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Hazard in Circassia by V. A. Stuart
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Hazard in Circassia (1973)

by V. A. Stuart

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If the devil is in the details, V A Stuart was a devilish writer. Solid and documented research make this much more than another Age of Fighting Sail sea story. Hazard is land bound again, wounded again, meets and leaves another exotic beauty. This completes my reading of the Hazard series and I have enjoyed them and passed them on to another AoFS aficionado. ( )
  jamespurcell | Sep 18, 2014 |
The fifth in eight volume Philip Hazzard series. Hazzard is sent to Circassia to enlsit the Guerrilla Leader, Serfir Pasha to more directly assist the Allies in their war against the Russians. Serfir Pasha's campaigns have been limited to raiding Cossack protected supply trains.

The following paragraphs are common to all 8 reviews I have posted for this series.

The novel is presented as Naval in nature; and the series as a successor to Hornblower. The action however, is mostly restricted to land operations, using the Naval volunteer brigade as the mechanism to relocate Hazzard to the centre of action. Navies of the world were at this point in history in transition from sail to steam. Remnants from the age of sail mixed with steam paddle and steam screw ships. It would have been interesting to gain some insight on this transition, but I was disappointed at the perfunctory (almost non-existent) nature of any such exposition.

Typical of the novels in this genre, the story contains an estranged romance and a villainous superior. The romance intrudes less on the narrative flow than does the villain. Indeed, the romance provides leverage for the story line's progress, whereas the villain intrudes unnecessarily.

The strength of the novel is in the meticulous historical detail presented: the editions I have read go so far as to present a detailed bibliography of the books consulted, coupled with historical notes. Copies of campaigns maps are also included as an appendix. I suppose it is not surprising that this should be so given that V A Stuart was something of a Historian, and supposedly an acknowledged expert of this period in British History.

What did surprise me was that under other pseudonyms, Stuart was the author of many romance novels, and was one of the founders of the Romance Novelist Association. Stuart's expertise in Military matters should not to be under-estimated. Her service in WWII (Burma, India and Australia) has provided a sound foundation for her work as a "military" , if not a particularly "naval" novelist. ( )
  cogitno | Jun 18, 2009 |
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To break the stalemate in the Crimea, the British must search for unlikely help among the self-reliant mountain people of Circassia. Commander Phillip Hazard of HMS Huntress is dispatched with a select handful of his crew to seek out the guerrilla leader Serfir Pasha and win him over as an ally.… (more)

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