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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.

BEYOND THE REEF
William Heinemann, 1992


March 1808, and war spreads in Europe as Napoleon holds Portugal and threatens his old ally, Spain. The Royal Navy’s blockade of enemy ports continues, and a new anti-slavery bill further stretches the hard-pressed fleet’s resources, as more ships are required elsewhere to suppress that profitable trade.
Estranged from his wife and child, and plagued by the fear of blindness, Vice-Admiral Sir Richard Bolitho or ordered once more to the Cape of Good Hope to establish a permanent naval force there following the success of his previous mission. He leaves behind the contempt of society and the bitter memories of a friendship betrayed, and with the mistress he will not forsake takes passage on the ill-fated Golden Plover. With them are others eager to quit the land: Valentine Keen, for whom command at the Cape is both promotion and an escape from his own troubled marriage, the faithful Allday, and young Stephen Jenour, who finds in this dangerous voyage a passage to maturity.
    When shipwreck and disaster overtake Golden Plover, a hundred-mile reef off the coast of Africa becomes a powerful symbol of crisis and survival, claiming alike the innocent and the damned. Beyond the reef little remains, only raw courage and reckless hope, and the certainty that for those in peril and for those at home life has changed irrevocably.
    Beyond the Reef is another spellbinding adventure in the popular and exciting Bolitho series by our foremost writer of historical naval fiction.
This colourful and thrilling novel follows chronologically The Only Victor, of which The Nautical Magazine said, ‘Seamen will particularly appreciate the way the author succeeds in bringing to life on his pages the whole feel of ships, their companies and the sea in all its moods.’

THE DARKENING SEA
William Heinemann, 1993


In this, the twenty-first Richard Bolitho novel and the chronological sequel to Beyond the Reef, Alexander Kent’s immensely popular naval hero returns to England after the capture of Martinique, and finds a brief respite from war and politics in the arms of his mistress, Lady Catherine Somervell.
    But the affairs of nations allow little time for personal happiness, and to his surprise and dismay Bolitho is ordered almost immediately to the Indian Ocean, where the shadow of a new conflict already darkens the horizon as the old enemy, France, forges an uneasy alliance with America and threatens British trade routes.
    Haunted by the deaths in their country’s service of Nelson and Collingwood, and by his own vivid memories of shipwreck and tragedy, Bolitho is well aware of the price of admiralty, and for the first time considers the possibility of life not only beyond the reef but beyond the sea itself.

FOR MY COUNTRY’S FREEDOM
William Heinemann, 1995


It is March 1811, and Richard Bolitho is recalled to duty after only two and a half months of precious peace in Cornwall with his beloved mistress Catherine.
    Promoted Admiral, his choice of flagship and flag captain shock the Admiralty, but Bolitho, poignantly aware of his own vulnerability, surrounds himself only with those men he can trust completely: the faithful Allday, the withdrawn and intelligent Avery, and James Tyacke, who must confront the sternest test of his loyalty with great personal courage.
    When diplomacy fails the cannon must speak, and Bolitho, patrolling the troubled waters from Antigua north to Halifax, knows that when war with America comes he must fight an enemy not foreign but familiar, for the freedom to leave the sea forever.

CROSS OF ST GEORGE
William Heinemann, 1996


In the bitter February of 1813, with convoys from Canada and the Caribbean falling victim to American privateers, Sir Richard Bolitho returns to Halifax to pursue a war he knows cannot be won, but which neither Britain nor the United States can afford to lose.
    After nearly thirty years of almost continuous conflict with the old enemy, France, England and her Admiral desire only peace. But peace will not be found in the icy Canadian waters, where a young, angry nation asserts its identity, and men who share a common heritage die in close and bloody action. Nor is there peace for those who follow the Cross of St George: not for the embittered Adam, mourning his lover and his ship, nor for Rear-Admiral Valentine Keen, who remains strangely indifferent to responsibility. Nor will there be peace from those who use this struggle between nations as an instrument of personal revenge.


SWORD OF HONOUR
William Heinemann, 1998


In March of 1814, Admiral Sir Richard Bolitho returns to England from several months' rigorous patrolling off the North American coast. The bitter and inconclusive war with the United States has not yet ended, but news of Napoleon’s defeat and abdication has stunned a navy and a nation bled by years of European conflict. Victory has been the impossible dream and now, for Bolitho, a vision of the future and a personal peace seems attainable.
He remains, however, an admiral of England, and an unsympathetic Admiralty dispatches him to Malta. Perhaps this appointment is a compliment, perhaps a malicious ploy to keep him from the woman he loves and the freedom for which he craves? He cannot know, but the voice of duty speaks more insistently even than the voice of the heart, and in this familiar sea where both glory and tragedy have touched his life, Bolitho must confront the future, the renaissance of a hated tyrant, and the fulfilment of destiny.

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Alexander Kent First Editions