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Midshipman Bolitho by Alexander Kent

Midshipman Bolitho

by Alexander Kent

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This omnibus contains three novels that chronicle the early stages of Richard Bolitho's career.

Richard Bolitho, Midshipman begins in Portsmouth as Richard joins the warship Gorgon and befriends another midshipman named Martyn Dancer. Richard, at 16, is already an experienced seaman and has a strong seagoing history in his family, so this book establishes his personality and gives him some early heroics.

Midshipman Bolitho and the Avenger takes place in Falmouth, Bolitho's hometown, in the lead-up to the Christmas season. The crew of the Gorgon has been given shore leave while the vessel undergoes refitting in Plymouth, so Bolitho and Dancer visit the Bolitho homestead. And of course they end up in an adventure of sorts with the ship Avenger, commanded by Richard's brother, Hugh.

Band of Brothers sees Bolitho, Dancer and some of the crew on the Gorgon being tasked with sailing the newly built Hotspur to Guernsey, where it will be patrolling the English Channel. Adventures ensue, and the two midshipmen also take their exams in hopes of eventually being promoted to King's officer.

Overall, these were comfortable, undemanding reads. I particularly enjoyed the time period (just before the Revolutionary War) and the setting (southwest England, at least in parts). I was less fond of the third book in the omnibus, finding it a bit disorienting, and in all of the books I never really got over the feeling that the characters were fictional. For some reason the names just sounded unreal, especially Martyn Dancer, which sounds like a book name and not a real person name. And in the first book I found there were too many instances of "Bolitho saw that this person was feeling…" or "Bolitho knew by looking at the sails that a storm was coming" instead of informing the reader of the person's mood or the weather another way. But I zipped through the whole omnibus in just a few days, so I'll keep the series on my list for whenever I'm in need of a brain vacation. ( )
  rabbitprincess | Nov 29, 2015 |
This was ok, a necessary beginning novel. ( )
  Neilsantos | Oct 8, 2010 |
While not as finely detailed as Mr. Stockwin’s “Kidd” or as trenchant as Mr. Forester’s “Hornblower, “Midshipman Bolitho” by Alexander Kent -a pseudonym for Douglas Reeman- has its own nautical panache and endeared itself to me rather quickly. “Midshipman Bolitho” is considered the first novel in the Bolitho series by Mr. Kent and there is an awkwardness there that comes out at times. Nevertheless, it is full of rip-roaring action and nautical adventure that will keep naval and history buffs entranced and entertained. A real gem was the afterward which included a short piece from Mr. Kent’s Bolitho newsletter detailing the lives, times and realistic hardships his characters are living through. I picked up this first book in the series on a whim and I hope to have many similar whims in the future. ( )
  BruderBane | Jul 18, 2008 |
A popular book series set in the Napoleonic era British navy, but I don't like these as well as the Hornblower or O'Brian books. ( )
  stpnwlf | Jul 17, 2007 |
Actually two short novels about Bolitho as a young Midshipman. In the first story, Bolitho is 16 years old and serving on his second ship. He makes a friend and an enemy and battles pirates and slavers. In the second story he returns home with his friend Dancer for the holidays but finds murder, smugglers and wreckers. We also meet his older brother Hugh who will later in the series disgrace the family. An enjoyable read for naval fiction fans. ( )
  wmorton38 | Apr 10, 2007 |
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Contains Richard Bolitho - Midshipman and Midshipman Bolitho and the 'Avenger'
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0935526412, Paperback)

The year is 1772, and Richard Bolitho is a sixteen-year-old midshipman about to undergo a severe initiation into the game of seamanship. The book follows young Bolitho's adventures as he intercepts and destroys a band of vicious pirates and then is swept away on a dangerous mission through the treacherous stamping ground of smugglers, wreckers, and murderers.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:31 -0400)

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This book contains 'Richard Bolitho - Midshipman' and 'Midshipman Bolitho and the 'Avenger''and Band of brothers.

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