Sails on the Horizon
Worrall’s novel of a young Royal Navy officer, the brave and resourceful Charles Edgemont, covers waters already familiar to devotees of adventures from the Age of Fighting Sail. Edgemont’s story begins with his life as a junior officer in the Napoleonic Wars. His rise to independent command would make Lord Nelson envious. He faces the hazards of command with the square-jawed determination one has grown to expect of the Royal Navy, but his character is fleshed out with periods of self-doubt. He naturally emerges triumphant over his momentary lack of resolve and conquers both French and Spanish opponents in the formulaic manner first introduced in fiction by C. S. Forester.
While the description of life on board a warship is first rate, the story itself is relatively sterile and disappointing. Is the genre of Napoleonic sea fights done to death? I would say no. It simply needs character development and plots that can stand up to comparisons with those of Aubrey, Lewrie, and Hornblower. Fighting the French and Spanish may seem easier in comparison.