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Alaric Bond - The Jackass Frigate

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Alaric Bond - The Jackass Frigate

Post by Astrodene on Wed 10 Sep 2008, 18:08

I've ordered a copy of this one so should be able to post a review shortly Captain Thoughtful

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Re: Alaric Bond - The Jackass Frigate

Post by Astrodene on Fri 26 Sep 2008, 07:29

Not posting much at the moment as I'm engrossed in reading this novel. Excellent so far, review soon. Captain Smiling

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Re: Alaric Bond - The Jackass Frigate

Post by Astrodene on Fri 26 Sep 2008, 16:46

Finished this one now. An excellent novel which deserves to be better known. Has a lot of well developed characters which gives good insight at all levels of the ships company and contains probably the best description of the Battle of Cape St. Vincent I've read in a fiction novel. Also seems to be a well developed back story for the characters as you get hints of their past on the 'Proteus' which leaves you wanting to know more. If you haven't read it, I recommend it and I'm looking forward to the sequel.

[EDIT: Broken link removed]


Last edited by Astrodene on Thu 23 Aug 2012, 00:26; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Alaric Bond - The Jackass Frigate

Post by reb01501 on Wed 24 Dec 2008, 11:48

Thanks - I will definitely look for this in the library.


Last edited by reb01501 on Wed 24 Dec 2008, 11:53; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : hmmm - not in the library yet - must be too new)
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My take on The Jackass Frigate

Post by pipester on Mon 09 Mar 2009, 20:52

With The Jackass Frigate (2008), Alaric Bond has stepped into the first rank of writers of historic naval fiction. The story follows the fortunes of the officers and crew of the frigate HMS Pandora, newly built and commissioned, but smaller and more lightly armed than most. After an exciting bit of detached service, the Pandora joins the Mediterranean Fleet under Jervis in time for the Battle of Cape St. Vincent. Bond shows a deceptively easy mastery of the mainstays of Historic Naval Fiction narrative – ship handling, seamanship, shipboard life (both before the mast and in ‘officer country”), gunnery, surgery, and above all, flawless descriptions of both fictional and historic battles. It is, however, the loving and thorough treatment of the principal characters aboard the Pandora that make The Jackass Frigate transcend mere adventure fiction. Many of the Pandora’s people resemble the “stock” characters that, in the hands of lesser writers, stand as cardboard figures that serve only to carry the narrative forward: the sadistic first lieutenant, the rich young captain buoyed by “interest,” the newly-made junior lieutenant, the japing-but-good-hearted midshipman, the drunken surgeon, the up-through-the-hawsehole master’s mate and the heart-of-oak yeoman sailors. Under Bond’s pen, however, each of these men – among others – takes on a real life. The reader comes to see each as a unique individual, to understand his feelings and motivations, and finally to care very much about him. Bond achieves this through the risky technique of frequently-changing points of view. The reader sees in turn through the eyes of most of the important shipboard characters – from the simple boy who tends the manger to the captain, and even Sir John Jervis and Horatio Nelson (well, eye, singular, in his case.) Shifting POV often makes me grind my teeth and sigh in exasperation, but Bond makes it seem sweet and natural. The charming narrative quirks, like the trope that brings us aboard Nelson’s flagship in time for the battle, are worthy of Patrick O’Brian; moreover, they flow naturally from a well-established understanding of the characters involved. Bond’s prose is clear and writerly with none of the awkward little lapses that pull the reader’s attention away from the story. Alaric Bond has laid the groundwork for a great series of Age of Fighting Sail novels and I can only hope that the next one comes soon. I am mystified and disappointed that this book is not available in a handsome hardcover edition and marketed by a major publishing house. Editors take note – somebody has missed the boat on this one!
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Re: Alaric Bond - The Jackass Frigate

Post by RickSp on Mon 16 Mar 2009, 02:01

I very much enjoyed Jackass Frigate as well. Bond's use of multiple points of view and perspectives is original and very well done.

I recently posted a review on the Old Salt Blog if anyone is interested.

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Re: Alaric Bond - The Jackass Frigate

Post by Astrodene on Tue 29 Sep 2009, 19:36

The new Fireship Press edition of this novel, which has been slightly amended to bring it into the Fighting Sail series has now been released. The main change is that name of the previous ship of the main characters ship was changed from HMS Proteus to HMS Vigilant when he wrote His Majesty's Ship and this has been updated.

You can obtain a copy from amazon.co.uk and amazon.com

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Re: Alaric Bond - The Jackass Frigate

Post by reb01501 on Tue 16 Feb 2010, 15:45

I've just finished reading this and I heartily agree with the previous reviews: a very excellent read which I will not hesitate to read again at some point in the future.

However, there are a few minor things that bothered me while reading it, and I would like to discuss them:
Spoiler:

King's failure to report the use of his pistol to the captain seemed to be very out-of-character, given this is the man who braved Pigot's displeasure to report the sighting of the enemy fleet. King's subsequent actions on handling the prize, etc. paint a picture of a mature leader ... so why does he act like a frightened boy when it comes to the discovery that his pistol had been misused? It just did not ring true to me.

I could never figure out why Caulfield had such faith/trust in King. I think showing more of the interaction between the two would have gone some way to explaining this.

Caulfield's failure to report the pistol's misuse to the captain displayed what I thought was a severe lack of trust in the man he supposedly admired. Again, this seemed to be out of character to me.

The resolution of the inquiry was somewhat "pat", but somehow, I did believe it. Very Happy

Banks's failure to express any displeasure, or even disappointment at the failure of his subordinates to report pertinent information greatly perplexes me. At the very least, his confidence in King should have been shaken, I would think ... and in Caulfield as well. The lack of reaction during the inquiry when this information was revealed was very surprising to me.
Again, none of the above detracted from my enjoyment of the novel and I have no problems with recommending this series to other readers.


Last edited by reb01501 on Tue 16 Feb 2010, 22:27; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : typo correction)

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The Jackass Frigate

Post by S.K. Keogh on Thu 01 Mar 2012, 03:19

Thought I'd share my review of Mr. Bond's second book in his fine series: The Jackass Frigate book review
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Re: Alaric Bond - The Jackass Frigate

Post by Joolz on Thu 01 Mar 2012, 09:20

I agree with everything you say. Of all the "new" HNF book series, this one is by far my favourite because it breaks out of the mold. I guess after all these years I am looking for something a little different from the conventional naval hero.
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Re: Alaric Bond - The Jackass Frigate

Post by Alaric Bond on Thu 01 Mar 2012, 20:47

Thanks for the kind words, guys. I'm currently heads down on book five, w/t The Patriot's Fate. Learning much about the '98 rebellion and Warren's action off Tory Island.

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Re: Alaric Bond - The Jackass Frigate

Post by Provost on Thu 01 Mar 2012, 21:37

Oh great, another series I have to get into.

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Re: Alaric Bond - The Jackass Frigate

Post by 80 Winters on Sun 19 Aug 2012, 04:14

Time to begin my 2nd 'voyage' in Alaric's Fighting Sail Series with another 'kindle' book. This time it's The Jackass Frigate, but while I've read the previous postings about this book, I'm still a bit hazy on where it fits in the series. I know that 'chronologically' it comes 2nd (1796), but the original publication date shows it at 2008, which would make it 1st in the series. However, since it's a series that's 'not a continuing series', it doesn't seem to matter.

Though it will be interesting to see if the author's 'style' has perceptibly changed from his 2nd novel His Majesty's Ship. I'll be back......but not too soon as I find these books are a 'dining experience'.
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Re: Alaric Bond - The Jackass Frigate

Post by Astrodene on Sun 19 Aug 2012, 09:51

@80 Winters wrote:I'm still a bit hazy on where it fits in the series. I know that 'chronologically' it comes 2nd (1796), but the original publication date shows it at 2008, which would make it 1st in the series. However, since it's a series that's 'not a continuing series', it doesn't seem to matter.

It is a continuing chronological series though not all principal characters are guaranteed to make it to the next book, and as for the publication date, well you only have to look at the Hornblower series - it was not originally published in date order either.

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Re: Alaric Bond - The Jackass Frigate

Post by 80 Winters on Wed 22 Aug 2012, 22:02

Well, my questions have been answered......now that I've read The Jackass Frigate and 'Yes' I now see the making of a series......and a very good one at that.

I will not 'recount' the positive reviews given by other forum memebers on this novel, but I will 'echo' them. My interest was held from beginning to end and those 'I didn't see that coming' moments certainly added measurably to the story.

I didn't find any 'change of style' by the author from His Majesty's Ship to this, the second in the series, so I'm looking forward to where Alaric takes me next.

I would have enjoyed a brief Afterward on the story, if only to find out the 'genesis' of William Henry Pigot and 'why' he was chosen. In the meantime, this one will fit nicely in my 'kindle library in the cloud' on the shelf titled........'new classics'.
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Re: Alaric Bond - The Jackass Frigate

Post by reb01501 on Wed 29 Aug 2012, 02:21

Does anyone have any comments on my "quibbles"?

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Re: Alaric Bond - The Jackass Frigate

Post by 80 Winters on Wed 29 Aug 2012, 04:53


Spoiler:
I believe that "King risking Pigot's displeaser" is a matter of 'to whom is your loyalty owed'? The answer is simply (and obviously) to the Ship, the crew and the mission, and hence to the Captain. If you don't like a superior officer 'personally', you stay out of his way/limit exposure to him as best you can......but you still 'do your duty'.

King's abilities as 'prize master' do show his professionalism and abilities to improvise and adapt to situations as they present themselves.

As I remember, King did tell his superior (Pigot's replacement) of the existence of his pistol during their conversation on Pigot's death. While he could have brought it directly to the attention of the Captain, by using the chain-of-command, his actions could be considered proper.

As for the actions of the senior officer presiding at the enquiry, who obviously set the tone for the proceedings as well as the final outcome, I find them to be proper for a mature, well seasoned senior officer who had been tasked to hold an enquiry and not one who was tasked to preside over a hearing that came with a predetermined outcome to settle a grudge or provide 'payback'. for an earlier action, slight, insult, etc. (as we seem to see too often in HNF).

Caufield actions and relationships with both King and Banks ring true to me as those of an officer taking over 'premiership' in a less than ideal situation. As the officer responsible for the day-to-day operations of the ship, you must make judgements of the 'quality' of those doing the work as well as the quality of their work. While not 'snap judgements', you do need to make these 'value judgements' fairly soon after assuming that responsibility. I think the fact that Caufield 'believed' that King had committed the murder, but did not report his belief to Banks....speaks volumes
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Re: Alaric Bond - The Jackass Frigate

Post by reb01501 on Wed 29 Aug 2012, 11:55

Spoiler:
@80 Winters wrote:I believe that "King risking Pigot's displeaser" is a matter of 'to whom is your loyalty owed'? The answer is simply (and obviously) to the Ship, the crew and the mission, and hence to the Captain. If you don't like a superior officer 'personally', you stay out of his way/limit exposure to him as best you can......but you still 'do your duty'.
My point exactly. It was more than he didn't like Pigot. My point is, he bravely did his duty despite knowing that Pigot had the power to make his life truly miserable and would not hesitate to use that power.

King's abilities as 'prize master' do show his professionalism and abilities to improvise and adapt to situations as they present themselves.
Exactly Very Happy

As I remember, King did tell his superior (Pigot's replacement) of the existence of his pistol during their conversation on Pigot's death. While he could have brought it directly to the attention of the Captain, by using the chain-of-command, his actions could be considered proper.
Yes, but he did not act in character with his prior actions, IMO. Smile I think "cowardly boy" is an apt characterization of his conduct during that conversation.

As for the actions of the senior officer presiding at the enquiry, who obviously set the tone for the proceedings as well as the final outcome, I find them to be proper for a mature, well seasoned senior officer who had been tasked to hold an enquiry and not one who was tasked to preside over a hearing that came with a predetermined outcome to settle a grudge or provide 'payback'. for an earlier action, slight, insult, etc. (as we seem to see too often in HNF).
Maybe my memory is failing here, but was Banks presiding over the hearing? I thought he was there as a witness ... In any case, after the hearing he treated his subordinates who had withheld vital information from him the same way he treated them before the hearing. I would have expected some consequences ...

Caufield actions and relationships with both King and Banks ring true to me as those of an officer taking over 'premiership' in a less than ideal situation. As the officer responsible for the day-to-day operations of the ship, you must make judgements of the 'quality' of those doing the work as well as the quality of their work. While not 'snap judgements', you do need to make these 'value judgements' fairly soon after assuming that responsibility. I think the fact that Caufield 'believed' that King had committed the murder, but did not report his belief to Banks....speaks volumes
I'm not sure, but you seem to be making my point. This was more than a day-to-day operation was it not? Yes, you need to make snap judgements, but you do not withhold information that might impugn the leadership ability of the commander who you respect more than duty demands. The fact that the commander was unaware of knowledge possessed by his subordinates would not look very well on a performance review, would it. Smile
.

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Re: Alaric Bond - The Jackass Frigate

Post by pauljm on Sun 26 Jan 2014, 19:15

I have only recently managed to get hold of one of Alaric Bond's books, and as it happened it was the Jackass Frigate, even though I normally try and read series in order.

I enjoyed the story, and found the characters to be more three-dimensional than is often the case in naval fiction. I also was glad that the plot did not involve the protagonist dealing with an evil French spy carried over from previous volumes, a plot device that seems to dominate much of naval fiction, despite the fact that in reality (aside from Sydney Smith and Philippe d'Auvergne) RN officers spent most of their time on the mundane tasks of blockade, convoy defence, cutting-out expeditions and the like.

I do agree with 80 Winters' comments on the unlikelihood of a court-martial sweeping under the rug a suspicion that an officer had killed his superior. I have just finished reading an account of the trial of Bounty "mutineer" Peter Heywood, which reinforces my understanding that the 'senior management' of the navy dealt very severely with anything that smacked of indiscipline or mutiny. Heywood was almost certainly innocent of all the charges against him, and had powerful 'interest', yet he was still convicted and sentenced to hang, albeit with a recommendation for mercy. It is hard to believe that in such an environment the suspected killing of one officer by another would go uninvestigated, as pleasing as this may be to our 21st-century sensibilities about natural justice.

I also have a few nits to pick with the Alaric Bond over his use of language...in an effort to provide the reader with the sense of being inside the relatively closed community of the Georgian navy he has introduced naval slang. However, while "premier" is certainly an appropriate nickname for a first lieutenant, I am pretty sure "First luff" is a twentieth-century RN term, not used in the historical period of the book. Similarly, "bull ship" seems a bit too modern ("pusser ship" might be the appropriate equivalent), and I think the use of the phrase "Check, Check, Check", meaning cease fire, only came in with the introduction of director firing many years later, when standard orders needed to be intelligible when sent over the voice-pipe to gun turrets. I would be interested if Alaric Bond has any evidence of the use of these phrases in the age of sail.

However my major quibble is with the use of the term "nationalist" to denote Irishmen who opposed the British control of Ireland at this time. The word nationalist only came into use at the end of the 19th century, and implies a completely different political situation than existed in late Georgian times. I have no doubt that in the late 18th century, refractory Irishmen would have been called "United Irishmen" after the movement that tried to eject the British in 1798.

These are however minor points; overall I enjoyed the book and look forward to reading more in this series.
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