A Hard, Cruel Shore: An Alan Lewrie Naval Adventure

Written by Dewey Lambdin
Review by Ray Thompson

The 22nd installment of Lewrie’s adventures unfolds in 1809, after the disaster at Corunna. The future Duke of Wellington is reversing British fortunes in the Iberian Peninsula, and Lewrie is given command of a small squadron to disrupt enemy supply shipping off the treacherous north coast of Spain. The weather is bad, the bureaucrats difficult, and the French increasingly wary but, with his usual mixture of shrewdness, initiative, and luck, our hero triumphs over adversity, culminating in the defeat and capture of a squadron of four French frigates.

The picture of life in the Age of Fighting Sail is full of detail which, though convincing, does slow down the pace. Lewrie handles his crew and squadron with skill, but his domestic relationships remain troubled. Now older and a widower, he is comfortable with seamen, but disconcerted to encounter women who use their talents to earn a living and achieve independence, especially those in whom he has a romantic interest. Dare one hope for a growth in maturity? The learning curve will be steep.  Recommended.