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Tuesday, 14 October 2014

James Nelson -The Maddest Idea

review written and read live on the bookshow by Brian Lowen on 2nd Oct 2014

This is the second book in a series of five entitled Revolution at Sea which are all set in the days of the American War of Independence.

I have read several other books by James Nelson which are all set in the glorious days of fighting sail and all have been rollicking good stories.

It is the late summer of 1775 when General George Washington discovers that his supply of gunpowder has dwindled to only a few remaining barrels. A desperate plan is hatched to send Captain Isaac Biddlecomb in the small man-of-war brig to Bermuda, where it is known that the British have a lightly guarded store of gunpowder.

But it is a trap, set by a traitor among the American patriots, and Biddlecomb is captured.
It is interesting to note here that not all Americans wished for independence but some wanted things to remain as they were with the British in control. The problem was that the British ruled with such a heavy hand that many Americans yearned for freedom from what they considered was the oppressive rule of the British government.

General Washington sends his aide-de-camp, Major Edward Fitzgerald, to hunt down the traitor who has led to the capture of Biddlecomb. Meanwhile will Biddlecomb be able to escape from the clutches of the British Navy?

The love interest in the story is provided by Virginia Stanton, daughter of the owner of Biddlecomb’s ship and Isaac and Fitzgerald compete for her love.

This is an enthralling story for anyone who enjoys good sea stories and can understand a bit about sailing ships. It is nicely balanced between the Americans and the British and you find your loyalties switching from side to side as the story progresses. Maps are provided to assist with your understanding of where the actions are taking place in Bermuda and in Rhode island and Boston in America but they are maps drawn at the time and difficult to read – simple line drawings would have been easier to follow. Also of course, maps are pretty impossible to read on a kindle.

That is my only criticism of the book and I look forward to reading the third book in the series. They do all follow on with the characters, so it would be best to start with the first book, but not essential.

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