Signal - Close Action!
By Alexander Kent
ISIS Large Print, (2004)
Genre: Adventure, Historical Fiction
Reviewed by Sheldon Ztvordokov - March 16, 2005
From mighty sea battles to encounters with pirates and lovely damsels, Richard Bolitho has done it all. Signal - Close Action! is the thirteenth book, chronologically speaking, in Alexander Kent's riveting series of military sea adventures that feature the indomitable Richard Bolitho. This adventure finds Bolitho serving as a Commodore of a new squadron. This story is set in 1798, a time in which Napoleon, as Commander of the Army of the Orient, begins stretching French interests Eastward. One of his goals is the conquest of Egypt. 1798 also finds the English in a more or less constant state of war with France. The English want to contain the French and to thwart their territorial ambitions, but their fleet and military is stretched almost to the breaking point. It is within this framework that Bolitho and his squadron are tasked with the unenviable task of appraising France's military readiness.
Once he ascertains the French fighting ability, Bolitho has been ordered to engage the enemy in combat, if necessary - and it will be. Bolitho eventually finds himself in a situation where he must place his squadron between the French fleet and their intended target - Egypt. This may seem a foolhardy endeavor for he is in command of a rather small squadron, one that consists of only three 74-gun ships, a thirty-two-gun frigate, and a sloop of war. Bolitho must use all his cunning and skill to succeed at his reconnaissance mission if he is to survive the battle that awaits. Part of Bolitho's cunning consists of his ability to wade through the British bureaucracy and convince the Admiralty that strapped or not, the British had best try to stop Napoleon before it is too late. This story ends with the Battle of the Nile, a historical event that Kent aptly brings to life within the pages of this book.
This high energy, fast paced story is the type of naval adventure story I like - lots of action and battle scenes. Alexander Kent is the pen name of Douglas Edward Reeman. Reeman served in the British navy during World War II and has seen sea battles close up. He brings his historical knowledge of the Age of Sail and his own military experiences to the table when he writes about these sea battles. His descriptions are so vivid and forceful that you can almost smell the gun powder and the blood.
Signal - Close Action! is an excellent adventure story that will enthrall anyone interested in eighteenth century sailing ships, British or French naval history, nautical lore, or simply in a rousing tale of adventure.
Signal - Close Action! can be purchased directly from Ulverscroft, the parent company of ISIS Large Print.
The Life and Times of Horatio Hornblower, by C. Northcote Parkinson
This fictional biography of the great Royal Navy hero, Horatio Hornblower, will have you asking yourself, "Was Hornblower really just a work of fiction, or did he really exist?" (Large Print)
Form Line of Battle!, by Alexander Kent.
The tenth installment in the Richard Bolitho series finds the able Captain in command of the Hyperion. Stationed off the coast of Gibraltar, the gallant men of the Hyperion must do battle against the French in this thrilling adventure story set in 1793. (Large Print)