The Fox and the Faith (Pinnacle Books, 1989) is a rousing adventure that should please any reader of historic naval fiction. This is the first of a four-book series that features Patrick Dalton. It is 1777 and the American revolution is starting to shape up as serious bid for independence. A lieutenant in the Royal Navy unjustly accused of treason, Dalton escapes New York in the schooner Faith, the personal prize of Captain Hart of the frigate Courtesan.
Dalton has already publicly called Hart a coward (with complete justification, of course) and Hart is maddened with a desire for revenge. Dalton is the hunted fox and the action of the book moves inexorably toward a resolution. There is plenty of seamanship and hot action, as well as a charming love story, along the way. All of the ship handling passages are aboard the Faith, and Parkinson seems to be a thorough master of fore and aft rigged craft. Nevertheless, Parkinson was a writer of action adventure and not a naval specialist and a few gaffes appear, especially concerning the frigate. Early in the book, he describes the frigate as having two gun decks. What makes a frigate a frigate is that it's a single decker (even if it mounts a few guns on the quarterdeck and forecastle). Moreover, it is a 44 gun frigate. Frigates of that size (super-frigates) did not appear for another 20 years, and then in the American navy, not the British. Finally, at one point, he called the Courtesan an first-rate ship of the line! These quibbles do not mar the enjoyment of the book. It's a corker -- go read it.
Description of: The Fox and the Faith
Author: Dan Parkinson