AOS Book Reviews


This section contains reviews of AOS books by David Hayes and members of the forum (Modern Era Reviews)

Remember the RaisinIn his new book Remember the Raisin, the first of a new trilogy about the War of 1812, Michael Aye explores the fighting in the North West. The book is mainly land based however it includes a good description of Commodore Perry's defeat of the British on the Great Lakes.

Aye developed an interesting principal character, Jonah Lee, who as the 'President's man' is tasked with ensuring the army under General William Harrison takes the fight to the British. He is present at all the major actions of the campaign. As a naval literature fan I have read a few books about the Great Lakes campaign, however Remember the Raisin puts it within the wider conflict which made it an interesting and informative read.

The book appeared to be well researched and the plot flowed well as it linked the various battles together. As you would expect from the author of a naval fiction series the Lakes action was well written and I look forward to reading more of the wider conflict from the perspective of Jonah Lee. Recommended.

A Love of AdventureJoan Druett is an award winning author, and you only have to read A Love of Adventure to know why. I could hardly put it down and I think I'm right in saying this was her first novel when it was originally published as Abigail.

It is the story of a young lady, born and raised at sea in the Pacific, who is eventually sent to relatives in New Bedford and must then find a way of getting back to New Zealand to claim her inheritance. The book displays a wealth of knowledge about whaling and life at sea in the period as well as being someting of a murder mystery novel. It has extremely well written plot lines which weave various aspects together well in an unpredictable manner. There are a lot of characters and all of them came accross as well rounded and believable and they interacted with each other well.

I can only say this is highly recommended reading.

Bloody RainTo set the stage and develop the plot of a gripping murder mystery within the confines of a short story takes a master storyteller, and that's what you have in Rick Spilman. In his short story Bloody Rain: Murder, Madness & the Monsoon he does all that as well as bringing to life a merchant ship in the days of sail.

The action mainly takes place in the Hooghly River of the city then known as Calcutta, India, and the sub title 'Murder, Madness & the Monsoon' sums up this short story nicely. Spilman's love and knowledge of the sea and the sailing ships of the era shine through this fast paced read which was hard to put down.

If you want a 'quick fix' of nautical fiction this one is a must. Highly recommended.

Turn a Blind EyeAlaric Bond's new novel, Turn A Blind Eye, moves away from his 'Fighting Sail' series and the Royal Navy to the world of smuggling on the South Coast of England. It follows Commander Griffin and the crew of the Revenue cutter Bee as they battle to rid Newhaven of an entrenched gang of snugglers who hold sway over the town.

Bond is a master storyteller and he weaves a well written plot that explores the divided loyalties of the townsfolk who support small scale smuggling but are fearful of the gangs strength. The narrative vividly recounts life in a small fishing town where the Revenue men seek to combat a practice that is draining the country of money to fight the war against France and even sometimes supplying the enemy, whilst their fast agile cutter is often outgunned by the smugglers.

As usual Bond's research shines through as he subtly educates us about smuggling in a fast paced hard to put down book. Highly Recommended.

Admiralty OrdersIn this the third book of Under Admiralty Orders - The Oliver Quintrell Series M. C. Muir continues to develop old and new interesting characters who do not follow the norm of most naval fiction adventures.

Gibraltar has a walk on part in many naval fiction novels, however in Admiralty Orders it comes centre stage as Quintrell and his crew are sent to join the defences as war with Spain looms. While plague depletes the garrison and population of 'The Rock' during 1804 and the resultant quarantine cuts off help from the Mediterranean fleet Quintrell must offer what assistance he can to defend the colony.

As you might expect, this novel is mainly land based but it is good to read about the realities of life in this tiny outpost of vital importance to the Royal Navy. The true events of 1804 are woven into a well writter and believable plot. I continue to enjoy reading Quintrell's adventures and look forward to the next in the series Coins for the Colony. Recommended.

Gun BayGun Bay opens with an excellent narrative based around the arrival of a major hurricane on Grand Cayman Island which brings to life the effect of such storms on the population. The rest of the book follows Edward Ballantyne and some fellow officers through day to day naval events in the Carribbean until a convoy and it's escort find themselves ashore on the reef off the East End of Grand Cayman. It then follows the survivors and the inevitable court martial that follows.

White is a good storyteller and his characterisations really brought to life the everyday activities of naval officers of the period whilst in port so that you have empathy with them. The point of the book is of course to relate and bring to a wider audience the true events surrounding the stranding of HMS Convert and nine of the vessels she was escorting which is fully achieved. The stranding of so many ships so soon after the small island was devastated by a hurricane has meant the story has passed down through the generations and stil forms part of local folk lore on the island but as far as I am aware it has not previously featured in naval fiction novel.

This book is worth reading just for the detailed account of true events that are not widely known but it is also a well written book in the naval fiction genre which I recommend.

© 2008-2016 David Hayes (Astrodene)