Synopses & Reviews
Blending a seasoned mariner's expertise, a historian's attention to period detail, and a natural storyteller's gift for creating a cast of vivid characters, James L. Nelson brings to dazzling life a never-before-seen side of America's war for independence. Here is the conflict from the seaman's view, full of the sights, sounds, and sensations of the ocean - and of the thunder of cannons as the new world's freedom fighters vie for liberty. Well before Revere rode, seagoing American merchants were striking the first blows for independence. Drawn by the passion of the almighty dollar, none struck more deftly that Isaac Biddlecomb, captain of the Judea, whose smuggling activities made a mockery of His Majesty's Royal Navy. Pursued by the H.M.S. Rose, he sacrificed the ship he loved to the depths, and the fortune he stood to gain, rather than surrender - a bold affront that marked him for pursuit by the enraged forces of King George. Disguised as a merchant seaman, Biddlecomb is reunited with Ezra Rumstick, a comrade and fierce rebel advocate, in the very thick of the brewing revolution. On a brig bound for Jamaica, now serving as a lowly mate, fate tests his mettle when the captured Biddlecomb faces a life of hellish servitude under the mad captain and sadistic crew of the H.M.S. Icarus...
"The author is an experienced sailor who has served as third officer on H.M.S. Rose, a modern replica of a British frigate of the period of the American Revolution. His first-hand knowledge of what sailors on merchant and naval vessels of that period endured and enjoyed is apparent in this, the first novel of a trilogy, Revolution at Sea,centered on the American Revolution. This is a novel of action and adventure which does not have the character development that distinguishes the nautical novels of C.S. Forster and Patrick O'Brian. It should be enjoyed as a bit of lively escapism that presents a vivid picture of the ordinary seaman's life and work in the late 18th century." Reviewed by Daniel Weiss, Virginia Quarterly Review (Copyright 2006 Virginia Quarterly Review)