It is 1780, and 17-year-old Alan Lewrie is a brash, rebellious young libertine. So much so that his callous father believes a bit of naval discipline will turn the boy around. Fresh aboard the tall-masted Ariadne, Midshipman Lewrie heads for the war-torn Americas, finding - rather unexpectedly - that he is a born sailor, equally at home with the randy pleasures of the port and the raging battles on the high seas. But in a hail of cannonballs comes a bawdy surprise.
©1998 Dewey Lambdin; (P)2010 Random House
I read everything (from Victorian Romances to espionage). I even like kids books (i.e. Bloody Jack series).
Fun series of books.
This is the first of the series.
Currently, the second and third books are two credits (a bit high priced). If you liked books by Bernard Cornwell (Sharp's Rifles Series), C.S. Forester's Hornblower saga, Frederick Marryat - Peter Simple saga, and Patrick O'Brian - Jack Aubrey series you will also like this series.
Some books of the series are a bit slow (at parts), and lots of sailing until the battles and sex... Dewey Lambdin writing is excellent but is not worth the extra credit with the choice of comparable books.
I love reading and listening to books, especially fantasy, science fiction, children's, historical, and classics.
In the Tom Jones-esque prologue to Dewey Lambdin's The King's Coat (1989), the 17-year-old bastard Alan Lewrie is caught by an outraged posse--his natural father, his half-brother, his father's servant, his father's lawyer, and the new vicar--in bed in flagrento delicto with his half-sister. She immediately begins screaming that he has raped her (despite having been seducing him for two weeks) and Alan is in a fix. He is disowned, banished, and, what is worse, shipped off to sea to join the British Navy as a "gentleman" midshipman during the Revolutionary War. Alan, whose only notion of the navy has been that it is a floating prison with the added danger of drowning, nevertheless soon determines to learn and thrive there so as to get some measure of revenge on his scheming family.
Lambdin depicts Alan's reluctant entry into the navy and subsequent adventures with enthusiastic detail. Frigates, orlops, topgallants, fo'c'sles, kedges, 9-pounders, warrant officers, dog watches, and more. Along with Alan we learn about the ships, masts, sails, lines, knots, duties, punishments, foods, eating, sleeping, relieving, and cleaning arrangements, weapons, tactics, and men (and boys) of the 18th century British navy. I can't visualize which sail is being used when, etc., but the gist of what happens is always clear. And there are some exciting and horrific naval battles to experience.
In addition to vividly depicting the world of the navy, Lambdin has a sense of humor, as in this description of the father of the elfin and nubile Lucy Beauman:
"Pere Beauman was squat as a toad, crammed into a bright green velvet coat, a long skirted old style waist coat, awash in silver brocade, buff britches and hose, with calves as thick as tiller-heads, and the high-roached, elaborately curled bag wig he wore fairly screamed, 'Country!' of the worst hunting, shooting, riding, drinking, tenant-trampling, dog-loving, view-halloo variety."
Fans of C. S. Forester's Horatio Hornblower series should enjoy The King's Coat, but should be aware that Lambdin relishes recounting Alan's sexual encounters with women, from lonely married ones to prostitutes, and also has him swear like, well, a sailor. A couple of sequences involving Alan's hedonistic pleasures on shore leave nearly had me wondering whether I'd entered John Cleland's Fanny Hill. Sex is as much a part of the human experience as violence, so if Lambin wants to spend as much graphic detail on Alan's amorous engagements as on his naval ones, why not?
Once in the navy, Alan exhibits a Hornblower-like knack for being in the right place at the right time and for reacting in dangerous situations quickly, courageously, and effectively (despite his confusion and fear). Alan is interesting because his temper and foul mouth sometimes get the better of him, but his sharp tongue may also ooze honey, and whenever he is loathing himself for toadying to some senior officer, one suspects that he really means his flattery because at heart he is a good person and an earnest midshipman. And at times Alan resonates with the wind in the sails, the sun in the sea, and the membership in a community of men who are diligently working in some of the most complicated and impressive things human beings have created, wooden sailing ships.
John Lee reads The King's Coat with his characteristic wit and manner, and fully enjoys himself with it, especially when voicing the snide or uptight characters.
I am looking forward to the other volumes in the series.
John Lee the narrator is perfectly matched and made this a great listening experience! His portrayal of all the characters couldn't be better!
For me I guess The Hornblower series would be an obvious comparison but I don't think I have yet read something to compete.
There are so many... At the start of the story... he (Alan Lewrie) was set up by "family" and was forced into Naval service. You would never think that it would turn out so well for him. From the start I was routing for our young hero to succeed at all he did! As the story continues there is a great bond between reader and the main character Alan Lewrie that develops. There are many exciting as well as very funny moments to enjoy not once was I bored with this great audio book!
Well Alan Lewrie of course stands out as he our young hero our main focus throughout entire book. I cannot wait to continue this series and see what life will to bring Alan!
This is so much more than a naval adventure! While you get your exciting moments of war and sea battle you get sea life in full. The good the bad and everything in between. You're made to feel you are experiencing life right next to Alan Lewrie. Put into the time and place and I can't ask for more from my audio escapes!!
Well written, seems less cartoonish than the Hornblower and Belitho series. Can be pretty funny at times. And, of course, narrated by my favorite, John Lee. if you like the period sailing stories, you owe it to yourself to try this one.
Lambdin's Alan Lewrie novels have addicted me to the historic Royal Navy. Sea battles, encounters with historical figures such as Nelson and Hood, Napoleonic Wars, American Revolution, from Land's End to America's Eastern Seaboard, the Caribbean, and the Mediterranean - this series is steeped in living history that you can't help but learn from. One can only take so much blood and thunder at one go though, and Lambdin does a great job of altering the pace by inserting Lewrie's on-shore adventures in a rather humorous, or at least lighthearted, way, complete with outraged fathers, husbands, and spurned shrews. He's not the perfect hero, but his heroics are perfect. I REALLY hope Audible adds more Lewrie novels beyond they 10 they already have. A great series, but not for the faint of heart!
While there is definite continuity across the entire storyline, it is largely a series of episodic adventures. This plot structure conveniently enables short listening periods (30 minutes to an hour) during which the listener can enjoy some real excitement. Even still, there is enough character and plot development that I was left craving for what would come next. The plot is great at both macro and micro levels. Additionally, the author includes a wealth of subject knowledge, securing both my attention and respect.
I happened to listen to 'Genghis: Birth of an Empire' around the same time. Genghis simply had none of the structure or subject knowledge necessary to keep my interest.
First book in the series that I have listened to and I throughly enjoyed it. Hopefully the others in this series are as enjoyable.
The Alan Lewrie series is extremely interesting & addictive. His peronal life might be a diaster but his Professional Life is where he Shines!
I am a woman & some people might assume female readers would take exception to the character's behavior. I don't fault the character for his supposed "Inappropriate" behavior--I try to look at the big picture from realistic stand point and from that I can appreciate the cirumstances. Like I said before--his Professional Exploits are what makes the book!
To me the important thing is getting the job done and when it comes time to kick arse and take names--that is exactly what our hero does and he does with such a flare that you want him to do it againa and again!!
My only Complaint is that several books are NOT available on Audible. It is my Strongest Hope that the remaining books will be made available SOON. And it goes without saying that the books Must continue to be narrated by John Lee--nobody else could do justice to Captain Alan Lewrie.
I'm glad to see the pricing of this series has been adjusted. I wrote the previous review warning that later books in the series were arbitrarily priced at 2 credits. Now that they've fixed that, I've purchased the next two in the series, and halfway through The French Admiral, I can say it was well worth the wait.
This is a great story of a naval hero starting out as a midshipman. The only thing that didn't appeal to me, was the sex. The sexual parts are a little too descriptive for my taste. Other than that, the story is written very well and will keep you in suspense until the end.
It's a refreshing change to hear this type of story from the start of a naval career instead of the main character already being an officer (i.e. Aubrey).
It will leave you yearning for the next book of the series. A truly fantastic read...uh...I mean listen.
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