Chronologically wise the very first Richard Bolitho story, written by Alexander Kent as far back as 1968.
Though with later additions this has moved to `spot 7` in the booklist, this is the tale of Richard`s beginning career as a captain.
His first command is the frigate Phalarope, whose previous captain had a mutiny on it`s hands, and the reputation of the ship is still tainted as they set sail to the West Indies. The fact that the admirality doesn`t really trust the crew of the ship, they get a routine patrol far away from the action, but stumble first upon a ship commanded by Bolitho`s older brother Hugh, who has deserted the Royal Navy and joined the american cause.
They foil a french plan, but Bolitho is taken capture on his brother's vessel and barely manages to escape in a daring plan to sink his borther`s vessel in harbour. This regains the honour of crew and vessel as they start to look up to the captain, and even while another mutiny is prevented, they stand fast and join the Battle of the Saintes, forcing a peace treaty upon the French.
It`s a good novel, and while back then we didn`t know it of course, it introduces us to a lot of Bolitho`s confidants like Thomas Herrick, his clerk Ferguson and his coxswain Allday. Written in a capturing style, I have always been a fan of the series and while I ain`t reading them in a chronological sequence, they are always a nice break from reality to drift back to an age of gallantry and sail...
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