The Invasion Year

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The Invasion Year audiobook

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Review #1

The Invasion Year audiobook free

“The Invasion Year” is the seventeenth, and latest, installment in Dewey Lambdin’s naval adventure series set in the late Eighteenth Century and early Nineteenth Century. Like the previous addition to the series, “King, Ship and Sword”, “The Invasion Year” will be of much more interest to long-time devotees of Alan Lewrie, Lambdin’s roguish and entertaining hero, than it will be to readers who are new to the series.

This novel follows the pattern of its predecessor as the story again takes the form of three loosely connected story arcs, although this time two of the arcs are also broken up into their own disparate episodes. The result is a chronicle of sequential events that don’t necessarily feel like they have a lot to do with each other, nor do they appear to be of much significance.

The adventure begins in the West Indies in late 1803, where Lewrie has just been part of a very successful pursuit and action preventing the French from reinforcing their recently reacquired possession of Louisiana. He participates in the interdiction of the French evacuation of Saint Domingue, then some uninspiring patrol and convoy work, before returning to England. At home, he receives some well-deserved recognition for services to the King (and a little more, due to one of George III’s `wandering moments’) and begins to develop a serious new romantic interest. Then, quicker than he can say “Jack Ketch”, he finds himself back at sea, embroiled in a series of hare-brained schemes and adventures revolving around the threatened French invasion of England. These events are largely inconsequential, although producing enough action to keep the reader engaged for the final third of the book.

There are, as always, many amusing moments in the narrative as we see Lewrie’s world from his wryly cynical perspective. Lambdin still writes for humorous effect and there are frequent payoffs. But this work bogs down in a series of relatively uninteresting events (including the opening sequence off Cap François, Saint Domingue, which appears to have been written primarily for a brief interaction between Lewrie and Lt. Josiah Willoughby, a real historical figure at the event, and their mutual discomfort at discovering a potential familial connection), with no cohesive plot worth noting, many breaks in the narrative to remind us of Lewrie’s past experiences and the relevance of previous characters (some of whom are reintroduced in this work to no apparent purpose beyond, perhaps, keeping up with them), and a couple of glaring factual errors in reintroducing some of these characters. This effort is below Lambdin’s usual high quality of writing.

Readers who have followed Lewrie’s adventures for years should still find this a satisfactory, if uninspiring, read as we follow our hero’s progress through a period of personal and plot development, knowing that some major excitement awaits in 1805. New readers of this series may find “The Invasion Year” a bit muddled and confusing, without enough in the way of entertainment to reward their investment in the story.

Review #2

The Invasion Year audiobook in series Alan Lewrie

Entertaining episode in the saga of Captain Alan Lewrie of the Royal Navy, circa 1804. Once again, I was blown away by the amount of technical detail and period dialogue (naval terminology, early 19th Century, English, etc.) as well as history that is crammed into this series. “The Invasion Year” has more of its share of this meticulous writing, but it is all presented with a steady wit and humor and a host of wonderful characters.

“The Invasion Year” (referring to Napoleon’s threat to invade England) starts with Lewrie on patrol near the island of Hispaniola (where the French have been driven out by their Black slaves), moves on to the shepherding of a huge cargo fleet up the American coast, eventually crossing to England, and winds up with the Captain and his ship, the Reliant, involved in the testing of a number of dubious secret weapons to thwart the French preparations for invasion. There is one terrific interim that brings Lewrie to St. James palace to be recognized for service by George III. This misfires in a hilarious but beneficial way and is followed by the beginning of a new and important romantic liaison.

Review #3

Audiobook The Invasion Year by Richard Stark

In the Invasion Year, Lewrie, as usual, is tied up in various adventures of both a naval and romantic nature. In this book, however, Dewey Lambdin, best illustrates the drudgery of assignment to the Channel Squadron during the Napoleonic Wars while maintaining a bit of excitement – will the torpedoes work? The experiments with “infernal engines” like fire ships and torpedoes offers a peek at the fear induced desperation resulting from Napoleon’s preparations to invade, an effort that was quite serious as demonstrated by the extensive French preparations and the resources assigned to this effort. Only inferior technology thwarted the efforts and we’ll never know if the Royal Navy could have stopped the invasion. We also see another side of the multifaceted Lewrie emerge in his budding romantic relationship with Lydia Stangbourne – will she be the one to tame the Ramcat? Only time will tell.

Review #4

Audio The Invasion Year narrated by John Chancer

OK, so it’s not Aubrey/Maturin…….I get it. It was written by an American, so it’s not as authentic. But, damme, this series is a great read. In fact, I’m glad I finished the series ’cause now I’ll get a decent nights sleep. These are really good stories, set in my favorite genre. They’re a tasty blend of Bolitho, Hornblower, and Aubry/Maturin with a well researched and written hero that’s full of self-doubt and self-depreciation worthy of your reading time. The best thing is, they get better as the series goes along. Sure, it’s a baudy tale. Who imagines that any sailor of that period didn’t have carnal desires travelling the world far from loved ones for years at a time? The author isn’t shy when it comes to including historic figures either. Our hero serves with Nelson, escapes a confrontation with Bonaparte, is patronized by Hood, etc. My only complaint, if the author is listening (highly unlikely), is that the final book was not edited very well. My advice…. read these books!

Review #5

Free audio The Invasion Year – in the audio player below

This installment in the Alan Lewrie series is a highly readable story that provides insight into the formal events of the British court and the Cold War phase of the Napoleonic Wars. Unlike most of the Lewrie books which careen breathlessly from one gun-battle to another with interludes of steamy liaisons, this one is more of an informative stroll in which several of the outcomes are uncertain until the events actually occur. Even the sex scenes are relatively restrained! An excellent read.

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