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Any Approaching Enemy: A Novel of the Napoleonic Wars by [Worrall, Jay]
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Any Approaching Enemy: A Novel of the Napoleonic Wars Kindle Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 45 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Worrall brings dashing British naval Capt. Charles Edgemont back in this clever sequel to Sails on the Horizon. This time out, Edgemont joins rear admiral Horatio Nelson's squadron in the Mediterranean to search for a French fleet up to no good. When a storm scatters the squadron, Edgemont sails his frigate, Louisa, in search of Nelson—a search that becomes even more crucial when he learns the location of the French fleet at Alexandria, Egypt, from an English spy. After a series of adventures and misadventures, Edgemont finally stumbles on Nelson, and the squadron sails to Alexandria where it engages the French fleet in one of history's great naval battles—the Battle of the Nile. Worrall is well-versed in nautical history and writes with scrupulous authenticity without confusing the novice (despite the occasional "Haul the reef cringle"). The arrival on board of Edgemont's new wife, Penny, an independent and headstrong Quaker, gives Worrall an opportunity to have some fun as Penny attempts, as she says to Edgemont, to "manage thy properties." Combining engaging characters, witty dialogue and rousing action, Worrall's nautical series continues its promising start. (On sale Apr. 18)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Worrall serves up a suitably salty tale featuring Napoleonic-era naval captain Charles Edgemont, the hero of Sails on the Horizon (2005). This time around, Edgemont is part of Admiral Horatio Nelson's fleet, patrolling the Mediterranean. When a storm blows the fleet off course, wreaking havoc on the individual ships, Edgemont and the stalwart crew of the Louisa are determined to locate the missing Nelson. The military action culminates at Alexandria, Egypt, where Nelson and company engage the French fleet in the legendary Battle of the Nile. The author works in an intriguing personal angle when Edgemont's new pacifist Quaker wife, Penelope, joins her husband on board. Fans of the late, great Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin series will relish this historically faithful seafaring adventure. Margaret Flanagan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • File Size: 818 KB
  • Print Length: 290 pages
  • Publisher: Random House (December 18, 2007)
  • Publication Date: December 18, 2007
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000S1M4WI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #56,215 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Lynn Harnett on May 15, 2006
Format: Hardcover
With a nod to Patrick O'Brian - Jack Aubrey even makes a cameo appearance - Jay Worrall's second Charles Edgemont novel combines rousing adventure on the high seas with historical detail, ethical conflict and romance.

It's 1798 and, though only in his mid-twenties, Charles is captain of his own 28-gun Frigate, "Louisa." The war with France is deadlocked, with France's maverick young general, Napoleon Bonaparte, winning on land, and Britain controlling the seas. But Napoleon conceives of a plan to upset the balance by amassing a large French fleet to invade Egypt by sea, and then move his force into India to attack British possessions there.

As the story opens, Admiral Horatio Nelson's small squadron of seven ships (one of which is Charles' "Louisa") in the Mediterranean has just gotten wind of the French build-up and received orders to investigate the French naval base at Toulon. But before they can get underway, a horrific three-day storm (which Charles spots before anyone else) scatters the ships. While a rendezvous had been agreed in case of just such an eventuality, the anxious Nelson has not waited.

The badly damaged senior of the frigates at the rendezvous decides that Nelson has returned to Gibraltar and orders the rest of the squadron to follow suit. But Charles and the other captains convince him to let the "Louisa" check in at Toulon first before meeting up at Gibraltar.

Nelson is not at Toulon, but Charles does not follow his orders and return to Gibraltar. Instead he follows the rumors and goes looking for Nelson and the French, spending several months avidly wandering the seas and coasts and getting into plenty of excitement along the way - not all of it military.
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Format: Hardcover
I don't know a lot about naval history, but I do know Quaker history, and I'm so tired of seeing Quakers--especially women--depicted as meek and retiring, which was so much not the case! They travelled the world, unaccompanied by men, raising all sorts of ruckus. So I hugely enjoyed watching Captain Charles Edgemont's reaction to having his wife (not a Quaker himself, he had no idea what he was getting into when he married her!) appear on the scene, accompanied by Molly, the former prostitute she redeemed and took under her wing in the first book of the series. Poor Charles has no idea what he's gotten himself into, and of course there is the small matter of French warships to be dealt with as well!

In "Persuasion," Jane Austen, whose brothers were in the British Navy during the same period in which this novel is set, created a very likable admiral's wife who had lived aboard with her husband, but even the lively Mrs. Croft was no Penelope Brown Edgemont.

I enjoyed Worrall's earlier book, "Sails on the Horizon," but this sequel is edgier and more suspenseful. In addition to figuring out what to do with his wife, Edgemont is saddled with a rebellious first lieutenant. His previous first officer, Bevan, now has his own ship, but there are regular opportunities to continue their witty repartee. And the final, exciting battle scene, resolves a mystery of the Napoleonic Wars that even I had heard about.
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Format: Hardcover
Once again, Worrall has shocked the literary community, including (but likely not limited to) his own children, who, in a bizarre example of a phenomenon known as role-reversal multiplicity, were convinced that their father would never amount to anything twice.

In Any Approaching Sequel, the leading characters are forced to contend with their contrasting (or at least significantly different) value systems while trying to survive the rigors of life at sea (large boats, crusty sailors, no TiVo, the French).

Without giving away too much plot, it's safe to say that the reader (that's you, right?) will be able to comfortably enjoy reading a novel in the genre they love (just like in Sails on the Horizon, you actually feel like you're at sea while you read the book, especially if you read in the pool) while experiencing a plot that C.S. Forester and Patrick O'Brian have not penned themselves.

If you enjoyed Sails on the Horizon, you should buy this book. If you have not yet enjoyed Sails on the Horizon, the best plan is to buy both books (better odds). If you didn't like Sails on the Horizon... well, you probably bought one from a bad batch, so the best plan is to keep trying until you get a copy that works for you. Also, you probably aren't reading this review.
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Format: Hardcover
I loved this book! I liked it even better than "Sails on the Horizon", the first book in the series. The characters are real, multi-dimensional, and believable. The scenes at the Battle of the Nile were very real. Worrall clearly knows his wooden ships and the people who sailed in them. I can hardly wait for the next one.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you have discovered Patrick O'Brien, you have probably devoured the twenty or so Aubrey/Maturin volumes followed in prompt succession by the Hornblower novels of Forester. If you have not, then even Mr. Worrall will forgive your putting his book down while you promptly have the literary experience of a lifetime--they are that good. Indeed, young Aubrey makes a cameo in this book. Unfortunately, because the bar has been set so high, the efforts of other authors to create works in this genre often fail to measure up.

Three cheers, then, for Mr. Worrall who has convincingly demonstrated in this second book of his Charles Edgemont series that he has the potential to stand with the best. This second work focuses a bit more upon the characters and a bit less on the action, which though it seems to disturb other reviewers is actually quite necessary. Without engaging and fully-developed characters, the action is merely an historical recital. Too many books of the genre rely entirely upon the author's encyclopedic knowledge of nautical arcana while forgetting that the reader has to be invested in the story.

Mr. Worrall succeeds because his characters are moral and good yet complex enough to remain interesting. He is also unafraid to introduce the reader to the great Admiral Nelson to a degree curiously avoided by other authors. Though the surprise appearance of Mrs. Edgemont was somewhat contrived, the marriage of our protagonist makes for a narrative free from the cheesy romance-novel type of story that traps many other works of this genre.

I have very, very high hopes for this series and highly recommend both of the volumes completed to date.
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