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Seth Hunter – The Winds of Folly

June 5, 2017

LibraryThing Early Reviewers59. The Winds of Folly by Seth Hunter (2016)
Nathan Peake, Book 4

Read my review of book:
1. The Time of Terror
2. The Tide of War
3. The Price of Glory

Length: 384 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction

Started: 12 November 2016
Finished: 26 December 2016

Where did it come from? LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Why do I have it? Honestly, when it came up for request, I think my general fondness for stories about the British Navy made me forget that I was mostly ambivalent about the first two in the series.
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 17 February 2016.

Nathan is better
prepared to deal with French ships
than Venetian spies.

Summary: Nathan Peake, captain of the Unicorn, is under orders to sail to Venice. He and his crew are to aid in the evacuation civilians from Leghorn ahead of Bonaparte’s armies, and to limit the spread of piracy in the Adriatic. However, his real mission is to make for Venice, to convince the Venetians to stand with Britain against the spreading French forces. But Venice is unlike anything Nathan has ever encountered before, full of intrigue, corruption, and spies, and Nathan will have to keep his wits about him if he hopes to get himself – and his ship – out in one piece.

Review: Okay, this is it. I am finally giving up on this series. I probably should have done so three books ago, but I kept convincing myself that it was the Age of Sail! The British Navy! Those are all things I like! And in theory, they are, but in practice, these books just aren’t doing it for me. The writing itself is good, smooth and easy to read, but unfortunately I never found anything in either the plot or the characters that drew me in and made me want to read more. I don’t particularly care about Nathan Peake as a character. It’s not that he’s unlikeable, just that there’s nothing about him that grabs me. His tumultuous relationship with Sara does its best to try to flesh him out, but I just don’t find him particularly compelling. There also wasn’t enough adventuring in this book to really be satisfying. Nathan spends a fair bit of the book ashore, so there are not enough sea battles, but despite all the build-up, there’s not really that much spy drama either, leaving me at a bit of a loss of what the point of this novel was. Part of the problem, I think, is that Hunter is taking a fictional person and trying to interweave him into real historical events, so it’s difficult to have Nathan do anything of consequence one way or another. It’s not an impossible problem – plenty of other historical fiction has managed to insinuate its fictional characters behind the scenes of real events in interesting ways – but The Winds of Folly never seems to manage it. 2.5 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: This series does delve into some aspects of the post-Revolutionary-France/pre-Napoleonic-War era that I haven’t seen tackled in other books, so there’s that. But if your primary interest in them is for some Age of Sail high seas adventuring, there are plenty of other books that do it better.

This Review on LibraryThing | This Book on LibraryThing | This Book on Amazon

Other Reviews: Couldn’t find any at the Book Blogs Search Engine.
Have you reviewed this book? Leave a comment with the link and I’ll add it in.

First Line: The man known to his associates as Cristolfi, and to the rest of Venice as the Devil, passed unnoticed through the crowds on the Piazza San Marco.

Vocab: (see the whole list)

  • p. 76: “Gunports thrown open, tompions removed from the mouths of the guns, the lead aprons from the touch holes.” – A plug or cover for the muzzle of a cannon or gun to keep out dust and moisture.
  • p. 83: “Nathan cast off his uniform jacket and dozed in his chair in a sennit hat like an old curate, but he missed his cabin now, more than he had at night: his cabin and his cot.” – 2. Braided straw, grass, or palm leaves for making hats.
  • p. 124: ““The Austrians have just a couple of xebecs, of no more than fourteen guns apiece, and a few small gunboats.”” – A small three-masted Mediterranean vessel with both square and lateen sails.
  • p. 150: “And the buildings, he saw, were in as parlous a state as the people, with crumbling façades and grim shuttered windows and the occasional line of washing hanging across some dingy courtyard.” – Perilous; dangerous.
  • p. 184: “A brief clouding of the water at the bow as the heavy anchor stirred from its sandy bed in the depths below, and slowly, painfully slowly to the music of its own complaints and the rhythmic clicking of the pawls, the heavy cable came aboard.” – A hinged or pivoted device adapted to fit into a notch of a ratchet wheel to impart forward motion or prevent backward motion.

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