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Discovering Diamonds ReviewThe Distant Ocean by Philip K. Allan

The Distant Ocean
Reviewed by Richard Tearle
March 20, 2019

“…excellent seafaring descriptions… Mr. Allan knows his stuff!”

Book 5 of the Alexander Clay Series
18th/early 19th Century – Napoleonic Wars
Indian Ocean

Fresh from victory under Nelson at the Battle of the Nile, Captain Alexander Clay – every inch our handsome, dashing hero – is honoured by King George III by the gifting of a magnificent sword. He has been told by his wife, Lydia, that they are soon to become parents and is waiting for his next posting. Though that comes quicker than he would have liked, he is delighted to be joined by his close friend, John Sutton. Not so welcome is the presence of Nicholas Windham, for there is bad blood between the three of them. Worse is that the commander of the expedition is the fastidious Sir George Montague, Windham’s sponsor.

The mission is simple: to protect the ships of the East India Company (John Company) that are being harried and taken by the French. When they arrive and discover a French frigate anchored off a small island, Clay devises a plan to flush it out and destroy it. But the plan relies on Sutton and Windham working together …

This is Book 5 of the Alexander Clay series and although, as always, it is recommended to read any series in order, this is completely stand alone and does not suffer for that. Mr Allan has created a decent cast of characters and, I think, deliberately panders to our desires for certain ‘types’ to be present: rough, tough but loyal seamen; eccentric and/or incompetent high ranking officers. As such, this is an easy read, conflict and action to the fore, casualties but no gore and some excellent seafaring descriptions. In all these, Mr Allan knows his stuff!

Easily and heartily recommended for those who enjoy the period, good writing and an escape to exotic locations and times past.