Under Enemy Colors

Under Enemy Colors

Book - 2007
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Penguin Putnam
A sweeping novel of maritime mutiny set against the backdrop of the French Revolution that evokes such masters as Patrick O'Brian and Bernard Cornwell.

At the time of the French Revolution, one of Britain's most skillful naval officers, Charles Saunders Hayden, is a young lieutenant, the son of an English father and a French mother. His abilities and his loyalty to the king of England are beyond dispute, yet his career seems doomed by his "mixed" heritage and lack of political connections. Consequently, Hayden is assigned to an aging frigate, the Themis, under the command of Captain Josiah Hart, a man known as "Faint Hart" throughout the service.

As the Themis takes to sea to harass the enemy, the disaffection of the crew begins to boil over into acts of violence, and the lieutenant finds himself caught between his superior and a crew pushed toward mutiny. A revolution at sea ensues, and Hayden is wrenchingly torn between honor and duty, as the magnificent Royal Navy engages the French in a centuries-old struggle for power.

This is a novel that satisfies on all levels, and will be loved by a wide range of readers: Patrick O'Brian's adoring literary following, as well as readers who love Bernard Cornwell, Steven Pressfield, and Jeff Shaara. Its scenes of maritime warfare match, and even surpass, O'Brian's for majesty and drama.

Baker & Taylor
His career challenged by a mixed heritage in spite of his loyalty to the king of England, French Revolution-era naval officer Charles Saunders Hayden finds himself aboard an aging frigate that becomes subject to violent crew outbursts and mutiny.

Blackwell North Amer
Around the time of the French Revolution, Charles Saunders Hayden is one of Britain's most able naval officers, an ambitious young lieutenant born to an English father and a French mother. But despite his abilities and his unshakable loyalty to Britain, Hayden's career is damned by his "mixed" heritage and lack of connections which is how he finds himself assigned to the Themis, a frigate under the command of Captain Josiah Hart - an officer reviled by his crew for both his brutality toward his men and his faintheartedness in battle.
As the Themis takes to sea in search of French warships, Hayden immediately senses the unrest of the crew. Even by the rough standards of seafaring, the Themis is a cruel and desperate place. Men have died under mysterious circumstances, and warring factions among the sailors put the ship at risk, just as the French press their attack. Caught between his superior and a crew pushed toward mutiny, Hayden finds himself in the middle of a revolution at sea, torn between honor and duty, as the magnificent British navy engages the French in a centuries-old struggle for power.

Publisher: New York : G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2007
ISBN: 9780399154430
0399154434
Branch Call Number: FICTION RUSSELL
Characteristics: 486 p.

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dixiedog
Aug 20, 2016

Canadian author - S. Thomas Russell’s first book ‘Under Enemy Colors’ in his Themis Series focuses on lieutenant Charles Saunders Hayden, a man who had an English father and a French mother; England and France were at war. His parentage and lacking of influential friends resulted in him being a Naval Officer with limited possibilities. I have not read the Hornblower books and therefore had nothing to compare this book to. While I found it a little slow for the first 50 or so pages while the author made the reader familiar with the hero of the book, I was delighted that I stayed the course and finished this book; it was simply great reading. I will definitely read the entire four-book series. Senior Doctor-at-Bass! D. A.

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VRMurphy
Mar 08, 2016

I had great hopes, but the first couple of chapters did not make me want to continue. Nothing specifically wrong, just figured if I want to read the Hornblower books, I should just go back to them rather than try a new iteration.

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Eosos
Jun 06, 2014

Of all the naval fiction I have read so far this is by far my favorite book.

Charles Hayden is the product of a English father and a French mother. This is a reoccurring theme throughout the book as Hayden struggles to come to terms with a war that pits him against his beloved childhood home in France. The fact that he speaks flawless French does come in handy in many of the situations he finds himself.
Given the job of being second in command to a tyrannical, cowardly captain, he must find a way to do his duty and avoid losing his career.

The romantic story plays a very small part in the book, much to my relief and there were some great characters from captains to pressed men. There are maybe a few too many convenient situations but the story is action packed and engaging.

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GMorry
Mar 21, 2012

A very rousing historical fiction tale, reminiscent of Patrick O'Brian's great "Master and Commander" series. The second book (which I read out of sequence) is equally good. I hope Mr. Russell intends to write more of these!

o
otterson
Sep 04, 2011

As good as the Aubrey/Maturin series without as much arduous, technical sailing data. Laugh out loud funny in places.

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