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The Bolitho novels are a series of war novels written by Douglas Reeman (using the pseudonym Alexander Kent). They focus on the military careers of Richard Bolitho and Adam Bolitho in the Royal Navy, from the time of the American Revolution through past the Napoleonic Era.

Contents

Richard Bolitho

Richard Bolitho is a fictional Royal Navy officer who is the main character in a series of novels written by Douglas Reeman (using the pseudonym Alexander Kent). Bolitho was born in 1756 in Falmouth, Cornwall, in the United Kingdom, the second son of a prestigious naval family. He joined the navy in 1768. He served in the wars against France and the United States. He was promoted to lieutenant in 1774, captain in 1782, and admiral in 1800. He died in action against the French in 1815.

Among his fellow officers, Bolitho was known for his tactical ingenuity, his daring, and his disregard of both convention and political expediency. He rose to high rank—despite the opposition of less competent men—because of his ability to win crucial victories against seemingly impossible odds. Among the men of the fleet, Bolitho was known as a demanding but scrupulously fair and humane captain. The men sometimes referred to him, though never to his face, as "Equality Dick." His reputation as a paragon of decency in a brutal world created a fierce sense of loyalty among those who had served under him.

Officers and men who served under Bolitho frequently chose, when given the chance, to do so again. Ships in the squadrons he commanded as a senior officer were frequently commanded by men who had served as his lieutenants when he was a captain. His most lasting relationships were with Thomas Herrick—a fellow officer and his oldest friend—and John Allday, a former Cornish shepherd who became Bolitho's coxswain and de facto bodyguard.

Bolitho married twice. His first wife died in a carriage accident. His relationship with the second, the mother of his child, deteriorated when it became clear that she was nothing like the person he thought he married and was a very selfish individual. Estranged from her and his daughter, he carried on an increasingly public affair with Lady Catherine Somervell, who was his wife in all but name until his death.

Adam Bolitho

Adam Bolitho is a fictional Royal Navy officer who is the main character in a series of novels written by Douglas Reeman (using the pseudonym Alexander Kent), succeeding the previous main character Richard Bolitho.

In "Enemy In Sight", Richard Bolitho is joined by his nephew Adam Pascoe, who is later renamed Adam Bolitho when he becomes Richard's heir. Adam, the only son of Richard's disgraced older brother Hugh, was born in 1780 in Penzance, Cornwall, shortly after his father joined the revolution in America. Having been sent to Richard at the age of 14 by his dying mother, he joined the Royal Navy, rising through the ranks to establish himself as a daring and resourceful frigate captain, as his uncle had once done.

Adam's role in the series steadily increases as Richard ages and achieves high rank. After Richard's death, he becomes the principal character in the series.

Books in the Series

Novels of the series
Title Publication date ISBN Internal chronology Notes
Richard Bolitho, Midshipman 1975 1772
Midshipman Bolitho and the 'Avenger' 1978 1773
Band Of Brothers 2006 1774
Stand Into Danger 1980 1774
In Gallant Company 1977 1777
Sloop Of War 1972 1778
To Glory We Steer 1968 1782
Command a King's Ship 1973 1784
Passage To Mutiny 1976 1789
With All Despatch 1988 1792
Form Line of Battle 1969 1793
Enemy In Sight! 1970 1794
Flag Captain 1971 1797
Signal - Close Action! 1974 1798
The Inshore Squadron 1977 1800
A Tradition Of Victory 1981 1801
Success To The Brave 1983 1802
Colours Aloft! 1986 1803
Honour This Day 1987 1804
The Only Victor 1990 1806
Beyond The Reef 1992 1808
The Darkening Sea 1993 1809
For My Country's Freedom 1995 1811
Cross Of St. George 1996 1813
Sword of Honour 1998 1814
Second to None 1999 1815
Relentless Pursuit 2001 ISBN 9780434008841 1815
Man of War 2003 ISBN 9780434010080 1817
Heart of Oak 2007 ISBN 9780434013517 1818

There were also some omnibus editions which collected several books from the series into one volume

Anthologies of the series
Title Publication date ISBN Volumes included Notes
Midshipman Bolitho
  • Richard Bolitho, Midshipman
  • Midshipman Bolitho and the 'Avenger'
Captain Richard Bolitho, RN 1978
  • Sloop Of War
  • To Glory We Steer
  • Command a King's Ship
Bolitho
  • Colours Aloft
  • Honour This Day
  • The Only Victor
The Bolitho Omnibus 1991 ISBN 0091751187
  • Stand Into Danger
  • In Gallant Company
  • Sloop of War
Bolitho 1993 ISBN 0434000248
  • With All Despatch
  • Honour This Day
  • The Only Victor
The Complete Midshipman Bolitho 2006 ISBN 978-1590131275
  • Richard Bolitho, Midshipman
  • Midshipman Bolitho and the 'Avenger'
  • Band Of Brothers

Synopsis of books in the series

The Complete Midshipman Bolitho (1772-1774)

KENT, Alexander, Richard Bolitho, Midshipman, London, Hutchinson, 1st Edition, 1st printing, 1975, 159 p.

In 1772 he joins H.M.S. Gorgon, a seventy-four-gun ship-of-the-line, as the 4th midshipman under Captain Bevis Conway. After a cutting-out operation in which H.M. Brig Sandpiper, fourteen guns, is retaken Bolitho finds himself trust in command after both lieutenants leading the operation are incapacitated. Soon the Sandpiper is chased by the corsair's Chauvin's twenty-four gun frigate Pegaso. Bolitho sees no other solution than to steer a course trough the reef. Weakened by the Pegaso's shots through their upper rigging they succeed in wearing ship and with a couple of careful shots from their aftermost six-pounders they bring down the enemy's jib, staysail and topgallant mast. Although Pegaso keeps approaching it slowly founders and pirates are jumping ship through the open gun ports. Tregorren, one of the incapacitated lieutenants, claims the positive outcome. Ultimately the captain acknowledges that 'you in particular acted with the finest qualities of a King's officer' and promising to 'mention as much in his report to the admiral.'

Ships in which Bolitho serves

Ships served on by Richard Bolitho
Book Ship Guns Class Captain Rank Year
HMS Manxman 90 Second Rate Ship of the Line Captain Sir Henry Langford Midshipman 1768-1772
Richard Bolitho, Midshipman HMS Gorgon 74 Third Rate Ship of the Line Captain Beves Conway Midshipman 1772
Midshipman Bolitho and the 'Avenger' HM Cutter Avenger 10 Cutter Lieutenant Hugh Bolitho Midshipman 1773
Band Of Brothers HM Schooner Hotspur 14 Armed Schooner Lieutenant Montagu Verling Midshipman 1774
Stand Into Danger HMS Destiny 28 Frigate Captain Henry Dumaresq Lieutenant 1774
In Gallant Company HMS Trojan 80 Third Rate Ship of the Line Captain Gilbert Pears Lieutenant 1777
Sloop Of War HM Sloop Sparrow 18 Sloop of War Commander Richard Bolitho Commander, Junior Captain 1778-1781
To Glory We Steer HMS Phalarope 32 Frigate Captain Richard Bolitho Post Captain 1782
Command a King's Ship HMS Undine 32 Frigate Captain Richard Bolitho Post Captain 1784
Passage To Mutiny HMS Tempest 36 Frigate Captain Richard Bolitho Post Captain 1789
With All Despatch HM Cutter Telemachus 12 Cutter Lieutenant Joe Paice Captain-in-Chief 1792
With All Despatch HM Cutter Snapdragon 12 Cutter Lieutenant Hector Vatass Captain-in-Chief 1792
With All Despatch HM Cutter Wakeful 12 Cutter Lieutenant Charles Queely Captain-in-Chief 1792
Form Line of Battle!
Enemy In Sight!
HMS Hyperion 74 Third Rate Ship of the Line Captain Richard Bolitho Post Captain 1793
The Flag Captain HMS Euryalus 100 First Rate Ship of the Line Captain Richard Bolitho Flag Captain 1797
Signal - Close Action! HMS Lysander 74 Third Rate Ship of the Line Captain Thomas Herrick Commodore 1798
The Inshore Squadron
A Tradition of Victory
HMS Benbow 74 Third Rate Ship of the Line Captain Thomas Herrick Rear-Admiral 1800- 1801
Success To The Brave HMS Achates 64 Third Rate Ship of the Line Captain Valentine Keen Vice-Admiral 1802
Colours Aloft! HMS Argonaute 74 Third Rate Ship of the Line Captain Valentine Keen Vice-Admiral 1803
Honour This Day HMS Hyperion 74 Third Rate Ship of the Line Captain Edmund Haven
Captain Valentine Keen
Vice-Admiral 1804-1805
The Only Victor
Beyond The Reef
HMS Black Prince 90 Second Rate Ship of the Line Captain Valentine Keen Vice-Admiral 1806-1809
The Darkening Sea HMS Valkyrie 42 Frigate Captain Aaron Trevenen Vice-Admiral 1809-1810
For My Country's Freedom HMS Indomitable 44 Razee Captain James Tyacke Admiral 1811-1812
Ships served on by Adam Bolitho
Book Ship Guns Class Captain Rank Year

References

See also

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