S. Thomas Russel

G.P. Putnam’s Sons, $26.95, 464 pages

A Battle Won is thoroughly enjoyable. Following in the fictional footsteps of Jack Aubrey and Horatio Hornblower, Thomas Russell’s fighting sailor Captain Charles Hayden more than holds his own. No morose, dour self-reflection for this one, Captain Hayden is a capable officer, if neglected by the Admiralty. A Battle Won is the second novel to feature the good Captain and the misfit and Ne’er-do-well crew of H.M.S. Themis. This time their adventure takes them from the English Channel to the isle of Corsica in the Mediterranean. Our hero plays a deadly game of Cat and Mouse with a squadron of French frigates and an enormous 74-gun Man of War. There are naval gun battles, much sailing derring-do, and gratefully, many a buckle finds its swash. There’s even a a whiskey-laden golf match in a cow field, that left this reviewer laughing out loud. I deeply enjoyed my time with the Themis, I can’t wait for the next in what promises to be a long, cheerful series.

Reviewed by Bradley Wright