Posted by Curt on 24 September, 2007 at 8:35 pm. Be the first to comment!


I was sent a copy of the new book Under Enemy Colors by S. Thomas Russell to review a few weeks back and I have to say I came away from it pleasantly surprised.

I’m a big fan of Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey/Maturin books and I’m happy to report Russell appears to be well on his way to filling the void left when Patrick died.

Most of the book is set on board the newly built British frigate, the Themis, during the French Revolution and tells the story of two very different men in command of that ship.

The main character is Charles Saunders Hayden, a man who seemed destined to become a Master and Commander but was bypassed and given a first lieutenant slot on the Themis.  A courageous and skilled commander Hayden is startled to learn that the man he works under, Captain Josiah Hart, is a incompetent, bumbling, tyrannical and cowardly leader.  So much so the crew of the Themis is very close to mutiny.

During the ship’s adventure-filled voyage into French waters Hayden finds himself stuck between a tyrannical leader, a disaffected crew with leanings towards violence, and his love of Britain and France (since he is half French from his Mothers side).

Russell has a easy to read writing style and is quite skilled at setting up some very suspenseful passages with some action scenes, but the guts of this book is more character driven rather than action-oriented which includes the inner workings of a crew so very close to mutiny and a complicated courtship ashore.

The characters are well-drawn and there is a virtual smorgasbord of period-correct naval minutia, so if you loved Aubrey and Maturin your gonna love this new series of books (at least I’m hoping it becomes a series) by S. Thomas Russell.

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