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In Distant Waters: #8 A Nathaniel Drinkwater Novel and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more

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In Distant Waters Hardcover – December, 1988

11 customer reviews
Book 8 of 14 in the Nathaniel Drinkwater Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Captain Nathaniel Drinkwater, R.N., now seems to be repeating events in his life. In 1807, he's once again sent on a semisecret mission by spymaster Lord Dungarth ( A Baltic Mission ), is tempted by a foreign beauty ( A Brig of War ) and is captured by his enemies ( 1805 ). This time, though, the incidents occur in the Pacific Northwest, where Drinkwater is sent to foil Russian attempts at south-of-Alaska settlement and to prevent a Russo-Spanish alliance in northern California. Our hero vies with England's enemies, mainly on the brig Patrician , where he is also preoccupied with a disaffected crew always on the brink of mutiny. Using some real-life Russians and Californios, Woodman spins a plausible what-if tale featuring, as usual, details of seamanship, the requisite gory battle scenes and glimpses of world politics.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

Richard Woodman was born in London in 1944. He became an indentured midshipman in cargo liners at 16 and has sailed in a variety of ships, serving from apprentice to captain. He remains a professional sailor and in 1978 won the Marine Society's Harmer Award. Richard Woodman served an apprenticeship in cargo-liners, qualified as a navigator and spent another eleven years at sea as a commander. His passion for the sea is reflected in his prolific output, which includes works of both fiction (the Nathaniel Drinkwater series) and non-fiction (recently, The Sea Warriors, published by Constable). Richard Woodman spent over 30 years at sea. His prolific output includes fiction (Nathaniel Drinkwater series) and non-fiction (recently, The Sea Warriors). Richard Woodman is best known for his Nathaniel Drinkwater series of historical naval novels. Born in London in 1944 Richard joined his first ship at the age of 16 and spent over 30 years at sea. Married with two adult children, he lives in Harwich. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: St Martins Pr (December 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312025866
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312025861
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.7 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,820,944 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Bill Mac on July 5, 2001
Format: Perfect Paperback
I became addicted to the Nathaniel Drinkwater series with the first installment. In my opinion the Drinkwater series is greatly underrated in the genre. Woodman has managed to create a niche between the lyricism of Patrick O'Brian and the furious action of Alexander Kent. Woodman writes well but sparingly and creates realistic characters with depth. Drinkwater, his prime creation, is the most realistic of any protagonist in the genre. He is a decent man who makes mistakes and doesn't always have control of the situation. He doesn't have the personal magnetism of a Bolitho or Ramage nor does he have the brilliance of a Hornblower. He does his duty to the best of his ability and ultimately is successful.
In Distant Waters starts out ominously where Baltic Mission left off. Having brought sensitive intelligence back to England Drinkwater and his crew are immediately dispatched halfway round the world more for security reasons than from necessity it appears. Drinkwater must begin by hanging a deserter who in his own mind shouldn't be hanged under the circumstances. The demands of duty outweigh all other demands. The hanging casts a pall over the entire novel and is undoubtedly a motivator for some of the later problems.
The route, the date and to some extent the mission are similar to The Happy Return, a trip round the Horn in 1808 to play havoc with the Spanish. Readers of the genre will know what neither Drinkwater nor Hornblower knew, that the Spanish will change sides. Like Hornblower in The Happy Return Drinkwater will not find out about the switch in time and must pursue subsequent plans accordingly. At this point the similarities end. While Hornblower was in firm command of his ship, Drinkwater's leadership and crew loyalty are tenuous.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Tony Watson on November 18, 2002
Format: Perfect Paperback
Here we see Nat in command of Patrician, a cut-down 64 (Antigone having been too badly damaged in the previous battle); neither he nor his men were allowed leave for reasons of national security and his first task is to hang a deserter - not an auspicious start to a trip round the Horn.
Mother Russia is in evidence again and there are hints of desertion that become all too real after landing on a deserted island; the little freedom the crew are given is curtailed as they sight, then sink a prize; more desertions as they repatriate the prisoners, then sabotage almost completes the felony. To say more would reveal too much, but there is more than enough intrigue and action to hold the attention.
Slightly different from the previous 7 in the series, it appears stilted and chopped into seemingly disparate paragraphs, which throws one initially, but ultimately works very well as the hints and threads of the plots are drawn together. As usual, the spare, accurate descriptions leave one in no doubt as to the relative positions of the protagonists in each action, making it enjoyably easy to follow the sequence.
Again, this is based on fact, the surprising thing is how many of the characters really existed.
An exceptionally fine read *****
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By tertius3 on June 6, 2001
Format: Perfect Paperback
Following on BALTIC MISSION, Woodman again shows us British-Russian enmities, but here far, far from the European scene of the previous seven novels. Now 1808, Capt. Drinkwater's frigate rounds the cape and heads to the Northern Pacific, experiencing a long slide of morale among his crew of sailors too long without shore leave. For once he is not on a spy mission. He encounters a dishonorable Spanish captain and perfidy, intrigues his way through Spanish San Francisco with the help of a beautiful woman, runs afoul of bad luck and helpless defeat, and is bested by a Yankee mountain man. The book climaxes in a series of violent encounters with the Russians, who are moving on (British) Oregon from Alaska in alliance with Spain. This is an unusual but true setting for one of the more remote encounters of the Napoleonic Wars, the world's first true World War of global empires.
These are well-crafted and authentic sounding stories, but without the infectious humor of a Forester or O'Brian, or the gusto of Lambdin. Woodman writes in a style that is a little too serious and grim to evoke my empathy or wonder, and skips too quickly through the battle scenes. He doesn't quite seem to love the sea and those who sail upon it. IMHO, the better sailing-navy authors I've read would rank as: O'Brian and Forester, Lambdin and the new Stockwin, Woodman, with real Capt. Murryat and Adm. Mack below the line. (Sheridan House omits three of the early books from its Drinkwater republication list, but is printed on better stock than the earlier, execrable but much cheaper, Time Warner pb edition.)
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Format: Hardcover
This novel is the eighth novel Richard Woodman's Nathaniel Drinkwater series. This series, which reaches to 14 novels, follows the career of Captain Nathaniel Drinkwater. Drinkwater strives to carry out his orders. Yet he sometimes fails to live up to his own ideals Along the way, he has found loyal supporters and fierce enemies.

At the beginning of this novel, Drinkwater and his crew have just transferred to a new ship, the Patrician. Unfortunately, his first official act on board is to hang a deserter. This creates friction between himself and the crew.

The Patrician is ordered to the Pacific in order to prevent the Russians from increasing their presence in the Pacific Northwest. Unclear orders from the Admiralty make Drinkwater unsure of the true objective of his cruise. Is he to make war on the Spanish, the Russians, or both. To be sure, they both are dangerous, unscrupulous foes, as Drinkwater discovers.

The unrest of the crew causes problems. Several times crew members attempt to desert. At one point there is sabotage. Someone has drilled a hole in the hull of the ship and caused a leak. This forces Drinkwater to beach the ship to repair the leak. In the process of repairing the leak, a large group of the crew deserts into the wilderness. And then the ship is attacked by the Spanish. Drinkwater and the Patrician are captured.

Can Drinkwater escape from the Spanish, recover his ship, gather his scattered crew, and fulfill his orders?

I really enjoyed this book. It is a well written sea yarn. Woodman tells a great story that is well plotted. His writing style moves the plot along. For me, this book was literally a page turner. I finished it in three days, which is fast for me. I will be reading the other books in the series.
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