As The Fox and the Flag, the third book in Dan Parkinson’s Patrick Dalton series, opens, Dalton still walks the won’t-support-the-rebellion-because-I’m-a-loyal-British-officer-even-though-I’ve-been-unjustly-accused-of-treason-and-am-hunted-by-the-Royal-Navy tightrope. He clarifies his scruples a bit by saying that it is a matter of honor (read pride) for him and that he owes allegiance to the flag, not King George. Flags, in fact, are an ongoing leitmotif in this novel and several of the most important moments (as well as some of the funniest) hinge on flags.
Dalton can’t offer himself to the beautiful and adoring Constance Ramsey until he “settles his debts, clears his name, and chooses his flag” and, before the end of the book, he has made considerable progress toward an acceptable resolution.
Along the way, the reader is treated to cracking adventure, charming humor and Parkinson’s well-drawn characters. We continue to enjoy not only Dalton’s wonderful crew, but Commander Croney, the Javert-like officer who hunts Dalton, as well as Senior Captain Selkirk, Dalton’s high-minded former mentor in the Royal Navy. I like nothing better than fine wordplay and much of the humor is based in language. Dalton tells Charlie Duncan that the duties of a first officer include securing the cargo, so, at their very first port of call, Duncan goes ashore and secures a cargo. I don’t want to spoil the book, so I’ll just say that the Fury’s cargo will bring smiles to the reader for the entire book. Parkinson doesn’t telegraph his jokes; (like Patrick O’Brian’s) they kind of sneak up you. You’ll be reading along and all of sudden you’ll realize, “Hey. That was funny.”
For all the wonderful things that make this a rich and interesting book, The Fox and the Fury is first and foremost a naval adventure. You will not want to put it down as you turn page after page of unparalleled seamanship, gripping action, brilliant tactics and inspired strategy. Parkinson supplies a sketchy back story, enough to enjoy this book on its own, but it is clear that he expects the reader to have read the first two of the series. You will enjoy TFATFlag more if you read the books in order.
Description of: The Fox and the Flag
Author: Dan Parkinson