The Winds of Folly
In 1796, British captain Nathan Peake is ordered to proceed to the Adriatic Sea aboard the Unicorn. He is to determine if France, under Napoleon, has designs on the Seven Islands (the Ionian Isles) and northern Italy. On his trip to Venice, he must master the Sirocco, better known as the “winds of folly.” He arrives at the Italian city of Venice under the guise of an American in order to hide from French agents. Venice is under the power of Cristoforo Cristolfi, chief agent of the Inquisition, better known as “the Devil.” The introduction of familiar historical characters such as Napoleon and courtesan Emma Hamilton (who will become the mistress of Admiral Nelson) adds realism to this fictional tale.
The best part of this novel is its various plot twists and turns. Much of the activity occurs on dry land (in comparison to other naval stories of this period) while Peake is trying to spy for Admiral Nelson, so if you are looking for naval action, you may be disappointed. After he discovers Napoleon’s plans, Nathan escapes Italy and rejoins the British fleet. At the end, a major sea battle is finally enjoined between the Spanish fleet and the British at Cape St. Vincent. These sequences are vividly described.
If you enjoy British naval tales you may like this novel’s action and suspense and become immersed in the story. Highly recommended.