By Force of Arms

By Force of Arms

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by James L. Nelson
     
 

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The tradition of Patrick O'Brian's epics is carried on gloriously in this first novel of a new historical naval adventure series, set during the time of the War of Independence. Merchant sea captain Isaac Biddlecomb flees the New England coast after engaging a British man-of-war and foiling its bid to seize his illicit cargo. When fate casts him into the hands of a…  See more details below

Overview

The tradition of Patrick O'Brian's epics is carried on gloriously in this first novel of a new historical naval adventure series, set during the time of the War of Independence. Merchant sea captain Isaac Biddlecomb flees the New England coast after engaging a British man-of-war and foiling its bid to seize his illicit cargo. When fate casts him into the hands of a sadistic British captain, Biddlecomb's thirst for liberty is put to the ultimate test.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The American Revolution has been well covered in fiction, but almost entirely as a land war-much as the War of 1812 has been treated virtually only as a naval war. By Force of Arms is the first book of a new series that will address the former shortcoming by following the career of Isaac Biddlecomb, a merchant seaman who has risen from the forecastle to the command of a vessel at the opening of the story. Biddlecomb isn't a natural-born hero at home in a hail of grape in the tradition of Hornblower or Aubrey. He is an ordinary American living in an extraordinary time, and Nelson, who has sailed aboard the modern reconstruction of the Revolutionary-period frigate H.M.S. Rose, makes clever use of this device to explain issues of the war and man-of-war life to the reader in unobtrusive fashion. Nelson's seagoing experience is evident in his clear, convincing description of the sailing. His dialogue, however, lacks the period feel of O'Brian and Forester-several times denizens of both the quarterdeck and the forecastle indicate assent with "Okay," which didn't degrade the vernacular for another century. Biddlecomb's sidekick is Ezra Rumstick, part-time patriot, part-time smuggler, full-time friend, and his nemesis is Captain James Wallace, the thoroughly professional commander of the Rose. The characters are strong and realistic, the plot and action believable and brisk, if none too complex, and readers will care enough about Biddlecomb's welfare to reach for Nelson's second installment. On the whole, an engaging start to what promises to be a fine adventure series in a neglected milieu. (Feb.)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780783885261
Publisher:
Gale Group
Publication date:
04/28/1999
Series:
Sea Series
Edition description:
Large Print
Pages:
469
Product dimensions:
6.48(w) x 9.44(h) x 1.14(d)

What People are saying about this

Nathan Miller
"Spoice is the main brace's to James L. Nelson and By Force of Arms. Failing in the wak of C. S. Forester, Nelson has done an excellent job of combining historical authencity with firm characterization and lively action....This is a fine yarn, deathly probe."
Patrick O'Brian
Authenticity runs throughout the book, carrying total conviction…Nelson writes with the eagerness of a young man sailing his first command.
— (Patrick O'Brian, author of the Aubrey/ Maturin series)

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