Synopses & Reviews
Stranded in Portsmouth, John Pearce has once again failed to secure the release of those who depended on him-his fellow Pelicans. They have been shipped off to the Mediterranean while he was indulging himself in London. So he must take ship and follow them. His application to William Pitt for a place finds him as 8th lieutenant on HMS Victory, flagship of Admiral Lord Hood. South and ahead of him, his Pelicans are serving under a flogging captain, but all is not lost as each of the gang does what he can to promote himself-O'Hagan fights to establish his place in the below decks hierarch; Taverner carves out a niche where his trickery can work to the gang's advantage; Gherson ends up as secretary to Rear Admiral Ralph Barclay.As the action moves to the main French Mediterranean port of Toulon, the tension between crews and captains intensifies, coming to a brilliant head when the HMS Brilliant is detached from the fleet under the orders of Captain Horatio Nelson, bound for North Africa.
After a number of months, a whirlwind of the press gang, service at sea, wild storms, bitter battles with the enemy and a promotion, John Pearce finally finds himself free to follow his own wishes, rather than being forced to serve any longer in King George's Navy. The same does not apply for the trio of Pearce's closest friends who, with him as their leader, call themselves the Pelicans. Unaware of this, and arriving in Portsmouth, Pearce feels certain he can free his comrades. However, on arrival and seeking to liberate his fellow Pelicans, Pearce is informed that the trio have been shipped out on another vessel, condemned to service because of Pearce's over-indulgence in the arms of a woman. Still haunted by his father's execution at the guillotine, and his guilt at arriving too late in France to save him, Pearce is determined to keep to this vow of liberation. When help is refused from all higher powers and Pearce refuses to surrender, he embarks on an adventure to free his friends with or without aid.
A must for armchair mariners . . . It s superb stuff Manchester Evening News