Monday, 19 November 2012

In the King's Name - Alexander Kent

The twenty-sixth and latest Bolitho novel, published last year.  Kent is really Douglas Reeman, also a best-selling author under his real name, and was born in 1924.  To be still writing at 87 is a remarkable achievement, but to have maintained the standard over so many novels in a sequence written over forty years is truly extraordinary.

The Bolitho here is Adam, formerly Pascoe, nephew and heir of Admiral Sir Richard, whose career we followed since To Glory We Steer back in 1968.  Richard is dead, killed in action, and it has to be said Adam is not quite the man his uncle was.  Then again, a different kind of captain is needed for the post-Napoleonic peace.  The enemy here are the blackbirders, outlawed slave-traders and the shadowy figures who finance them.

Always a tricky move for a series writer to switchto the next generation.  It's rarely entirely successful - Galsworthy couldn't manage it with The Forsyte Saga, and he won the Nobel Prize.  Kent certainly does better than the similarly aged Winston Graham with the later Poldarks.

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