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Thursday, February 07, 2013

Review of The King's Coat

Goodreads | Eric_W Welch (Forreston, IL)'s review of The King's Coat:


In The King's Coat first in the series, Lewrie is forcibly introduced to the navy. Nicknamed "the little bastard" by his father, he was the product of an early premarital and pre-war fling of Sir Hugh, his father, adopted, pampered and rather spoiled. Alan, at age eighteen, enjoys the ladies, but even he is surprised when his half-sister, Belinda, propositions him. They are busy having a grand old time in bed, thinking the house is empty, when much to their, or Alan's, consternation, they are surprised by the local priest, Alan's father, the butler, and Sir Hugh's father. Alan springs out of bed wearing only a silk sheath condom — "he was only fairly sure of her latest amours," — she cries rape, and Alan decides it's time to run. Unable to escape their clutches, he is given a choice of joining the navy as a midshipman or facing the local magistrate, where the penalty for rape is the gallows. Not being a fool, Alan chooses the former, where, the reader learns, Sir Hugh hopes he will be killed. There is the matter of an estate that Alan might inherit but of which he knows nothing. With him out of the way, Belinda and Sir Hugh, get the goods. Alan has his suspicions, but no evidence. I like Lambdin, and he may become my favorite after O'Brian. He's much more blatant and shameless than Forester or Kent. After putting to sea in the Ariadne, new hands typically had difficulty getting their sea legs. "Those with touchy stomachs were being dragged to the lee rails to 'cast their accounts' into the Channel, and those who could not wait were being ordered to clean up their spew." Our hero at first appears immune, but before long he begs to die. "He honestly could not have choked anything down that could possibly have scratched on the way back up." The designation of all the lines at first stumps him and he often becomes confused. When asked to "baggy-wrinkle" on old lines, Lewrie thinks to himself, "Shit, new words again. Baggy-wrinkle? Sounds like my scrotum about now." All turns out well, and following numerous close escapes and lucky turns, at first appalled by the conditions of the service, he discovers to his surprise that not only is he good at it, but he likes his new trade as well. Only twelve more volumes to go.


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