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 Victor Suthren: Royal Yankee 
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Post Victor Suthren: Royal Yankee
Victor Suthren - Edward Mainwaring series

Possible Spoilers below

I just finished reading "Royal Yankee" by Victor Suthren which is a reasonably entertaining novel about a man born and raised in Massachusetts but now a Lieutenant in the Royal Navy, thus the Royal Yankee reference. The novel is set in November 1739 and covers the first major naval action in the War of Jenkins’ Ear. Admiral Edward Vernon (Old Grogham) is on the way to attack the Spanish stronghold at Porto Bello, New Granada (now Panama). Mainwaring commands the topsail schooner "Athena" (6) and is sent on a special mission to guard Vernon’s approach to Porto Bello. Along the way he meets one of the nastiest villains I have ever read in an Age of Sail novel. French Captain Roche-Bourbon is more than a little insane at times, very vindictive, and is the first enemy that I recall that employs torture to get the information he needs. Mainwaring also rescues and falls in love with the lovely Anne Brixham, who fights with cutlass and cannon with as much skill as her new lover.

All three major characters seem a little extreme to me, too good, too evil, and too feisty.

When doing a little research on the period, I found that George Washington’s brother served under Admiral Vernon and this influenced the first president of the United States to name his estate Mount Vernon. I have visited there but never knew the source of the name.

In Britain, Vernon's victory at Porto Bello was greated with much celebration. In 1740, at a dinner honoring Vernon, the song "God Save the King," now the British national anthem, was first performed in public.

Suthren really seems to know sail and ship handling and the structure below decks extremely well.

I did find a few things that concerned me. On page 6, Suthren seems confused about the name of his midshipman and his master-at-arms. I hate to see such errors so early in a book. This also the first book I have read that uses the racial epithet of "greaser" when referring Spanish sailors. On page 146, "gourd-like Spanish canteens" are mentioned. I did some unsuccessful research some time ago to see when British sailors first had access to canteens (for land operations). Canteens did not seem to be listed among the many supplies aboard ship during the Nelson era (or earlier). Did Spanish sailors have canteens in 1739? Interesting question.

There are three additional books in this series: "The Golden Galleon," "Admiral of Fear," and "Captain Monsoon."

Don


Wed Oct 26, 2005 12:49 am
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