Tainted Prize is the second in the Under Admiralty Orders series about Oliver Quintrell, a naval captain serving at the beginning of the Napoleonic Wars in 1803 (first in the series is Floating Gold about a mission that takes Quintrell down to the islands near the Antarctic). As hostilities against the French loom, Quintrell is without a ship but hoping for a chance to see action. He gets his ship but the Admiralty send him on another clandestine mission, to South America in search of another naval vessel that that has failed to return. What follows is a lively adventure as Quintrell and his crew on the frigate Perpetual search sail towards Peru in search for the missing ship
As a fan of naval fiction set at the time of the Napoleonic wars, I’m always keen to read new series and I enjoyed Tainted Prize. The author writes knowledgeably about what life must have been like in the navy at that time, both for the officers and their men. The horrors of sea battles and naval discipline are not glossed over nor the difficulties of navigating with inaccurate sailing charts as when Captain Quintrell takes his ship through the Magellan Strait.
Ideally, it would be best to read the first book in the series in order to become familiar with the back-stories of the characters, but this is a separate story so can be read as a stand-alone. I hope there’s another adventure and that, if so, we get to know more about his second in command Simon Parry and about Captain Quintrell’s wife (who seems a potentially more interesting character than Susanna, the lover who waits patiently for him to call in at Madeira).
The book is well presented and laid out with an attractive cover.