The brief respite of the Peace of Amiens is over, and Britain is once again at war with France. Napoléon knows that if he is to win the war, he must invade England, but the Armée d’Angleterre is blockaded in Boulogne by the Royal Navy. Frustrated by British sea power, Napoléon entrusts an alternative scheme to the brilliant Captain Morlaix which if successful, could lead to the subjugation of Britain.
During the Peace, English visitors had flocked to France, among them Midshipmen Stone and Snowden. At a soiree in Paris, they attracted the attention of Fouché, the feared minister of police, who believed that Jack Stone was a civilian when he fought the French in Normandy, and is therefore a criminal.
In the subsequent war, Lieutenant Snowden leads a raid to disrupt France's invasion plans.
I read Paul’s previous book Weymouth Bound, some years ago and enjoyed it very much, so when I saw that I could reacquaint myself with the hero of that story, Jack Stone, I jumped at the opportunity.
Paul knows how to tell a good story, but what sets these books apart is the authenticity. The books are incredibly well researched and Paul draws on his own maritime and historical knowledge when he writes, resulting in something totally immersive. The sequences set at sea are simply wonderful. I could almost feel the deck rolling beneath my feet as I read.
But more than this Not by Sea is a cracking story, set during a fascinating period of history. I came away feeling I’d experienced something special and learned a few things along the way.
If you love all things historical and maritime then this book if for you.