Alexander Kent,
Stand into Danger
(Hutchinson, 1980; McBooks, 1998)

Richard Bolitho, a newly minted third lieutenant on the British frigate Destiny, doesn't anticipate much action since, after all, England is currently between wars.

But his captain has orders for a secret mission to recover a lost fortune, and you can rest assured author Alexander Kent will have lead balls flying through the rigging in no time at all.

Bolitho, after a few adventures as a midshipman, comes into his own as an officer in the King's Navy in Stand into Danger. Set in 1774, it exposes the young officer to the highs and lows of navy life in fairly short order. It also furthers the rich development of Bolitho's career as an officer, standing him in good company among the various heroes of British nautical fiction.

Kent weaves a tangled plot as Bolitho's captain, Dumaresq, strives to win the treasure for his country and settle an old score as well. There is intrigue and treachery along with more straightforward naval broadsides and maneuvers, and Kent uses the opportunity to carve out a fine set of supporting characters in Bolitho's world.

And if Bolitho has a bit of romance along the way, who's to blame him? It surely will have longstanding consequences in later books.

I tucked Stand into Danger into my luggage on a recent trip to Maine. After finishing it quickly, I mourned the next few books in the series, which I'd left behind on my nightstand at home. I cannot wait to get back into the story.

book review by
Tom Knapp

7 July 2012

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