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This is book two of the John Pearce historical novel series. In this book John Pearce and comrades, the so called Pelicans, find themselves aboard the HMS Griffin, a slow, overcrowded ship. The ship is tasked to stop the French privateers that are raiding the English merchant ship in the Channel. The time frame is 1793, and in the prior book John was trying to save his father from the guillotine in Paris when he was caught by a Press gang in a London pub called the Pelican. The men that were captured with him stayed together and call themselves the Pelicans. The first two books are different from other naval stories of this period in that the hero is a landlubber that has entered the navy via a press gang and has to learn to be a sailor. The other books have the hero as an officer and are career navy. In this book John is still trying to save his father and is serving on a naval vessel in the English Channel. You will have to read the book to find out if he is successful in saving his father.
The book is well written, with memorable characters and has some great moments of action that is quite gripping. Donachie makes his characters come alive. The author uses less nautical terms than some of the other authors writing in the genre. The story is well paced and engaging. Donachie astutely blends fact with fiction.
David Donachie was born in Edinburgh in 1944. He writes under a number of pseudomonas. He has an interest in naval history of the 18th and 19th century. Currently he lives in Deal Kent with his wife the novelist Sarah Grazebrook and their two children. He wrote the Nelson and Emma Trilogy about Horatio Nelson and Emma Hamilton. I am looking forward to reading book three in the series. Peter Wickham narrated the book.
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