Book Review: “Ramage and the Rebels” by Dudley Pope

[button color=”black” size=”big” link=” ” target=”blank” ]Purchase here[/button]

With this ninth book in the series, the Lord Ramage Novels reach their midway point. Captain Nicholas Ramage, R.N., is still cruising the Caribbean in his formerly French frigate Calypso, but unfortunately he is no longer under the command of an admiral who owes him a fortune in valuable prizes. Instead, he has to bear with the interference of Admiral Sir William Foxe-Foote, more a politician than a seaman. Foxe-Foote sets young Ramage on the wake of a band of piratical privateers, whose bloody work the Calypsos soon see for themselves on board a ship whose passengers were senselessly slaughtered.

The scent of piracy eventually leads Ramage & Co. to the Dutch-held island of Curaçao—which, owing to the alliance between France and the Netherlands at that time, is enemy soil. But Ramage comes at a particularly opportune moment. The spirit of revolution, stirred up in part by French patriots and in part by self-serving privateers, has spread to the back country of Curaçao. The Dutch governor feels events slipping out of his grip. In desperation, he calls on Ramage and the Calpysos for aid—in effect, surrendering his island to the British without a shot being fired—so that the flames of rebellion can be stopped before they consume the capital city and the ships anchored in its uniquely sheltered harbor.

Getting at the rebels means leading a significant expedition inland, where (apart from the marines) Ramage’s men are not used to fighting. Their land battles with the rebels and privateers are exciting enough; but when Ramage is betrayed by all but a few of the Dutch officials after keeping his side of the bargain, and threatened by a powerful Dutch ship of war to boot, the actions he takes are… well, let’s say “explosive” and leave it at that. He loses some valued men and takes a shrewd blow to the head himself, but he also helps two heartbroken lovers come together, seals the fate of the pirate who had slaughtered those innocent passengers, and acquires an entire island for His Britannic Majesty. Not bad for a frigate on the prowl for privateers!

Recommended Age: 12+