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Richard Bolitho Books In Order

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Publication Order of Richard Bolitho Books

To Glory We Steer (1968)Description / Buy at Amazon
Form Line of Battle (1969)Description / Buy at Amazon
Enemy in Sight (1969)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Flag Captain (1971)Description / Buy at Amazon
Sloop of War (1971)Description / Buy at Amazon
Command a King's Ship (1973)Description / Buy at Amazon
Signal-Close Action! (1973)Description / Buy at Amazon
Midshipman Bolitho (1975)Description / Buy at Amazon
Midshipman Bolitho and the Avenger (1976)Description / Buy at Amazon
Stand into Danger (1976)Description / Buy at Amazon
Passage to Mutiny (1976)Description / Buy at Amazon
In Gallant Company (1977)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Inshore Squadron (1978)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Tradition of Victory (1981)Description / Buy at Amazon
Success to the Brave (1983)Description / Buy at Amazon
Colours Aloft! (1986)Description / Buy at Amazon
Honour this Day (1987)Description / Buy at Amazon
With All Despatch (1989)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Only Victor (1990)Description / Buy at Amazon
Beyond the Reef (1992)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Darkening Sea (1993)Description / Buy at Amazon
For My Country's Freedom (1995)Description / Buy at Amazon
Cross of St. George (1996)Description / Buy at Amazon
Sword of Honour (1998)Description / Buy at Amazon
Second to None (1999)Description / Buy at Amazon
Relentless Pursuit (2001)Description / Buy at Amazon
Man of War (2002)Description / Buy at Amazon
Band of Brothers (2005)Description / Buy at Amazon
Heart of Oak (2007)Description / Buy at Amazon
In the King's Name (2011)Description / Buy at Amazon

Chronological Order of Richard Bolitho Books

Midshipman Bolitho(1975)Description / Buy at Amazon
Midshipman Bolitho and the Avenger(1976)Description / Buy at Amazon
Band of Brothers(2005)Description / Buy at Amazon
Stand into Danger(1976)Description / Buy at Amazon
In Gallant Company(1977)Description / Buy at Amazon
Sloop of War(1971)Description / Buy at Amazon
To Glory We Steer(1968)Description / Buy at Amazon
Command a King's Ship(1973)Description / Buy at Amazon
Passage to Mutiny(1976)Description / Buy at Amazon
With All Despatch(1989)Description / Buy at Amazon
Form Line of Battle(1969)Description / Buy at Amazon
Enemy in Sight(1969)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Flag Captain(1971)Description / Buy at Amazon
Signal-Close Action!(1973)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Inshore Squadron(1978)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Tradition of Victory(1981)Description / Buy at Amazon
Success to the Brave(1983)Description / Buy at Amazon
Colours Aloft!(1986)Description / Buy at Amazon
Honour this Day(1987)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Only Victor(1990)Description / Buy at Amazon
Beyond the Reef(1992)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Darkening Sea(1993)Description / Buy at Amazon
For My Country's Freedom(1995)Description / Buy at Amazon
Cross of St. George(1996)Description / Buy at Amazon
Sword of Honour(1998)Description / Buy at Amazon
Second to None(1999)Description / Buy at Amazon
Relentless Pursuit(2001)Description / Buy at Amazon
Man of War(2002)Description / Buy at Amazon
Heart of Oak(2007)Description / Buy at Amazon
In the King's Name(2011)Description / Buy at Amazon

Richard Bolitho is the main character of a series of novels written by Douglas Reeman, focused around the military career of this particular individual in the Royal Navy. Douglas writes this series under the pen name of Alexander Kent.

+Richard Bolitho

A fictional Royal Navy Character, Richard Bolitho was born in Falmouth, Cornwall in 1756. The second son of a prestigious naval family, Richard’s Navy life begun in 1768, the young officer serving in the wars against France as well as the United States; promoted to Lieutenant in 1774 and eventually climbing all the way to admiral in 1812, Richard Bolitho died in 1815 in action against the French.

Playing a significant role in driving the Americans away from Brooklyn Heights in 1776, helping to secure victory for Britain it what might be the largest battle of the American Revolution, Bolitho is a Cornish surname.

Reeman has admitted to borrowing the name from a real individual he has only ever described as a ‘distinguished old chap’ that he met in the Channel Islands. Those theorists that have attempted to unveil the identity of the real Richard Bolitho always base their investigations into the matter on Reeman’s revelations that the true Bolitho was actually brother to the Lord Lieutenant of Cornwall.

Richard Bolitho was well known as a tactical genius, his daring attitude and disregard for convention playing a role in the numerous successes he delivered. The opposition he faced from less competent men did little to hinder his climb to the top, not with Richard Bolitho’s ability to deliver victory against near impossible odds.

As a captain, Bolitho was not only scrupulous, fair and humane but quite demanding, his reputation as the very manifestation of decency in a bloody and brutal world allowing Richard to attract loyalty from those who served under his rule.

In fact those officers that served under Richard always sought to fight under his command each time the opportunity was presented, with many of the lieutenants he commanded during his days are a captain frequently commanding those ships within his squadrons.

Of the friendships Richard struck up, the one he enjoyed with Thomas Herrick, a fellow officer, lasted the longest, this along with John Allday who essentially operated as Richard Bolitho’s bodyguard.

Even with all the victories he was delivering on the battlefield, Bolitho always found time to engage in one of several romances, the first with Viola Raymond who was the wife of an English Diplomat (though she died while Bolitho and his crew were stranded on the water in the tropics, her courage rallied them all forward).

Of the two women that Bolitho married, his first wife, Cheney Seton, perished in an automobile accident. Married life didn’t agree with Richard Bolitho the second time around, his relationship with Belinda (mother of his daughter, Elizabeth) rapidly deteriorating once he realized just how different she was from the person he had married, far more selfish that he could have presumed.

Eventually becoming estranged from both mother and daughter, Bolitho finally found love again in Lady Catherine Somervell, their increasingly public affair ending when she finally died.

In writing the Richard Bolitho story, Douglas Reeman makes use of a number of real world locations. Richard’s ancestral town, for example, near Falmouth was inspired by a house at Philleigh in Cornwall, near the King Harry Ferry, a house that Douglas photographed in the 1960s.

The detailed approach to the Richard Bolitho story was driven by Douglas Reeman’s time in the Navy, this along with his love of sailing. Douglas Reeman saw active service during the second WW II.

+The Author

Born October 15, 1924 at Thames Ditton, Douglass Reeman is a British author known for writing historical fiction, primarily about the Royal Navy.

Having himself joined the Royal Navy in 1940 (aged 16), Douglas served in WWII as well as the Korean War, eventually rising to the rank of lieutenant. Besides writing, Douglas once served as a technical director for movies, this along with teaching the art of navigation for yachting.

Douglas’ first novel, A Prayer for the Ship, was published in 1958. The author has been known to publish works under the pseudonym of Alexander Kent (which was the name of a naval officer who perished in World War II). Of all the books he has written over the years, Douglas’ Napoleonic naval stories about Richard Bolitho tend to enjoy the greatest popularity.
Along a litany of novels about Adam, Richard’s nephew, Douglas has authored numerous books about the Blackwood family (they served in the Royal Marines from the 1850s to the 1970s), this along with a non-fictional recounting of his time in World War II.

+Richard Bolitho-Midshipman

The first novel in the Richard Bolitho series was actually the eighth book to be published. However, chronologically, Midshipman is the first novel in the series, set at the start of Richard Bolitho’s career. The novel introduces Richard Bolitho rather quickly, this along with his meeting with midshipman Martyn Dancer and the adventures that await them after they are assigned to a 74 gun ship known as the Gorgon.

There is a lot to appreciate about this novel; not only is it a smooth read, with far less confusing descriptions but it strives to set itself apart from the typical historical naval fiction story.

Some have compared the novel to C.S Forester’s Hornblower, especially regarding Douglas Reeman, the author, whose writing is largely straightforward, competent and free of unnecessarily flowery language.

The novel succeeds in immersing its readers in the atmosphere of naval matters, Douglas manifesting brilliantly life as it would have appeared on a gun ship. Admittedly, Richard Bolitho could have done with a little more personality, but the novel manages to deliver a strong narrative none-the-less.

+Midshipman Bolitho and the Avenger

In the winter of 1773, near the Western Country of England, the Gorgon is undergoing refitting, this affording Bolitho and some younger gentlemen the opportunity to sojourn home for Christmas.

At 17, Bolitho returns home to his family with Martyn Dancer, his best friend, in toe. Upon arriving in Cornwall, Richard Bolitho realizes that all is not well with his home.

With rumors of witchcraft and smuggling abounding, this compounded by a murdered man located near Bolitho’s house, the reality of Cornwall begins to take an ugly turn.

With further savage crimes causing alarm, Richard Bolitho will have to place ideas of a carefree leave aside, at least until he can contend with the avenger and his or her commander.

The second book to explore Richard Bolitho’s early exploits, Midshipman Bolitho and the avenger is quite the slim volume, very simply written and easy to understand. The book also covers a much smaller range of topics, the story quickly becoming far more complicated with the flip of each page, especially after the identity of the commander is revealed.

With great action, both on land and sea, ‘Midshipman Bolitho and the Avenger’ is an excellent effort.

Book Series In Order » Characters » Richard Bolitho

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