by George Jepson
Tall Ships Books
Britain has been at war
with France for nearly a decade when the Peace of Amiens is signed
on 25 March 1802. The public is worn out from the costly war.
Prime Minister Addington reduces the Royal Navy, along with the
British army, to curb the financial drain.
At the same time, Napoleon Bonaparte is
elected First Consul of France for life, and begins to build up
the French military. War is once again on the horizon.
As the Peace of Amiens ends, Britain
declares war on France on 18 May 1803. It is an opportunity for
British naval officers like Lieutenant Nathan Beauchamp, who is
recalled to England from Jamaica by the Admiralty.
Nate has missed the packet, so must return as
first officer in the Brig HMS Sampson, which is
severely damaged during a storm after leaving
Kingston. As the Sampson struggles to stay afloat,
a lookout spies an approaching French ship, the
privateer cutter Bateuse.
Employing a ruse of war, the Sampson surprises
the Frenchman, and in a boarding action takes the
privateer as a prize. With the Sampson taking on
more water, and her captain lying wounded, Nate
shifts the Samson's and passengers to the Bateuse,
and assumes command of the cutter.
O’Steen is an avid student of the British Royal Navy during the
Napoleonic Wars, which led to the creation of the Nathan Beauchamp
" I have attempted to provide the
reader with a fast-paced, action-filled sea story," says
And in this he is successful, as
Lieutenant Nathan Beauchamp makes his debut.
Under Nate's command, a privateer island
encampment is discovered and attacked, resulting in the capture of
the renegade leader Roseau. Roseau’s ship, the Vipere, formerly
a Royal Navy vessel, is taken back into the King’s service as a
prize. Her original name - HMS Falcon is restored.
Through an agreement arranged by
politicians, Roseau is returned to the French in exchange for an
influential Kingston plantation owner. Roseau soon takes up his
old trade. And Nate is summoned to Admiral Skinner’s day-cabin
on board HMS Lion in Kingston Harbor, where he is asked to
‘volunteer’ for a ‘special assignment’.
Review By George Jepson of
Tall Ships Books