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The Richard and Adam Bolitho novels by Alexander Kent are published by Arrow Books in the United Kingdom and by McBooks Press in the United States and are available online and in fine bookshops. The titles are listed below in historical chronological order. UK editions are on the left and US editions are on the right.

THE FLAG CAPTAIN

Spring of 1797 ... Richard Bolitho brings the 100-gun Euryalus home to Falmouth to be flagship of the hastily formed squadron which has been chosen to make the first British re-entry to the Mediterranean for nearly a year. As flag captain, Bolitho is made to contend with the unyielding attitudes of his new admiral, as well as the devious requirements of the squadron's civilian advisor. England is still stunned by the naval mutiny at Spithead, in which Bolitho's admiral was personally involved, and as the squadron sets sail the air is already alive with rumour of an even greater uprising in the ships at the Nore. Only when the squadron is drawn to a bloody embrace with the enemy does the admiral see the strength in Bolitho's trust and care for his men – but by then it is almost too late for any of them.

SIGNAL — CLOSE ACTION!

1798 ... Richard Bolitho hoists his broad pendant as commodore of a small squadron and prepares to re-enter the Mediterranean. He is soon made aware of his responsibility. There are rumours of a massive French armada and of the latest type of artillery – and Bolitho's orders are to seek out the enemy and to discover the intentions of his growing force. Without any British bases in the Mediterranean, and unable to show favour to old friends, Bolitho is well aware that there are others within his ships who are no less dangerous than the enemy — and during the weeks and months in which the squadron faces the hazards of the weather and French broadsides alike, Bolitho knows that far more than his own future is at stake. A fleet, even a nation, could depend on his decisions and, when he places his squadron between the Nile and the power of France, he must accept the price of the challenge.

THE INSHORE SQUADRON

September 1800 ... Richard Bolitho, a freshly appointed rear-admiral, assumes command of his own squadron — but, as the cruel demands of war spread from Europe to the Baltic, he soon realises that his experience, gained in the line of battle, has ill-prepared him for the intricate manoeuvring of power politics. Under his flag the Inshore Squadron has to ride out the bitter hardship of blockade duty and the swift, deadly encounters with the enemy. An old hatred steps from the past to pose a personal threat to him, but at the gates of Copenhagen, where his flag flies amidst the fury of battle, Bolitho must put all private hopes and fears behind him.

A TRADITION OF VICTORY

June 1801 ... After eight years of war between Britain and France there is at last a rumour of peace. But the old enemies are well aware that any settlement will be only a breathing space in which to recover from their terrible losses. To obtain the best terms the French muster a show of strength from Biscay to the Channel ports. At the British Admiralty there are some who see a daring opportunity to even the score at any negotiation table — and who better to undertake it than the young Rear Admiral Bolitho! Bolitho's small squadron is still repairing the scars of battle earned at Copenhagen – and as he receives his orders from London Bolitho is, for the first time in his life, torn between the demands of duty and his real desire to marry. When the squadron sails it is joined by an additional ship, a frigate with many memories from the past. But where Bolitho's flag leads so his captains must follow, if necessary to the brink of disaster – for theirs is a tradition of victory.

SUCCESS TO THE BRAVE

1802 ... Richard Bolitho is summoned to the Admiralty in London and given his orders for a difficult and, to him distasteful, task. Even an advanced promotion to Vice-Admiral to make him one of the youngest ever appointed does not compensate for his sudden and thankless mission. Bolitho and his wife are expecting their first child, and for once he is loath to quit the land for the demands of duty. The Peace of Amiens, signed a few weeks earlier, is already showing signs of strain as the old enemies wrangle over the return of colonial possessions won and lost during the war. In the little sixty-four-gun Achates Bolitho sails West for Boston, and discovers that to be a man of diplomacy is not enough. As threat and counter-threat weave a web of intrigue around his lonely command he balances success against the danger to the men who must follow him even to the cannon's mouth.


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Alexander Kent Novels