Any Approaching Enemy
After an American spy tells him of a French fleet amassing in the Mediterranean, Charles Edgemont, captain of His Majesty’s frigate Louisa, sails to investigate. It’s 1798, and England has been at war with revolutionary France for five years. Edgemont is ordered to join his admiral, Horatio Nelson, in their search for the French, but can’t locate either. He sails to Naples hoping Nelson is there, but instead he’s shocked to find his wife waiting for him. Penny, a devout Quaker, joins him on board Louisa. They enjoy a sweet reunion, but Edgemont hates to have his pacifist wife witness his encounter with an enemy vessel. With information gathered from other ships, Edgemont sails Louisa to the Egyptian coast and discovers that French vessels have landed a large army under the command of General Bonaparte near the town of Acre. He at last finds Nelson and informs him of this activity, which threatens England’s interests in India. Edgemont, with Nelson following, embarks on a dangerous attack on the French fleet in Aboukir Bay.
Worrall’s novel throws readers right into a sea storm, but I wish he’d delved into his major characters beforehand, especially for those who haven’t read the first book. Readers will wade through numerous minor characters in the first few pages. The author seems enamored with his nautical knowledge, and it is impressive. Two unbelievable coincidences weaken the novel’s impact, but fans of nautical fiction will love the shipboard action.