eccles1For the most part, I don't enjoy reading about mutinies. I find very little appeal in heartbreaking situations where everyone is right and everyone loses. In The Mutiny Run (1994), Frank Eccles does a fine job of building naval adventure around the fleet mutinies of 1797 without unduly involving the reader in the mutinies themselves. HMS Adamant (54), with Midshipman John Lawson aboard, is dispatched from Liverpool to blockade singlehandedly the French invasion fleet in Brest while the channel fleet is tied up with the Spithead mutiny.

Lawson acquits himself well in action. After the fleet returns, Lawson finds himself in the North Sea whence he returns to the mouth of the Thames in time to witness the crumbling of the Nore Mutiny and the demise of Richard Parker, a former shipmate. Much of the background drama revolves our Adamant's Captain Brewster, a sympathetic old shellback whom the crew adores, but who comes into conflict with some of his officers. They, you may not be surprised to read, are cowardly and supercilious aristos with a great deal of influence in the Navy and the Admiralty. Eccles spins an engaging yarn with plenty of well-written action. He clearly has a great deal of sympathy for his characters and does a fine job of presenting both officers and crew as human beings with feelings and foibles. Lawson, for instance, has several occasions to chide himself for poor seamanship as he narrowly avoids disaster in small craft. Eccles' other work of historic naval fiction, The Barbary Run, was published considerably earlier (1971), but takes place later, featuring Captain Lawson. I will read it as soon as I can get my hands on it.

 

Description of: The Mutiny Run

Author: Frank Eccles

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