Who is the Author
Sean Russell was born 1952 in Toronto. At the age of three his family moved to the outskirts of the city, where they lived in a cottage at the beach of Lake Ontario. At the age of ten he decided to become an author, and the fantasy genre caught him years later, while reading J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. After university, he moved to Vancouver, and two years later to Vancouver Island, where he still lives with his family. He published his first novel in 1991. His first historical naval novel Under Enemy Colours, published in 2007, introduced a new Royal Navy hero, Charles Hayden, and HMS Themis, a fictitious frigate.
Adventures of Charles Hayden
1. Under Enemy Colors (2007)
2. A Battle Won (2010)
3. A Ship of War (2012)
A Ship of War : Product Description (From Back of Book)
1794, the height of the French Revolution.
Charles Hayden sets off aboard the ill-fated HMS Themis with orders to destroy a French frigate sailing from Le Havre and to gather intelligence from a royalist spy. On discovering French plans for an imminent invasion of England , Hayden must return to Portsmouth to give warning before it’s too late.
But the enemy have been lying in wait for him, and so begins a dangerous chase out into the Atlantic and into the clutches of a powerful French squadron. After a failed attempt to masquerade as French sailors, Hayden and his officers are taken prisoner. A shipwreck following a storm and a case of mistaken identity befall Hayden and his men as they try in desperation to escape in order to warn the Lords of the Admiralty. Failure will mean the invasion of England – and the guillotine for Hayden.
I have to admit I looked for ward to this read, having read Under Enemy Colours and A Battle Won I already knew that Sean Thomas Russell could write, what I was more surprised about (again) was the differing nature of the stories with the story, this truly was a multi layered book. Normally you will have plots and sub plots in a book, and you will have threads that pull together at points in the book like fine stitching, and this book in most respects was the same, and yet different. On the one hand you have the blistering action, the harsh reality of nature on the high seas and the comradeship of those on board ship, and yet on the other you have Henrietta and her family, the family and social dynamic of the period, and the love, betrayal and formality of her relationship with Hayden, at times they feel like different worlds and different stories.
Without giving any plot away I have to say that the scenes written around the ship wreck are among the most harrowing I have read, giving the reader a real sense of the danger, the fear, the heroics, the cold and the power of nature, truly a great section of the book.
I had thought that Julian Stockwin was the Master of this part of the Historical fiction genre, but I’m revisiting that opinion after this book, it seems he has some serious competition.
I very much recommend this book, it not all balls out action, it has heart, soul and passion as well as action, danger and heroics.