Hostile Shores: An Alan Lewrie Naval Adventure

Written by Dewey Lambdin
Review by Justin M. Lindsay

Captain Alan Lewrie leaves his post in the Bahamas for London with word of the victory at Trafalgar and the death of Admiral Nelson on the lips of every Englishman. He soon receives new orders that take him to Cape Town, South Africa, to take the city from the Dutch. Still more twists in the Admiralty and Parliament then send him to South America, where he must take on the Spanish. Through it all, he struggles to keep his crew with him and to juggle the women in his life.

Lambdin is thoroughly enamored with his hero, Captain Lewrie. If you need proof, then note that this is the 19th installment of the series. I didn’t like the man at all. There is little to recommend him. The promotional literature describes him as a captain who would make Captain Aubrey blush. I agree. He’s a womanizer, he’s petty, and he’s prone to long reminiscences of his previous adventures.

True, he’s brave and audacious. But those traits rarely bear fruit. There is little in the way of adventure in this novel. Though Lewrie does find himself involved in an infantry assault in South Africa, the reader is only on hand for one naval engagement, and that is at the tail end of the story. The bulk of the novel is dedicated to Lewrie talking of old feats with his comrades, enjoying his liquor, and chasing women. There is also little in the way of story or plot. Rather, it is a tour that zig-zags across the Atlantic prompted by events abroad, a tour of the happenings of 1805-1806, and little more. I might feel different if I had read the previous eighteen novels. He does seem to have a decent fan base, so perhaps his earlier work was more compelling.