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The Winds of Folly by Paul Bryers
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The Winds of Folly (2016)

by Paul Bryers

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Showing 1-5 of 18 (next | show all)
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
A fun read, good historical fiction about the Age of Sail. I was looking forward to some good sea battles, and as such was not as interested in the Venice/intrigue plot. Overall, it was interesting. ( )
  kkunker | Dec 23, 2017 |
Good use of factual basis to create an oblique look at Napolean's rise to power and his Italian Campaign. Captain Nathan is more spy than war fighter in this episode. Action scenes are minimal but effective in moving the story forward. Looking forward to the continuation of this still interesting series. ( )
  jamespurcell | Jul 17, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Summary: Nathan Peake, captain of the Unicorn, is under orders to sail to Venice. He and his crew are to aid in the evacuation civilians from Leghorn ahead of Bonaparte's armies, and to limit the spread of piracy in the Adriatic. However, his real mission is to make for Venice, to convince the Venetians to stand with Britain against the spreading French forces. But Venice is unlike anything Nathan has ever encountered before, full of intrigue, corruption, and spies, and Nathan will have to keep his wits about him if he hopes to get himself - and his ship - out in one piece.

Review: Okay, this is it. I am finally giving up on this series. I probably should have done so three books ago, but I kept convincing myself that it was the Age of Sail! The British Navy! Those are all things I like! And in theory, they are, but in practice, these books just aren't doing it for me. The writing itself is good, smooth and easy to read, but unfortunately I never found anything in either the plot or the characters that drew me in and made me want to read more. I don't particularly care about Nathan Peake as a character. It's not that he's unlikeable, just that there's nothing about him that grabs me. His tumultuous relationship with Sara does its best to try to flesh him out, but I just don't find him particularly compelling. There also wasn't enough adventuring in this book to really be satisfying. Nathan spends a fair bit of the book ashore, so there are not enough sea battles, but despite all the build-up, there's not really that much spy drama either, leaving me at a bit of a loss of what the point of this novel was. Part of the problem, I think, is that Hunter is taking a fictional person and trying to interweave him into real historical events, so it's difficult to have Nathan do anything of consequence one way or another. It's not an impossible problem - plenty of other historical fiction has managed to insinuate its fictional characters behind the scenes of real events in interesting ways - but The Winds of Folly never seems to manage it. 2.5 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: This series does delve into some aspects of the post-Revolutionary-France/pre-Napoleonic-War era that I haven't seen tackled in other books, so there's that. But if your primary interest in them is for some Age of Sail high seas adventuring, there are plenty of other books that do it better. ( )
  fyrefly98 | Jun 5, 2017 |
**I received this book in a GoodReads giveaway in exchange for an honest review.**

This had me at "mystery on a boat" to be honest. I wasn't disappointed. A very good story. Well rounded characters and story line. A fun, quick read. I would recommend this to mystery or historical lovers. 4 out of 5 stars. ( )
  Beammey | Jul 23, 2016 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I won this book in exchange for an honest review.

Oh how I love a good maritime story! Windswepts seas, hoisting the mail sail, scrubbing the poop deck, this book had it all. If your wish is to read a book set during the age of sail, this is it.

I won this book from Librarything not realizing it was book 4 of a series. The book can be a standalone if just for the sheer pleasure of reading about a man-o-war at the time of the Napoleanic wars. The author know his tall ships and vividly conjures up strong imagery of a battle ship at sea, coupled with plenty of action.

Captain Nathan Peake is portrayed as an intelligent, humble individual who at times doubts himself but can always admit he is infallible and capable of mistakes. He alone seems to dominate the story with his crew filling in as secondary characters and there are plenty.

In this story Captain Peake is on a mission to win Venice, a hotbed of vice and political intrigue, from allying with the French. This is where I found the author lacking in his storytelling capabilities. From the back cover "But Nathan is soon drawn into a much more sinister web. At its heart two of the most feared women of the age: Emma Hamilton, the courtesan turned courtier, and the nun Caterina Caresini, uncrowned queen of Venice", I expected more interaction with the two women and a dramatic impact to the plot. However, the plot was not very deep and the two central female characters roles were so minimal, I felt like a portion of the story was missing.

A definite read if you like historical maritime fiction. ( )
  NancyNo5 | Jul 6, 2016 |
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Epigraph
I am but mad north-north-west: when the wind is southerly I know a hawk from a handsaw. Hamlet, II. 2. 405.
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For Pat
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The man known to his associates as Cristolfi, and to the rest of Venice as the Devil, passed unnoticed through the crowds on the Piazza San Marco.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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1796: Nathan Peake, captain of the frigate Unicorn is sent with a small squadron into the Adriatic to help bring Venice into an Italian alliance against the French. He establishes a British naval presence, harrying the French corsairs that swarm out of Ancona in Italy. While Nathan confronts the politics of 'intrigue, poison and the stiletto' in Venice, his mission is further complicated by the arrival of Napoleon Bonaparte's aide de camp, Junot. Recognising Nathan as the 'American' who saved Bonaparte's life in Paris, Junot invites him to army headquarters where he unwillingly joins the French in a victorious battle against the Austrians. Meanwhile, in Venice, French troops move into the city and a new revolutionary government takes power. Nathan learns that Bonaparte is negotiating a peace deal with the Austrians - Britain's only remaining ally. Worse, the Spanish are about to ally with the French. Nathan returns to the Unicorn and rejoins Nelson for the decisive Battle of St Vincent against the entire Spanish fleet.… (more)

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