The Barbary RunIt is 1816 and much of the Royal Navy is laid up in ordinary, its officers on half pay. Captain John Lawson, however, commands the frigate HMS Comus (44). In The Barbary Run (1971), he hunts the notorious pirate, Yussaif Ahmed. There is more to Ahmed than Lawson bargains for, and he finds himself tangled in politics as he battles an extremely formidable foe.

The Barbary Run predates Frank Eccles' second novel by some 23 years (even though the later book takes place in 1797) and we see a first pass at creating the fully developed characters that made The Mutiny Run such an excellent novel. In fact, some characters succeed more than others. Still, Lawson's persona is well done -- he is a blunt-to-the-point-of-rudeness Yorkshireman who doesn't tolerate backtalk and has no time for social niceties and fripperies. For all that, he is a consummate seaman and fighting captain, who never misses a chance to help a junior officer or midshipman learn his trade. There is plenty of well-imagined action. Eccles provides interesting challenges for Lawson and rings new changes on the usual gunnery battles / boarding actions / cutting out expeditions that are commonplaces in Historic Naval Fiction. All in all, mighty good entertainment. The reader is left wishing that there were more than just the two John Lawson novels.

 

Description of: The Barbary Run

Author: Frank Eccles

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