Tuesday, 23 May 2000

Alexander Kent: Sloop of War (1972)

Edition: Hutchinson & Co, 1972
Review number: 509

This early Richard Bolitho novel covers his actions during the American War of Independence, which coincides with his first independent command. In this tale of general military incompetence by the army command, Bolitho of course shows his own brilliance. This is frequently at the expense of his superiors, as is commonplace in this type of novel, and in this case he shows such obvious superiority that a higher ranking officer perjures himself at his own court martial in an attempt to destroy Bolitho's career.

Kent's Bolitho novels are fun to read, but he contents himself with always fitting into the stereotypes created by C.S. Forester. Hornblower was such a strong character that Forester's successors are hard put to write anything original that will appeal to his fans and yet be different enough to establish their own voices.

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