Badge of Glory

Written by Douglas Reeman
Review by John R. Vallely

It is a curious fact of historical fiction that while library shelves buckle under the weight of novels on the Royal Navy, only a precious few feature the Royal Marines. Douglas Reeman attempts to fill this peculiar gap by offering the saga of the Blackwoods—a family whose sons journey forth to serve as Britain’s soldiers of the seas. Captain Philip Blackwood serves in steamy Africa as part of Britain’s campaigns against slavers in 1850 and, after distinguished service in the face of great odds, sees further arduous service in the Crimean War. Reeman is a master of naval and military fiction, and the reader will not be disappointed in his flair for making the sea and ground fighting of the mid-19th century seem as authentic as today’s television reporting. Of equal importance is his description of the stress of command on Captain Blackwood and his steady development as an officer and as a sensitive and compassionate man.