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on November 29, 2004
Have read all three of this series, and will read no more. Geoffrey Frost, the lead character, never quite reaches two dimensions, let alone three. He is always perfect in his tactics, his plans, and his response to any situation. The dialogue is wooden, and self-consciously done in the style of the period, to the point that it becomes a distraction. In this book, the story is also highly implausible, and requires a suspension of belief that belies its intention as an authentic period piece. And it's not just the primary character who is perfect: the "woods-cruizers" are all always in exactly the right place at exactly the right time, never miss a shot, always give sage counsel, and so on. The few villains that show up are all quickly redeemed by their mere exposure to Geoffrey Frost. I admit that I am holding this series to standards of Hornblower and Aubrey/Maturin, which are classics, and by that standard, Geoffrey Frost only rates a C+. If you absolutely must read this series, do so at the library's expense, and not your own.
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on March 26, 2016
Let me start by saying that I am enjoying this series. I appreciate the view of the American Revolution from a naval perspective. There aren't many works of fiction from this point of view. I find that there are times when the author's writing is a bit hard to follow. I end up rereading sections trying to understand just what happened. The lead character, as essentially a teetotaler and vegetarian, is a little hard to swallow as well. I could also pick at the descriptions of seamanship and ship handling. However, quibbles aside, I think the Geoffrey Frost novels are good reads.
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on June 24, 2011
There is so much bad naval fiction these days, especially from this side of the Atlantic. However, this book surpasses them all, and not in a good way. The main character, "Captain" Frost, is a loose collection of wooden lines, and the way he interacts with the other characters never feels right. The way he responds to situations is always either suspiciously omniscient or totally out of proportion. He also has the annoying habit of swearing on various religious figures; for example, "by the Golden Buddha..." "may the Great Buddha of Gold curse me for a dog...""By the Golden Buddha and all the major prophets..." Still, one never escapes the feeling that beneath all of his self righteous broad-minded syncretism he is really kind of a brute. The minor characters range from the usual cliches (the hypocritical puritan, the pompous judge), to the ridiculous (the tribal shaman/ship's surgeon, Frost's Chinese ninja warrior/accountant/body servant who speaks entirely in sign language). George Washington, John Sullivan and Alexander Hamilton all make appearances, and Fender manages to suck all the life out of them with the same clumsy, long-winded docu-drama speeches that spoil the made-up characters.

This book is not just yet another bad American sea-novel, it is a national disgrace. In case anyone is still tempted to give it a try, let me close with a few of the more bizarre scenes. 1. At anchor in an island harbor where a British vessel is also present, Frost and his crew slip an laxitive into the drinks of the British officers while they are at the opera, then sail away-rather ignobly- while the enemy is incapacitated. (But not before they lace the British vessel's water supply with the same potion) 2. While transporting supplies to the Continental army at Valley Forge, a wagoneer allows a cask of flour to fall and break open; when he laughs, Frost punches him in the face, knocks him down, kicks his face, and vows to tie him to a nearby tree "for eternity." 3. Finally, crowning the many other uncomfortable scenes, a spectacularly weird nude snowball fight involving Captain Frost and Alexander Hamilton.
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on April 11, 2007
I really enjoyed this series. It reminds me quite strongly of the Kenneth Roberts classics Arundel, Rabble in Arms and Oliver Wiswell. The period speach adds to the charm and I would hate to see it any other way. A big poroblem though is that the auther several times drips in sentences in Portugese or even Chinese..with no translations provided except for the structure of the story. I would like to have the direct translation at least as a footnote. The main problem with this series though is that the two softback volumes I got have the most miserable binding you can put on a book. It demands you use two hands to read it unless you are OK with breaking the spine. In short, it just will not lay open flat. I bought the third volume, used, in hardback and wish I had done so for the others. Go ahead and buy the book, you will enjoy it. But buy the used hard back volumes and avoid the problem.
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on July 13, 2009
I liked the first 2/3's of this novel as well as the others in the series, but it is such a challenge for historical fiction when it starts to blend in real people and events. In this case, much of the novel lands Frost with George Washington, and the hagiography is just way too much. (If you thought Frost was too perfect, you haven't seen anything yet.)Fender can be an entertaining writer, but let's hope he keeps his people in their own world from now on.
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on July 6, 2004
I anxiously awaited "Our Lives, Our Fortunes", feeling that Fender's first two Geoffrey Frost, Mariner, offerings were amongst the very best new sea literature out, British or American. However, it turned into a land novel, covering ground much trod on by Civil War historians, and therefore, to me. as a fan of sea action, somewhat disappointing. Much too mental, little action.
This doesn't mean I am not just as anxiously awaiting his next offering, but it is in hopes that Frost gets back to his roots of a dashing sea hero who is more than willing, and capable, of "twisting the lions tail".
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on May 5, 2004
This series of naval adventure novels set during the American Revolution continues to develop. In the earlier two books, Captain Geoffrey Frost was almost heroic to a fault; in this book, he becomes a somewhat darker, more complex character with a streak of violence in him. Most of these naval series seem to have a few volumes that are set on land; much of this story involves Frost's efforts to transport some supplies overland from New England to Washington's troops in Pennsylvania. Perhaps it's because Frost is now "out of his element," but he comes across as a more interesting, and somewhat more flawed, person.
It's a nice bit of character development for an exciting series.
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