The Gathering Storm
Set in 1791 at the height of British naval supremacy, this is a roller coaster of a nautical yarn liberally peppered with naval terminology and 18th-century English. For the uninitiated, confronted with a bewildering medley, this could be perplexing.
The secret mission offers Captain James Hayter an opportunity to revive a naval career brought short by personal tragedy and requires him to work with the British Secret Service Fund in France during the French Revolution. The story includes many of the characters described in earlier books in this series; their interrelationships are further developed in this story. It is especially poignant between Hayter and his former Captain Rennie, the latter torn between his friendship and regard for Hayter and as his naval peer. The mission tests their regard for each other, professionalism as naval officers and the secrecy and urgency of their duty to the limit, especially in the closing stages of a rescue of eminent people from the revolutionary forces.
An author comfortable with his characters and storyline tautly and graphically portrays various sea battles and encounters with the French. However, the story of Captain Hayter’s career transition from potential Master and Commander of the sloop HMS Eglatine to agent is engrossing rather than gripping. When the few action encounters are described in vivid detail, the reader is totally absorbed. Unfortunately these are all too few.