The Naval Adventures of Alan Lewrie, by Dewey Lambdin

I am a lover of books. Among the books I love the most to read, are historical novels. Master & Commander, Sword Song, Masters of Rome, and more, are among my favorites.

Alan Lewrie

is the main character in this series of books by Dewey Lambdin. He is a good looking, brash, impetuous ladies' man and general rakehell. He's also an officer in the Royal Navy where his bravery and quick thinking bring him success as often as they land him in hot water.

From a young midshipman who develops a love for naval artillery to captain of a dashing frigate, Lewrie moves up the ranks as he samples the pleasures of the world and makes his mark as a King's officer!

For more naval fiction, see also the naval fiction overview page!

And to me, there is hardly anything more romantic, intriguing, exotic and interesting then a great naval fiction novel, of course about the British navy during the era of sail. To read about the careers of naval commanders, the battles, the The Kings Coat, by Dewey Lambdinpolitical intrigue, the ships and crews. It is in a class of its own as reading. Not necessarily always great literature, but often - in the hands of a good author - great reading, good entertainment and lots of joy! And while he may not be a C.S. Forester or a Patrick O'Brian, Dewey Lambdin is a good writer, perhaps better than for example Dudley Pope and Alexander Kent! Lambdin's knowledge of the navy and the period is second to none.

The series entitled The Naval Adventures of Alan Lewrie by Dewey Lambdin is just that. Great, joyful reading and really entertaining naval adventures and naval fiction.

The Young Alan Lewie

The series, which Devey Lambdin has written in chronological order, starts with The Kings Coat. This is a book about the young Alan Lewrie, who is brash, somewhat rebellious, and quite a libertine. Seventeen years old he is forced to go to sea as a midshipman in the tall-masted ship-of-the-line Ariadne. Basically his father wants him removed from the scene so that he can spend Alan's inheritance himself. This is a relatively "noir" but very realistic and entertaining story.

The King's Commission, by Dewey LambdinIn the Royal The French Admiral, by Dewey Lambdinnavy the young Alan Lewrie has to learn the ways of the navy or die. In the second book, The French Admiral, we find him on a new ship, HMS Desparate. And, against all odds, and to a large extent to his own amazement, he finds that he is slowly winning the respect of other sailors. Fighting in America, during the War of Independence, he is starting to learn and he shows courage and smartness. As well, he likes what he is doing, feels that he is getting good at it, and his committment to life at sea and in the Royal Navy becomes a fact he has to deal with.

Lieutenant Alen Lewrie

The next two books, taking place in 1782 and 1783, are The King's Commission and The King's Privateer. Contrary to some of the other naval heroes of the historical fiction sagas, Dewey Lambdin's Alan Lewrie lacks strong mentors promoting his career, and is therefore not promoted quite as fast as, for example, Horatio Hornblower and Richard Bolitho. In my opinion, this is an interesting move by Lambdin.

Dewey Lambdin

is a self-proclaimed "Navy brat," has been a director, writer, and producer in television and advertising in Nashville, TN.

Dewey Lambdin is also a member of the U.S. Naval Institute, the Cousteau Society, and the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, and is a Friend of the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, England.

Besides the Alan Lewrie series, Dewey Lambdin is also the author of What Lies Buried: a novel of Old Cape Fear.

In the first of these novels the young Alan Lewrie, now in The King's Privateer, by Dewey Lambdinthe Caribbean, passes the examination board for lieutenency and is appointed first officer on the brig o'war Shrike. His horny nature and popularity with the ladies, however, gets him into tons of trouble. And, indeed, both these books, taking place in the Caribbean and in the far east (Calcutta, Canton, in the trading ship Telesto) are full of battle, love, lust, and learning for the young Alan Lewrie. And in The Gun Ketch (taking place in 1786), Alan Lewrie is back in the Caribbean in his own ship, the Alacrity, a small but The Gun Ketch, by Dewey Lambdin deadly ship. Now, also with the nick name "Ram Cat" - which has not been given him for his love of cats!

In these books, Alan Lewrie is also introduced to and used by spies acting on behalf of the Crown, and drawn into mysterious intrigues and battles that are hard to comprehend for the young sea officer - maybe especially a rouge and a ladies man - of a more geopolitical nature. Alan Lewrie's mostly involuntary affiliation with the guys doing the cloak and dagger work of the Crown is an interesting twist to the tale, much as the association of the mysterious Dr. Maturin in the Master & Commander-series with the same elements (Maturin volunteers, though). All of these books are well well written by Dewey Lambdin - they are all great navy fiction novels.


The young captain

HMS Cockerel, by Dewey LambdinIn HMS Cockerel, Dewey Lambdin does a wonderful job weaving together history and fiction. Alan Lewrie works to get a leg over on Emma Hamilton, and comes face to face with the rising star in France, a guy called Napoleon, as well as the infamous Captain Bligh. Not a small feat!

This is not my favorite in the series, as Lewrie spends too much time on shore for my taste, but it still is an interesting and good book (This book is out of print for the moment, and very expensive to buy used).

A King's Commander, by Dewey LambdinA King's Commander takes place in 1793 and Alan Lewrie has now advanced and is commander of HMS Jester. She is an 18-gun sloop. As always, Lewrie is spoiling for adventure, and Dewey Lambdin lets him sail into Corsica to receive astonishing orders from his squadron commander, the fierce and energetic Horatio Nelson: He is to lure his arch-enemy, French commander Guillaume Choundas, into battle and strike the French spy master dead!Jester's Fortune, by Dewey Lambdin

HMS Jester is also Lewrie's in the next novel in the series, Jester's Fortune. Here, Alan Lewrie and his 18-gun sloop are part of a squadron of four British warships in Adriatic Sea. Britain's forces being stretched thin, the British squadron commander strikes a devil's bargain and enlists the aid of Serbian pirates. Their assistance turns out to be very costly.

Alan Lewrie, the Post Captain

King's Captain, by Dewey LambdinIn King's Captain and Sea of Grey, we meet Alan Lewrie, or Ram-Cat as he is often called, as a Captain of the Royal Navy, with his own ship of the line. Finally Dewey Lambdin has allowed him promotion to rank. Lewrie has - as it is his habit to do - impressed with his bravery. This time in the Battle at Cape St. Vincent, one of the most famous naval engagements in naval history.

However, upon taking over his new ship, Lewrie is faced with a navy wide mutiny. He longs for command of Sea of Grey, by Dewey Lambdin HMS Proteus, but must first win over an old enemy and take back his ship. Eventually, of course, he does, and in Sea of Grey we find him back in the thick of the action in the Caribbean, with ample opportunity to fire his beloved artillery pieces at enemy ships as well as on the slave army of Toussaint L'Overeture. And again Lewrie is being used by the Crown's spies in their strange games. Also, Dewey Lambin lets us meet the newly revived United States Navy in this excellent novel!

Books in the Alan Lewrie series

  1. The King's Coat (1989)
  2. The French Admiral (1990)
  3. The King's Commission (1991)
  4. The King's Privateer (1992)
  5. The Gun Ketch (1993)
  6. H.M.S. Cockerel (1995)
  7. A King's Commander (1997)
  8. Jester's Fortune (1999)
  9. The King's Captain (2000)
  10. Sea of Grey (2002)
  11. Havoc's Sword (2003)
  12. The Captain's Vengeance (2004)
  13. A King's Trade (2006)
  14. Troubled Waters (2008)
  15. The Baltic Gambit (2009)
  16. King, Ship, and Sword (2010)
  17. The Invasion Year (2011)
  18. Reefs and Shoals (2011)
Also - For King and Country (omnibus) (1994)

Havoc's Sword, by Dewey LambdinIn Havoc's Sword, it is 1798, and Lewrie and the crew of his frigate Proteus are still in the Caribbean, as he also is in The Captain's Vengeance. Lewrie has rashly vowed to uphold a friend's honor in a duel to the death. And once again Dewey Lambdin sets him up for encounter with his enemy number one: the brutal and cunning French commander Guillaume Choudas. Also, Alan is mobilized by the agents of the Crown in their deadly and deceitful spy games and used as their pawn. But Alan is learning, and maybe this time they will find that the pawn makes the rules?

The Captain's Vengeance, by Dewey LambdinIn The Captain's Vengeance, Alan Lewrie is up against some of the worst pirates he has ever encountered after a prize ship he has captured is stolen while in harbor. He chases the pirates all over creation; from Hispaniola to Barbados, and far down the Antilles. As well, he is sent on a covert mission up the Mississippi in enemy-held Spanish Louisiana to the romantic New Orleans in search of pirates and prize.

A King's Trade, by Dewey LambdinIn A King's Trade, Alan Lewrie meet trouble of many types. He is now in hot water for "liberating" a dozen slaves from their Caribbean plantation and putting them to work on his ship, the HMS Proteus. He learns that “No Good Deed Goes Unpunished”. Then Zachariah Twigg of the Foreign Office, one of the spies who has often used him for dangerous missions, suggests a scheme that might save his career: recasting the incorrigible captain as an abolitionist hero. And sends him to sea, reckoning that he will be a more sellable hero at a distance. But Lewrie can get into trouble at sea as well! And even being his bestest self, he does!

Troubled WatersTroubled Waters, by Dewey Lambdin takes place in the Spring of 1800. Captain Alan Lewrie is fresh from victory in the South Atlantic, and he is reckoned a hero on par with Nelson in all the newspapers. And back in England, he’s fitting out his new frigate, HMS Savage, the fruits of that victory. She is the largest and best-armed frigate he’s ever commanded. But again trouble is brewing, as it always is when Lewrie is on shore. The Beauman family has filed a lawsuit in Jamaica, and Alan Lewrie has been found guilty. Now he finds himself sentenced to death!

The Baltic Gambit, by Dewey Lambdin

Here Lewrie is faced with a courtroom showdown with the odious Beauman family and the lawsuit that has provided so much trouble for him. The first part of the book finds him on shore fighting this battle. And, of course, there are ladies on shore, and Alan Lewrie wasThe Baltic Gambit, by Dewey Lambdin never immune to feminine charms and entanglements.

Even so, the book is somewhat slow in picking up. Lewrie stays on land for the first 200 pages. In the Admiralty, when asking for a ship, he is even told in no uncertain terms that he shouldn’t count on ever commanding a ship again. Life is not very good to Lewrie! But finally, after a change of leadership in the Admiralty, he gets his ship, the frigate HMS Thermopylae. And now action soon moves to the Baltic area. As so many times before, the naval mission is yet again combined with a diplomatic task, and once again set up by his shadowy mentor, Zachariah Twigg.

The mission assigned to him is to transport two wily Russian noblemen from England to Russia. The purpose of the mission is to try to convince the Russian Czar to not enter into a state of armed neutrality aimed at Britain. As well, Alan Lewrie gets to meet Admiral Nelson and take part in the Copenhagen battle!

The Baltic Gambit is a new great book from Lambdin – very interesting! My only complaint is that there is too little naval action.