Colours AloftBook - 2000
From the critics
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'It was unusually cold for mid-September and the cobbled streets of Portsmouth Point shone like metal from overnight rain.'
The September in question is in 1803 when press gangs ruled the quayside, and Vice-Admiral Sir Richard Bolitho finds himself the new master of Argonaute, a French flagship taken in battle. With the short-lived Peace of Amiens in ruins, he must leave behind the safety and security of Falmouth and take his place in the harder war which follows.
With the exception of Nelson himself, the recently-knighted Bolitho is the youngest admiral on the Navy list, but his new status sits uneasily upon his shoulders along with his new command. For the most part the officers of his hastily-formed squadron lack experience, whereas their French counterparts are well-trained and confident. And Bolitho is also a man plagued by worry about the coolness behind his recent parting with his beautiful wife Belinda.
What lies ahead is the reality of war at close quarters - where Bolitho will be called upon to anticipate the overall intention of the French fleet. And where, not for the first time, his own human reactions and the dictates of his position will be at odds. But it is the realisation that the battle has come to a personal vendetta - between himself and the French admiral who formerly sailed Argonaute - that drives Bolitho and his men to a final rendezvous where no quarter is asked or given.
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