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Beneath the Aurora

by Richard Woodman

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492394,813 (3.6)1
The year 1813. As the Grand Army of Napoleon faces defeat on the battlefields of Germany, Captain Nathaniel Drinkwater succeeds Lord Dungarth as head of the Royal Navy's Secret Department. Before long he is caught up in a vast intrigue which leads him into the most desperate mission of his career among the forbidding fjords of Norway. In a compelling narrative the author links the fate of one of Napoleon's most charismatic mashals with American privateers, escaped prisoners, the Danish navy and a violent confrontation set beneath the aurora.… (more)

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Drinkwater pieces together some evidence and concludes the French are sending arms to the Yanks via Denmark. He bargains himself a command and sets off to break up the deal.

The second half of this book is an account of an unusually brutal battle, mainly between Drinkwater's frigate and a larger Danish cruiser. That part of the book is up to Woodman's usual fine standard, and quite fascinating, although the extremely heavy toll makes for painful reading.

Unfortunately, the first part of the book is not so well written. Throughout the book Woodman indulges far too often in his favorite stylistic quirk--he's prone to unnecessary foreshadowing. Usually it doesn't much bother me, but in this book it's pretty obtrusive.

This review is has also been published on a dabbler's journal. ( )
  joeldinda | Aug 15, 2009 |
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The year 1813. As the Grand Army of Napoleon faces defeat on the battlefields of Germany, Captain Nathaniel Drinkwater succeeds Lord Dungarth as head of the Royal Navy's Secret Department. Before long he is caught up in a vast intrigue which leads him into the most desperate mission of his career among the forbidding fjords of Norway. In a compelling narrative the author links the fate of one of Napoleon's most charismatic mashals with American privateers, escaped prisoners, the Danish navy and a violent confrontation set beneath the aurora.

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