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In Gallant Company
By Alexander Kent

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In Gallant Company
By Alexander Kent
ISIS Large Print, (2004)
ISBN: 0-7531-7185-6
Genre: Adventure, Historical Fiction

Reviewed by Sheldon Ztvordokov - February 24, 2005

Richard Bolitho is a stalwart officer in the British Royal Navy. Set in 1777, In Gallant Company, by Alexander Kent follows the adventures of Lieutenant Bolitho on the Trojan, an eighty-gun sailing vessel that has been sent to the American Colonies to help quash the colonialist 'revolutionary' uprising. The Trojan must battle against a young, but skilled American fleet that is aided by a host of French privateers. They are stationed off the coast of New York, and their main task is to help maintain the coastal blockade that has been established to try to starve the Americans of military supplies and other goods.

Throughout the course of this rousing novel, the Trojan takes part in an attack on a North Carolina fort, sails the Caribbean, and does escort duty. At one point, Bolitho also gets to command his own ship - a captured American ship. Commanding this ship, he engages in a battle, during which this first taste of ultimate leadership forces him to take stock of his own worth and desires.

This fast-paced story gives the reader an intimate glimpse into life on these grand old battle ships, and into the British viewpoint of the American Revolution. Best of all, In Gallant Company is a well-plotted adventure story with gripping battle scenes, a heroic protagonist, and a character-driven story. In addition, this story seems to be historically accurate.

Kent, whose real name is Douglas Edward Reeman, has written more than 35 novels. More than twenty of these novels focus on the adventures of Richard Bolitho. A former member of the Royal Navy, Kent brings more than just historical accuracy to his stories, he also brings an authoritative view of naval life. His service during World War II gave him first hand experience of military warfare. All of the Bolitho novels that I've read have been outstanding examples of historical fiction, and all are great adventure stories that bring the lure of the sea and the great sailing ships to life.

According to Reeman / Kent's offical website, In Gallant Company was the tenth Bolitho novel to be published. However, according to Kent's website, if you put all the Bolitho novels in chronological order, this is the fourth book in the series. By some other counts, this is the third book in the series. Therefore, I recommend that you read these books in chonological order, following Kent's lists. The books can, however, be read out of sequences as each is an independent story. However, once you read one, you will not be able to stop until you read them all - they're that good!

Click here for a numbered list of all the books in the Richard Bolitho series.

In Gallant Company can be purchased directly from Ulverscroft, the parent company of ISIS Large Print.

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