Just as Midshipman Alexis Carew thinks she’s found a place in the Royal Navy, she’s transferred aboard H.M.S. Hermione. Her captain is a tartar, liberal with the cat, who thinks girls have no place aboard ship. The other midshipmen in the berth are no better. The only advice she’s offered is to keep her head down and mouth shut – things Alexis is rarely able to do.
I have been putting off reading this book, the sequel to Into The Dark, for a while since I was not too thrilled with the idea of this women hater captain. I have been afraid that it would just frustrate me enough to utterly dislike the book. I was of course no too thrilled with this nonsensical age of sail kind of “science” in the first book either.
I have to say though that I did indeed like this book more than I thought I would. Yes the captain is a first class asshole in capital letters. Not only is he a woman hating asshole but he is a coward and an utter idiot. He is so absurdly incompetent that it is utterly incomprehensible that he could have made captain at all. However, without giving too many spoilers, he is not exactly present for a good chunk of the book which makes the story more bearable. He also does get his due spanking at the end.
That the book was more or less devoid of any believable science was of course not a surprise this time and this probably made it easier for me to digest. Thus I could focus more on all the quaint throwbacks to the age of sale not to mention the age of empires taking potshots at each other every so often. Actually, while reading, I started to quite like these parts of the book not to mention the rather colorful old fashioned language used from time to time. Can you imagine a modern navy where the standard drink for the meals are wine for instance, or a good lashing with the cat is standard practice? The part where the crew runs up and down masts to raise and lower sails still irks me somewhat though.
The book reads very much like a good old fashioned pirate story and actors like Errol Flynn and Gregory Peck started to come to mind while I was reading it. It is a really nice classical adventure story, especially if you are not too bothered by the idiot captain and the “science” parts.
After having finished this book I felt much more like I wanted to pick up the next one, if one is written, than I felt after the first book. It was definitely an enjoyable read for most of the time.