“The Rage of Fortune”

J. D. Davies

I’ve really enjoyed this series, but this book was a big disappointment. Instead of being a Matthew Quinton story set in the Restoration era, it’s set in Elizabethan times, during the lifetime of Quinton’s grandfather. The attempt to fill in the Quinton family history might have worked but for Davies’ decision to write it from multiple points of view, all his main characters having been polite enough to leave complete dramatic accounts that include direct quotes. Not only are the characters’ voices insufficiently unique, but the rapid jumping from one narrator to another doesn’t help tell what is already the weakest story in the series.

I really hope Davies gets the series back on track with the next Matthew Quinton book.

“The Blast That Tears the Skies”

J. D. Davies

Matthew Quinton spends much more time at sea in this book than he did in it’s predecessor, “The Mountain of Gold”. The climax of the action is the Battle of Lowestoft, a naval encounter that I’d never encountered in my reading. I have to admire Davies for setting his fighting sail series outside of the usual Napoleonic setting.

“The Mountain of Gold”

J. D. Davies

Matthew Quinton, Restoration naval captain returns in “Mountain of Gold”. His inheritance is under threat and his sovereign send him on a risky treasure hunt for African gold. Despite that fact that I don’t usually care for naval fiction in which the characters spend much of their time off the high seas, I enjoyed this one and look future to the next book in the series.

“Gentleman Captain”

J. D. Davies

The fact that there’s a large degree of similarity in “fighting sail” novels doesn’t keep me from reading every on I can get my hands on.  Still, it’s nice to see an author come up with a new plot device.  J.D. Davies’ trick is to set the action to the Restoration era and enlist his characters in the navy of Charles II.

The main character is Matthew Quinton, son of a loyalist family, trusted by the king, but with virtually no knowledge of seamanship, despite the fact that he’s a ship’s captain.  This wasn’t unusual at that time, but Quinton’s lack of knowledge is why he losses his ship in the first chapter.  He soon gets another one – loyal gentlemen apparently being in short supply – and the story proceeds.

The book doesn’t live up to the promise of its novel original setting.  It’s two thirds over by the time things really get going and the pieces don’t all mesh smoothly.  However, it is Davies’ first novel, so I’ll read more if the series continues in hopes that his storytelling improves.