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A Game of Bones (The Privateersman Mysteries) Paperback – January 1, 2003
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Unlike some of the other books in this series, this one's less of a mystery and more of a spy novel. It further develops the impetuous and manipulative character of Harry Ludlow, and sees him negotiating with everyone: local smugglers, able seaman, through half the admiralty and even William Pitt himself. This installment also has more action, including a combined land/sea battle in a river with galleys and ships.
Like most of the other sea heroes (Alan Lewrie, Horatio Hornblower and Jack Aubrey, in particular), Harry's luck on land is not what it is at sea. Although in this book, it could be argued Harry makes his own "luck" at sea and on land.
Read the first five of these books first. They tell one long story in episodes, much like other nautical fiction series. After Aubrey, Kydd and Hornblower, Harry Ludlow's my favorite sea officer. The novels move along with crisp dialogue and excellent nautical action. The fourth Thomas Paine Kydd book, "Mutiny", by Julian Stockwin, covers the same events from a rather different perspective, and I think gives a better perspective on the mutiny itself.
Much of the plot material has been used before. Patrick Obrien's novel "Post Captain" found Captain Aubrey in debt after his bank failed, and sent him on a quest for prize money to satisfy his debts. Various novels have included fictional accounts of the mutinies at Spithead and the Nore (See C. Northcote Parkinson's "The Fireship," Richard Woodman's "A King's Cutter," etc.), although this novel puts a different spin on the story.
This is a readable novel, although the hero comes across as a somewhat boneheaded fumbler at times, who gets his men killed to satisfy his quest for gold. It seems to alter history in some areas, e.g., I recall that a significant number of mutineers were hanged after the Nore Mutiny.