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The following Richard and Adam Bolitho novels by Alexander Kent are listed in historical chronological order. Cover images and descriptions are from the dustwrappers of British hardcover first editions.

A TRADITION OF VICTORY
Hutchinson, 1981


Richard Bolitho is now acclaimed throughout the world as the most popular hero in historical naval fiction created by a living writer. This fourteenth Bolitho novel has the epic scenes of action, the powerful character-ization and the authentic period detail that have made Alexander Kent a bestseller wherever sea stories are read.
    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!
    In June 1801 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
Hutchinson, 1983


Acclaimed as ‘one of our foremost writers of naval fiction’ (Sunday Times), Alexander Kent has gone from strength to strength since his first Richard Bolitho novel appeared fifteen years ago. Fine storytelling, careful attention to historical background and sweeping scenes of naval action account for the world-wide success of his books. Success to the Brave is the fifteenth Richard Bolitho story and chronologically it follows the events covered by A Tradition of Victory.
    In the spring of 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 thence to the Caribbean where he must hand over the island of San Felipe to the French.
    Bolitho discovers that to be a man of diplomacy is not enough, and 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.

COLOURS ALOFT!
Hutchinson, 1986


Richard Bolitho holds a place on a world stage: he is the most popular hero within naval fiction from the pen of a living writer. And Colours Aloft!, the sixteenth Richard Bolitho novel, bears all the hallmarks of its best-selling predecessors.
    ‘It was unusually cold for mid-September and the cobbled streets of Portsmouth Point shone like metal from overnight rain.’
    The September in question is in 1803 when press gangs ruled the quayside, and Vice-Admiral Sir Richard Bolitho finds himself the new master of Argonaute, a French flagship taken in battle. With the short-lived Peace of Amiens in ruins, he must leave behind the safety and security of Falmouth and take his place in the harder war which follows.
    With the exception of Nelson himself, the recently-knighted Bolitho is the youngest admiral on the Navy list, but his new status sits uneasily upon his shoulders along with his new command. For the most part the officers of his hastily-formed squadron lack experience, whereas their French counterparts are well-trained and confident. And Bolitho is also a man plagued by worry about the coolness behind his recent parting with his beautiful wife Belinda.
What lies ahead is the reality of war at close quarters - where Bolitho will be called upon to anticipate the overall intention of the French fleet. And where, not for the first time, his own human reactions and the dictates of his position will be at odds. But it is the realisation that the battle has come to a personal vendetta — between himself and the French admiral who formerly sailed Argonaute — that drives Bolitho and his men to a final rendezvous where no quarter is asked or given.


HONOUR THIS DAY
William Heinemann, 1987


In September 1804, England stands alone against France and the fleets of Spain, daily expecting an invasion. Entrusted with an urgent mission for the King, Vice-Admiral Richard Bolitho hoists his flag above the veteran seventy-four-gun ship Hyperion and sets sail with a new squadron for the Caribbean. Plagued by the knowledge that both his troubled marriage and the eye injured in his last battle with Contre-Amiral Jobert are worsening, Bolitho is eager to quit the land less than three months after his return home. But even his beloved old ship Hyperion, hastily restored from an ignominious existence as a hulk, is full of tormenting memories and lost faces.
    Ordered to plan and effect a daring raid on the Spanish Main, Bolitho spares himself nothing. It is more like a death-wish than a mission. He himself leads the dawn attack against enemy mortars in La Guaira, capturing after a bloody battle the rich prize of His Catholic Majesty's biggest treasure-ship laden with gold and silver. In Antigua once more, he is roused from his darkness of soul by the rediscovery of a passion which defies convention and every risk to his reputation. His future is full of uncertainty as he sails east to Gibraltar, for a rendezvous that all who follow his flag will remember. For the year is 1805, an historic year for the English fleet, and Hyperion is set to fight her last great battle as she clears the way for victory.

THE ONLY VICTOR
William Heinemann, 1990


February 1806 ... The frigate carrying Vice-Admiral Sir Richard Bolitho drops anchor off the shores of southern Africa. It is only four months since the resounding victory over the combined Franco-Spanish fleet at Trafalgar, and the death of England’s greatest naval hero.
    Bolitho’s instructions are to assist in hastening the campaign in Africa, where an expeditionary force is attempting to recapture Cape Town from the Dutch. Outside Europe few have yet heard of the battle of Trafalgar, and Bolitho’s news is met with both optimism and disappointment as he reminds the senior officers that, despite the victory, Napoelon’s defeat is by no means assured. The men who follow Bolitho’s flag into battle are to discover, not for the first time, that death is the only victor.

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