Dudley Pope,
Ramage's Mutiny
(Martin Secker & Warburg, 1977; McBooks, 2001)

Nicholas Ramage, beloved leader of men, the target of a ship's mutiny?

Or is Ramage, ever the obedient officer of the King's Navy, himself the leader of an uprising against his immediate commander?

The title of this volume of the Dudley Pope series, Ramage's Mutiny, raises a few questions, the answers of which may well surprise you.

The book begins with Ramage still riding high after his many successes off French-held Martinique. His admiral, who should by all rights be doting on his daring and astonishingly profitable junior captain, instead sends him off on what should by all rights be a suicide mission: bring back the Jocasta, a British frigate whose crew mutinied more than a year prior, murdering the captain and officers before sailing into a Spanish port and turning over the ship in exchange for their freedom.

It doesn't seem to matter to the admiralty that the task appears to be a suicide mission. This ship, fully crewed and manned with a detachment of some 300 soldiers, is moored in a harbor protected by a narrow channel and three heavily armed forts. Another British naval captain has already fled from the assignment, deeming it impossible.

Of course, he was no Nicholas Ramage.

The book also includes action ranging from a court martial to a sudden, violent storm off the coast of the Spanish Main. It can be tense, given the nature of the mission, but one never doubts that Captain Ramage will pull through.

book review by
Tom Knapp

24 May 2014

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