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Storm and Conquest: The Clash of Empires in the Eastern Seas, 1809by Stephen Taylor
Synopses & Reviews
The Indian Ocean was the final battleground for Nelson's navy and France. At stake was Britain's commercial lifeline to India--and its strategic capacity to wage war in Europe. In one fatal season, the natural order of maritime power since Trafalgar was destroyed. In bringing home Bengali saltpeter for the Peninsular campaign with military and civilian passengers, Britain lost fourteen of her great Indiamen, either sunk or taken by enemy frigates. Many hundreds of lives were lost, and the East India Company was shaken to its foundations. The focus of these disasters, military and meteorological, was a tiny French outpost in mid-ocean--the island known as Mauritius. This is the story of that season. It brings together the terrifying ordeal of men, women, and children caught at sea in hurricanes, and those who survived to take up the battle to drive the French from the Eastern seas. Mauritius must be taken at any cost.
Book News Annotation:
Historian Taylor utilizes primarily original research to recount the unlikely and fascinating military and meteorological events between 1808 and 1810 that challenged the supremacy of Britain's navy and merchant fleet. This authoritative and readable history tracks the passage and hardships of Indiamen merchant ships sailing from India to England. It then explores how Britain's navy was battered and almost lost through a combination of bad weather, overconfidence, personalities, and poor communication. Annotation ©2008 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
This is history, not fiction; but the story is pure Patrick O'Brian, with special effects out of .
About the Author
Stephen Taylor's most recent book is Caliban's Shore. He works for The Times of London and lives in Windsor.
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