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This is book two in the Lord Ramage series. This series is set between 1796 and 1807. This period of time was considered the Anglo-Spanish War as part of the French Revolutionary Wars. Lord Ramage is an interesting and likable character. Unlike other naval historical novels of the same time frame, Ramage is of an upper class background and is a Lord. He is Lord Nicholas Ramage, oldest son of the tenth Earl of Blazey, Admiral of the White. He was born in 1775 at Blazey hall, St. Kew Cornwall. He entered the Royal Navy as a midshipman in 1788 at the age of thirteen.
In this story while commanding HMS Kathleen, Lt. Ramage is ordered to proceed to Gibraltar. He is assigned to Admiral Sir John Jervis who is on the HMS Victory. On his way to his assignments the HMS Kathleen is captured by the French. Ramage manages to turn his capture into an onshore diversion spying on the enemy. They escape and take the information to Sir Jervis of the Spanish fleet passing near Cape St. Vincent. Ramage becomes friends with Commodore Nelson who commands the frigate HMS Minerve. The action in Drumbeat is often far from the usual action in books about naval warfare of the age of sails. Ramage uses both unusual and very creative tactics during the battles. The final battle in the story is the Battle of Cape St. Vincent which took place on Valentine’s Day in 1797. The Spanish out gunned the British almost 2 to 1. Pope stayed fairly close to history for this battle. Many of you will remember that the Spanish Ship La Santisima Trinidad, the largest wooden ship in the world, fought in this battle. Pope describes the battle magnificently.
The book is well written and meticulously researched. It is obvious that the author is extremely knowledgeable about this period of history and of naval sailing vessels. I am looking forward to the next book in the series. The story was narrated by Steve Crossley.
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