so many books. It’s a tribute to both of them that they can keep the reader’s interest over such a protracted period of time.
Most readers will have heard of Patrick O’Brian, there was a movie, after all. I only came across Dewey while wandering around the library with no idea what to read, and noticing books with sailing ships blasting the trip out of each other on the cover.
Just a warning, I found the first part of the first Alan Lewrie book a bit silly and I nearly chucked it in then. Glad I didn’t.
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