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Alexander Kent general discussion.

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Alexander Kent general discussion.

Post by Astrodene on Thu 21 Aug 2008, 18:52

Having been a Hornblower fan for years and wanting more this series filled a need. Over the years I have eagerly awaited the next book and having read it gone back to the start and read the series again. It's a shame the author published a timeline which forced him to kill Richard Bolitho off but at least he has started to fill in some of the gaps in his career with 'Band of Brothers'


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Re: Alexander Kent general discussion.

Post by Dale Marisa on Tue 07 Jul 2009, 21:08

I have acquired "Sloop of War" at a library sell-off sale (ah, the dilemma. Take the book out and keep it on the shelf for others to enjoy, or let it languish and snap it up when it is sold off for non-circulation?) I tend, however, to read series books in chronological order (which is not always the order in which they were originally published, as you know).

Would you recommend that I shelve this book, therefore, until I've had a chance to read/acquire the previous four books? (I gather that the original first three are now published together as "Richard Bolitho, Midshipman", and that after that Stand Into Danger and Gallant Company before Sloop of War.)
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Re: Alexander Kent general discussion.

Post by Alaric Bond on Wed 08 Jul 2009, 09:10

Alexander Kent is one I would tend to read in order; he relies quite a bit on character and story history, and prior knowledge, certainly as far as later books are concerned, is handy. Saying that, I read and enjoyed Sloop of War when I found a copy in a holiday flat; it was the first Kent I read; taking it out of order didn't do me any harm! What do other members think?

By the way, I tend to get most of my books second-hand - they're cheaper, and usually hardback!

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Re: Alexander Kent general discussion.

Post by reb01501 on Wed 08 Jul 2009, 14:12

I hate reading a series out of chronological order, I'm somewhat obsessive about it. It's been a while since I finished the Bolitho series, but I do seem to recall enough to confirm Borelpeff's opinion - none of the books could really be read as stand-alone.

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Re: Alexander Kent general discussion.

Post by Dale Marisa on Thu 16 Jul 2009, 04:23

Well, I just finished Stand Into Danger, and found it a great read! Much less formal and technical than O'Brian - the language more modern, the action very fast-paced. (I love O'Brian. This is a comparison that does honour to both series.)

Got it from the library. Time to go searching for a (secondhand) copy of my own.
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Re: Alexander Kent general discussion.

Post by Alaric Bond on Thu 16 Jul 2009, 08:41

Yes, Kent is down to earth whereas POB can be a little flowery; I heard him described once as "Jane Austen with salt water". (None the worst for that, it is the kind of backhanded compliment that writers dream of, and you certainly can sink into his work and let the language flow over you.)

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Sloop of War

Post by kramaj on Wed 02 Jun 2010, 06:32

Sloop of War was my first Bolitho story some 37 years ago and is a good place to start as it introduces RB as a captain.

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Re: Alexander Kent general discussion.

Post by Astrodene on Wed 02 Jun 2010, 09:32

I'm another one that likes to read in chronological order, but 'Sloop of War' is certainly one of the better books in the series.

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Re: Alexander Kent general discussion.

Post by andrewstep on Wed 01 Sep 2010, 00:09

I agree that Sloop Of War is agood book, but I certainly believe that Kent should be read in sequence. The character developement that continues from book to book would be lost if started part wy through. Examples would be, Marc Stockdale, John Allday and Thomas Herrick. This is especially important throught the first eight books, not including Band Of Brothers. Just to put it out there, does anyone know of another series that puts as much into character developement through the books and includes promotions through the ranks which I always find worth waiting for.

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Re: Alexander Kent general discussion.

Post by Astrodene on Wed 01 Sep 2010, 00:48

@andrewstep wrote:Just to put it out there, does anyone know of another series that puts as much into character developement through the books and includes promotions through the ranks which I always find worth waiting for.
The answer would have to be yes, particularly some of the newer authors. The promotion aspect might not be so prominent yet but then they are not up to 30 books! The characterisations are certainly strong though. Alaric Bond, Julian Stockwin and S. Thomas Russell are just the ones that spring immediately to mind. I'll leave you to explore them elsewhere (if you have not already read them) and perhaps start a comparison discussion thread in the wardroom to avoid this topic drifting of onto different authors

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Re: Alexander Kent general discussion.

Post by andrewstep on Wed 01 Sep 2010, 01:52

Perfect. Thanks for the suggestions

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Re: Alexander Kent general discussion.

Post by jpkoch on Fri 21 Apr 2017, 18:15

Newby here. I think I read my first Bolitho novel some 35 years ago while I was stationed in Oklahoma. It was A Passage to Mutiny. Since then I read most of the series, but stopped before Richard Bolitho met his end.

Besides A Passage to Mutiny, I think my other favorite Bolitho tale was Sloop of War. As a none sailor, it took my awhile to figure out what the sailing lingo. Otherwise, I really appreciated Kent's attention to detail. My only critique of the series is that the plots became rather formulaic, (at least one land action, corrupt or incompetent superiors, the death of at least one close friend), and in his later books the romance and introspection began to detract. But, as a whole, the series was very enjoyable

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Re: Alexander Kent general discussion.

Post by NewGolconda on Thu 18 May 2017, 07:50

Alexander Kent was my introduction to Naval Fiction, indeed naval history itslef, back in my early days of high school. His books filled many an interesting hour for me, especially in those days.

I would agree that the strength of the novels is not the period nautical terminology. Indeed I sometimes suspect that some of the dinner party conversation in POB books is having a subtle dig at some of the Bolitho books phrasing. PS for anyone wondering how on earth POB did period natical terminology and seamanship so well, look no further than a recently reprinted book by Darcy Lever called "The Young Sea Officers Sheet Anchor", some passages, especially raising the anchor at Lisbon, are very close indeed. My other detraction would echo the issues with the forulaic plots, I would add being cast adrift in a small boat and nearly dying as another element. Bolitho must have had a nervous tick every time he boarded a boat by the end.

But anyway, I enjoyed these books and also the Douglas Reeman books, a real giant, but not perhaps a master, of the Genre.

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