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Middy and Ensign   By: (1831-1909)

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Middy and Ensign by George Manville Fenn is a thrilling historical adventure that takes readers on a captivating journey through the lives of two brave young boys serving in the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars.

Set in the early 19th century, the story follows the lives of Middy Jack Martin and Ensign Mark Murray, two friends who find themselves amidst the chaos of battle, navigating treacherous waters with their unyielding determination and courage.

Fenn's vivid storytelling brings the maritime world to life, painting a vivid picture of the harsh realities faced by sailors of that era. The author's attention to detail is commendable, effectively capturing the essence of life aboard a naval vessel, from the cramped quarters to the thunderous roar of cannons during battles. These descriptions not only immerse readers in the setting but also serve to educate them about the historical context of the novel.

One of the most notable aspects of Middy and Ensign is the development of the characters. Jack and Mark undergo tremendous growth throughout the story, transforming from inexperienced young boys into confident and skilled sailors. Their friendship serves as a pillar of strength, providing them with the support needed to overcome the challenges they face. Fenn expertly explores the themes of loyalty, camaraderie, and the trials of adolescence, creating relatable characters that readers will emotionally invest in.

Another highlight of Fenn's writing is the gripping action sequences that are peppered throughout the story. From high-stakes naval encounters to daring escapades on land, the book is a rollercoaster of excitement and danger. The author's ability to craft thrilling scenes keeps readers on the edge of their seats, eagerly turning the pages to see how Jack and Mark will overcome each obstacle thrown their way.

While Middy and Ensign delivers an enthralling story overall, there are a few minor shortcomings. Some readers may find certain sections of the book to be slower-paced, with more focus on detailed historical context and less on immediate action. However, these moments are crucial for building the world and enhancing the authenticity of the story.

In conclusion, Middy and Ensign by George Manville Fenn is a captivating historical adventure that will appeal to readers of all ages. With its richly developed characters, thrilling action, and meticulous attention to historical detail, the novel offers a compelling glimpse into the lives of sailors during the Napoleonic Wars. Fenn's ability to transport readers to a bygone era is truly commendable, making this book a must-read for lovers of maritime tales and fans of captivating historical fiction.

First Page:

Middy and Ensign, by George Manville Fenn.

This was the first Manville Fenn book I ever encountered, and I loved it at first sight. So much so that I had put nearly fifty of his books on the website within a couple of years, although, writing in 2005, two years ago I had never heard of Manville Fenn.

HMS Startler is on patrol up the Parang River in the Malay peninsula. On board are the midshipman, Bob Roberts, and the ensign, Tom Long. Their friendly bickering goes on throughout the book. Various tropical indispositions trouble them, and also of course the insect life in the air and saurian life in the river is of no help. It is hard to know which of the natives are on their side, and which not, and there is a great deal of two facedness. We are introduced to various fruits. A soldier on their own side is prone to fall asleep when on sentry duty, and the little fort they build to give the womenfolk a little more room than aboard ship, is very nearly captured and destroyed.

There are various trips for fishing and shooting purposes, and we learn a great deal about the natural history of the area while these expeditions are in progress.

One of the reasons why some of the natives do not like the British Protectorate is that normally any traffic passing up and down the river does so only on payment of a toll to the local chieftains, who in turn are at loggerheads with each other in dispute of the right to exact tolls... Continue reading book >>

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