The title of this novel and the artwork on the dust jacket are both a bit misleading. One may get the impression that this is a novel of naval action. There is a little of that, but it is mostly historical fiction set during the time of the emerging United States, when politicians were thrashing out the details of the U.S. Constitution (with disagreements and meetings that seemed to drag out endlessly), and US maritime commerce was emerging on the world scene with cut-throat competition with European powers, problems with the British Navigation Act and Orders in Council, and attacks on merchantmen by Barbary pirates wanting ransoms for crews, etc. One can find parallels in today's world, with the US Congress seemingly in endless bickering over the deficit, while Somali pirates seize ships and hold crews and ships for ransom.
The novel is well researched historically, and you will get some interesting insights through the viewpoint of the main character Richard Cutter as he deals with British interference with free trade, family affairs back in Massachusetts, and attempts to negotiate with Algerian pirates who are holding his brother in captivity. As Richard learns, you can't trust anyone, and their is considerable double dealing and conspiracy. Events, including a confrontation with Algerian corsairs, take Richard into France during a time of economic and political turmoil. He arrives in Paris in time for the beginnings of the French Revolution which is well described by the author.
The novel tends to do some name dropping to include historical figures, but skims over some (he meets Thomas Jefferson in Paris, but it makes no reference to Jefferson's mistress). The novel seems a little unfinished, as dealings with the Algerian pirates are not concluded (but that is consistant with history). He is left fleeing the scene attempting to aid refugees from the Revolution which is evolving around him.
For a good historical book about the time period, readers are referred to George C. Daughan's "If By Sea" which covers the formation of the U.S. Navy, and the U.S. dealings with the Barbary pirates, etc. There was eventually a mini-war between the US and France resulting from the French interference with US commerce. US commerce, or course, would eventually boom when the long war in Europe created demands for US merchant ships.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading "For Love of Country" for the historical insight into this period of history when the United States was a very young country with only the beginnings of a navy, although it already had a strong maritime tradition and leaders such as John Paul Jones and of course, Thomas Jefferson. Both Jones and Jefferson play very probable roles in this second novel of the Cutler Family Chronicles.
The story flows easily and the historical background is sound. I liked the protagonist, Richard Cutler; an old-fashioned hero with honorable values, as he makes his way to Algiers where his brother and other seamen are being held for ransom. An intriguing sub-plot arises in Paris, revealing the hero to have some depth to his character and keeping the reader guessing as to his intentions.
I found plenty of suspense and nautical action in "For Love of Country", but what I enjoyed most was walking through Paris on the eve of the French Revolution, which the author brings to life extraordinarily well. Well-paced, with detailed settings -- I feel like the author has walked the same streets and sailed the same seas as Richard Cutler.
Although I purchased the Kindle version, this is a series I might want to buy in print, because of the lovely cover and book design. Naval Institute Press produces worthy books! Includes a nautical dictionary for the newbies.
In "For Love of Country," Bill Hammond offers a great second installment in his fabulous naval historical fiction series. While the first book in the series, "A Matter of Honor," is a self-contained historical novel focused on the naval aspects of America's War for Independence, this sequel does an excellent job filling in a troublesome gap in our naval history: the period of the early republic, when we had no navy -- or army, for that matter -- by focusing on two aspects of America's fortunes at sea during this period: the early predations of the Barbary Pirates on U.S. trade and the start of the French Revolution. Both these historical events will figure more prominently in later novels in the series. For example, the Quasi-War with France, a direct result of the French Revolution, is the focus of at least the first half of the next book in the series: "The Power and the Glory." For those interested in learning more about the early history of America's raise to a naval war, I heartily recommend both this series, i.e., the Culter Family Chronicles, and this installment.
This is the second book in the adventures of Richard Cutler and the Cutler family. The Cutler family is based in England, the Caribean and America and have interests in shipping, sugar and rum. The books deal with Richard's adventures at sea and the family's fortunes and misfortune's during the troubles of the time.
The first book deals with events around the time of the Revolutionary War. This second book deals with events involving the Barbary pirates and the French Revolution. One of Richard's brothers is captured by Barbary pirates and this book deals with his attempts to free his brother. After meeting with the Dey of Algiers, Richard heads to Paris in order to meet with Jefferson and John Paul Jones and arrives just in time for the storming of the Bastille.
I thought this book was better written than the first, but at about half the size of the first, it left a lot unfinished. Unlike most books, none of the things he sets out to do get accomplished, presumably because the author is waiting on the next book, or the next to finish the story line.
I like the fact the books are taken from an American perspective during the Age of Sail. However, I'm kind of skeptical that anyone would meet and befriend, or be befriended by: Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, both Adams, Lafayette, John Paul Jones, Horatio Nelson, Hancock, DeGrasse, ... The only American, British, or French "names" during the period he doesn't seem to meet are those of the heads of state - George Washington and the kings of England and France.
If you like lively adventure, with a love story or two mixed in and American naval history, William Hammond's second (of what will be five books) about the life and loves of Richard Cutler are for you. There are wonderful characters in Hammond's books that his gifted writing enrich. The "bad guys" are almost as interesting as most of the heroes - but Richard Cutler and his buddy, Agee, stand above the rest. While "all man", we get to see a bit of the feminine side of Richard's character in this book. Let's hope that the third in the series will come out soon! I feel like a Harry Potter addict when it comes to these books.
This second book of what promises to be a very entertaining series concern the fledgling American Navy dealing with the Barbary pirates and the costs in money and ships it took to establish peace. A thorough explanation of the source of "the shores of Tripoli". Very enjoyable.
"For Love of Country" continues the wonderful saga of the Cutler family. Yet again, Hammond tells his story around our history as a young nation and reminds us of the courage, strength, and devotion that make up the backbone of our country. Many thanks for a simply outstanding read. Please don't let the next book in this series be too long in coming!