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Signal-Close Action! by Alexander Kent
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Signal-Close Action! (original 1974; edition 1975)

by Alexander Kent

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219253,142 (3.74)None
Member:joeldinda
Title:Signal-Close Action!
Authors:Alexander Kent
Info:Berkley Medallion (1975), Mass Market Paperback
Collections:Your library, Joel, eBook, Hornblower
Rating:***1/2
Tags:fiction, nautical, nelson's navy, bolitho, royal navy, nautical fiction, ebook, epub, nook

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Signal-Close Action! by Alexander Kent (1974)

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Not a review, really; just a few comments.

In this book, Richard Bolitho is Commodore commanding a small squadron in the Mediterranean Sea in 1798, tasked with figuring out what the French fleet is up to and making recommendations. The squadron consists of three 74s, a frigate, and a sloop; most are commanded by folks we've encountered in earlier books. Thomas Herrick's the flag captain, George Probyn and Charles Farquhar command the other line-of-battle ships, and Francis Inch has the sloop. All in all the assignment's a frustrating experience; while they know there's an enemy fleet in the Med, they can't pin down its location. (I'm leaving out a lot of detail, here, as the story's largely about personality conflicts between the characters I've just mentioned.)

The alert reader will have recognized this plot is a small-scale version of Horatio Nelson's 1798; indeed, Bolitho's well aware of Nelson's efforts, but circumstances--not to mention the frustration of an apparently-failed search effort--prevent the two from actually meeting. Francis Inch manages to ferry messages between the fleets, to his delight, but they're inconsequential.

Bolitho eventually manages to communicate his belief (not quite knowledge) that the French fleet is at Aboukir Bay, so Nel can chase Admiral Brueys (and Napoleon) down and win the Battle of the Nile. Bolitho's ships have an encounter with the French just before the main battle and are therefor too damaged to actively participate in the victory.

Incidentally, this is the novel where Herrick's wife-to-be, Dulcie, first appears.





This review has also been published on a dabbler's journal.( )
  joeldinda | Nov 9, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0935526676, Paperback)

The year is 1798. Napoleon's naval forces are amassing in the Mediterranean, preparing to annex Egypt, and it is there the newly-promoted Commodore Richard Bolitho is sent with a small squadron of ships under his command.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:24:35 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

1798; Bolitho, a Commodore, is given charge of a small squadron serving as Nelson's vanguard in the Mediterranean. Overcoming treacherous and incompetent captains, Bolitho tracks down and destroys the French siege train at Corfu, allowing Nelson to fight Battle of the Nile without fear of shore batteries.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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