The Pursuit

Written by Peter Smalley
Review by Vivien Cringle

Set in the spring of 1792, the title captures the main thrust of the 36-gun frigate HMS Expedient’s crew mission in this, the sixth book in Phillip Smalley’s successful series. Yet another secret mission brings together Captain Rennie, restored to active service after a yearlong gap ‘on the beach’, and his friend Lieutenant Hayter. The latter is emotionally down with his marriage in a state of collapse and intentions set on a career outside the Navy. Both men need the demands of active duty yet they are sent on a mission unlike anything they and Expedient’s crew have undertaken before. The ship they are tasked to shadow contains somebody or something that will change the nature of future warfare. Tasked by their spymasters to follow a ship along the Norwegian coast, Expedient is badly damaged but her necessary repairs cannot be done lest the ship they are shadowing is lost; their course is to pursue the ship into a stormy Atlantic. As the pursuit progresses, there are naval battles, mutinous crew members, disease and dissention between Rennie and Hayter. An intricate and clever storyline with twists and turns in every chapter as the devious plan unfolds. Enormous fun and a most enjoyable summer read.