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A Middy of the King A Romance of the Old British Navy   By: (1851-1922)

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In Harry Collingwood's historical novel, A Middy of the King, readers are treated to a thrilling journey that takes them back in time to the old British Navy. Set against the backdrop of the early 19th century, this vividly descriptive tale effortlessly captures the essence of a bygone era, immersing us in the maritime adventures of the protagonist, young Peter Simple.

From the very first page, Collingwood's storytelling prowess shines through, immediately drawing us into Peter's world as he embarks on his naval career. The author's meticulous attention to detail, particularly in his descriptions of the ships, the bustling naval ports, and the authenticity of the seafaring life, creates an incredibly immersive atmosphere. As readers, we can almost feel the salty sea breeze, hear the creaks and groans of the ships, and taste the anticipation and fear that comes with life at sea.

Peter Simple, the eponymous middy, is a well-crafted character who undergoes a profound transformation throughout the course of the novel. Starting as an inexperienced young boy, he is thrust into a world of discipline and danger, where he must navigate treacherous waters both literally and figuratively. His growth from a naively enthusiastic youth to a seasoned and resilient officer is captivating, and we become emotionally invested in his struggles and triumphs.

Collingwood's ability to balance action-packed naval battles with moments of heartfelt emotion is a testament to his skill as a writer. The author effortlessly segues between intense naval warfare scenes, filled with cannon blasts and the thunderous clash of boarding parties, and intimate character-driven moments that explore themes of loyalty, honor, and sacrifice. These emotional moments serve to humanize the characters, making their achievements and sacrifices all the more impactful.

Furthermore, Collingwood's portrayal of the hierarchy and traditions of the British Navy adds an additional layer of authenticity to the narrative. Through Peter's experiences, readers get a glimpse into the intricacies of life on board a warship, from the complex social dynamics to the intricate procedures and protocols. This attention to detail not only adds depth to the story but also showcases Collingwood's meticulous research and dedication to historical accuracy.

If there is one criticism of this otherwise enthralling novel, it would be the occasional tendency towards long-winded exposition. At times, the intricate explanations of naval terminology and procedural details may overwhelm readers who are less familiar with nautical jargon. However, this minor flaw is easily overshadowed by the overall richness of the narrative and the compelling characters that inhabit it.

In conclusion, A Middy of the King is an expertly crafted historical novel that transports readers to a time long past, immersing them in the thrilling and perilous world of the old British Navy. Harry Collingwood's attention to detail, vivid descriptions, and compelling characters make this a must-read for fans of naval fiction, history enthusiasts, and anyone seeking a riveting adventure on the high seas.

First Page:

A Middy of the King, by Harry Collingwood.

The young hero of this tale is Dick Delamere, who was already a midshipman, on leave, but who receives a letter from the Captain of the Europa, recalling him to join the ship at Portsmouth. The date of the events that ensue is the very late eighteenth century.

The first few chapters cover the events while the Europa is on patrol in the Chops of the Channel and the Bay of Biscay. The British are hostile to the French and to the Dutch, and there are engagements with vessels of these nations. Thereafter the vessel sails to the West Indies, where one of the problems is to exterminate the pirates infesting those waters. The book describes, possibly fairly accurately, the life of a midshipman of those days and in those waters. At one point Dick receives a very serious head wound, but recovers with good treatment in the Naval Hospital. On the whole the book has echoes of the immortal works of Captain Marryat, which I am sure our author had studied very carefully.

Collingwood has exceptional powers of description, and this book makes a good read, and, of course, a good audiobook.

A MIDDY OF THE KING, BY HARRY COLLINGWOOD... Continue reading book >>

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