I recently finished reading the fourth book in Mr. Bond’s Fighting Sail series. As with the others before this, I found it to be an enjoyable read. Mr. Bond’s ability to tell a tale from a wide variety of viewpoints without confusing his reader proves valuable in holding the reader’s interest.

What I found surprisingly different about this fourth book in the series is that, although we find ourselves once again with characters from previous books, the setting of the story is not aboard a Royal Navy vessel. Instead the main characters begin the novel outside of the employ of the navy and instead embarking on a journey on an East Indiaman in various capacities. Once aboard we discover that the dubious captain of the Pevensey Castle is a man whom we have met before in the series, and this does not bode well for our “heroes.”

While I enjoy reading Age of Sail novels set in the Royal Navy, Cut and Run‘s East Indiaman setting was a pleasant departure. So far I have not come across a book in the genre that so closely tackles the subject. I thoroughly enjoyed learning more about the machinations of the East India Company, a business that so dominated the shipping during the era of Mr. Bond’s series.

Something I also find refreshing about any of Mr. Bond’s books that I have thus far read is his ability to portray realistic female characters. So often authors in the genre seem completely at a loss as to how to not only write a palatable female character but how to give her worth to the story. Too often they seem inserted into the narrative simply to give the main character someone to bed, and then once that happens the author seems to dismiss them. Mr. Bond gives his women spirit within the confines of his era’s societal acceptability yet they aren’t so outrageously radical that they are unbelievable, nor are they the doormats so often portrayed in novels and non-fiction. And they all have a purpose to the story, a place, a will that helps forward the story. And, just as important, I like reading about them and the balance they give to the male characters. (I admit that I usually prefer to read and write about male characters, for whatever reason.)

Mr. Bond has recently released the fifth book in his series, entitled The Patriot’s Fate. I look forward to continuing on the voyage!


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