For several years now, I’ve been enjoying the books of Alexander Kent. These are “Richard Bolitho stories”. They feature the exploits of Richard Bolitho, from midshipman to admiral in England’s Royal Navy, during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries – those great days of sail! Kent captures the atmosphere of the times very well, and shows his knowledge of the detail, without burdening his books with a mass of technicalities. He paints the picture of an often brutal world of savage sea battles, the notorious press gangs and surprising loyalty. The despicable officers are there, but so are the new breed of more liberal, caring officers, such as Bolitho himself.
As works of historical fiction, you’ll find none better.
Alexander Kent on Goodreads.
If you’re wondering at the use of the term “England’s Royal Navy”, it’s a fact that, at the time, the majority thought of Britain in terms of the dominant nation! Thus, while the King might be referred to as “His Britannic Majesty”, the world, and most of the British, thought in terms of England as that powerful, empire building force.