Midshipman Bolitho (Richard Bolitho, #1-2)
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Midshipman Bolitho (Richard Bolitho #1-2 omnibus)

3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  1,107 ratings  ·  46 reviews
The year is 1772, and Richard Bolitho is a sixteen-year-old midshipman about to undergo a severe initiation into the game of seamanship. The book follows young Bolitho's adventures as he intercepts and destroys a band of vicious pirates and then is swept away on a dangerous mission through the treacherous stamping ground of smugglers, wreckers, and murderers.
Paperback, 240 pages
Published April 1st 1998 by McBooks Press (first published 1975)
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The Bolitho novels are all good reads, nothing too taxing, but the author has the knack of adding details from the British navy of the Napoleonic age without too much pain. All the crowding of ships, men press ganged into service unwillingly to be molded or beaten into a deadly crew, the rotten food, dangerous weather conditions, the dangers or war, all are included. Occasionally, there's some romance, but this always takes backseat to the struggle to defeat Napoleon.
the first 24 books concern t...more
The escapades of a lowly midshipman of 16 years who distinguishes himself (or would if a lieutenant didn’t hog all his glory) aboard the Gorgon against some slaver corsairs. I’d never heard of this book or author before, but it turns out to be a series of some 20-odd novels. This one was very much an episodic novel, since it ends with TV-serial style hints of the villain’s return and indicates that Bolitho’s career has only just begun. As its own book, therefore, it’s a little unsatisfying. It’s...more
Apr 05, 2010 theduckthief rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People who love naval historical fiction
"On this particular day in mid-October 1772, Richard Bolitho sat wedged in a corner of one of the long rooms half listening to the babble of voices around him, the clatter of plates and tankards and the hiss of rain against the small windows. The air was heavy with mixed aromas. Food and ale, tobacco and tar, and each time the doors opened to a chorus of curses and complaints the keener tang of salt from the waiting ships."

The year is 1772 and Richard Bolitho is a young midshipman newly assigned...more
May 20, 2014 Nente rated it 1 of 5 stars
Shelves: sea, 1
Sloppy, clumsy, incompetent writing.
The characters have no depth, their actions are illogical, their feelings have to be explained in plain words because there is no skill to suggest anything, and even the word choice is frequently very unfortunate.
Nor is the plot anything special to make up for the prose quality. The hero gets pushed around - there are some failures - the mission only progresses because he takes it on himself to disobey orders and choose a better course of action - then finally...more
Could have been an interesting historical novel, but the characters are flat and unengaging. Bolitho is brave, honest, humble, hardworking, skillful, smart, and so on. No flaws. Never makes a mistake. I prefer to read about characters with at least a few flaws so they have to struggle and maybe learn something.
First book in the Bolitho age of sail series. I read this one in French. The translation is quite good much better than the O'Brian books (which I stopped reading in French after 100 pages in the first book). The age of sail era has a lot of good novels to offer readers. Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey/Mathurin series; C.S. Forester's Hornblower series; Bernard Cornwell's Sharpe's series. Alexander Kent's Bolitho series has some competition indeed. It would be unfair to Kent's series to compare it to O...more
Roger Ball
Though naval adventure series such as this was ever something I sought after, I have always enjoyed historical fiction. So when someone happened to leave behind this first book of the series in an airplane seat many years ago, I thought "what the heck, I' m between books and need something", so gave it a try. 30 books in this series later.......I finished them all. :-)
One of the things I found the most interesting was the way the author gave very accurate descriptions of how sailing life really...more
Richard Simpson
The stories about Richard Bolitho by Alexander Kent helped inspire me to join the Royal Navy thirty years ago. They are a great set of naval historical novels which, in my humble opinion, are superior to the books about Hornblower by C.S.Forester because the character of Bolitho is more believable. They are a gripping read and hard to put down.
Meljean Brook
I've only read the first installment so far in this edition. Bolitho's narration felt very disconnected from the story. He felt distant from the events. I would say that it was part of the characterization, of Bolitho trying to maintain some kind of rigid control over himself, except that later Bolitho stories are more emotionally engaged. So I'm guessing that the writing just got better as Kent went along.

It's sometimes difficult to keep interested when the narrator is so bland, but the settin...more
First in the set in the late 18th century, 1772, British naval series tracing the career of Richard Bolitho. Bolitho is 16 years old, been in the navy, a family tradition, for four years and is assigned to a 72 gun ship of the line assigned to duty off the coast of West Africa to deal with pirates.

Novel is a quick easy read and is fairly short, less than 175 pages, giving you views of life in the British navy, routines onboard a ship, as well as the excitement of battle.
Hermann Gucinski
Reading historical fiction of another era allows you to fantasize about life back then without the apparent complications of todays situation, which allows no historical perspective. You can enjoy of for the historical detail, the thrilling action, the existence of heroes that have little ambiguity. Alexander Kent's "Bolitho Novels" are of that genre, and can match most of the others of the days of the fighting ships under sail. The author leaves you hanging at the end of each chapter, and you j...more
I was wanting to read a great series of books concerning serving aboard naval ships during the Napoleonic age and this series fits the bill perfectly. Midshipman Bolitho is the first in a series of books much like Horatio Hornblower series. I enjoyed this first book and found the story light yet greatly entertaining. Mister Bolitho is a man who tries to do the right thing by his men no matter what and shows great character in some difficult circumstances. All in all I look forward to reading mo...more
Tama Wise
Having never read anything from the naval sea stories type genre, this was a little of an eye opener. I pretty much wrote the whole genre off as a rather boring prospect, but this one was a great introduction. Not too long, it has all the zip and pace of an action film, set aboard one of his Magesty's finest ships. Not just a history lesson on setting, it was also rich in its atmosphere on how naval ships of the period ran and operated.
I read this one after reading several of the 'later' books in the series. I enjoyed it but noticed that it has a different tone to the other novels. It has a much more 'young adult' flavour and I wondered if Kent was aiming for a more youtful market with it. As such it's a good introduction to Age of Sail stories but to a reader used to Forester or O'Brien I feel it might be a bit of a disappointment.
Lee Scoresby
I tired of this series quickly, although I kept reading the damned books out of sheer bloody-mindedness. Hornblower and Kydd are far better, and Aubrey/Maturin is better still.

Bolitho is more like Hornblower than the others, but with almost no personality. The way his sailors worship him is not believable. There is little humour or life in this series.

This series is the literary equivalent of comfort food. Simple, full of action, well written. The main character, Richard Bolitho, is a case study in great leadership. A great choice for young people (though undoubtedly more appealing to boys) to learn what it means to be trustworthy, earn respect and be devoted to the welfare of those under one's command.
I picked this up off a free shelf in Iraq. It took me just over 24 hours to read the whole thing. Very well written, and a very easy read.

Although I didn't enjoy it as much as my Julian Stockwin series, the concept is very much the same, and just a little easier to read.

Recommend for anyone interested in Historic Naval Fiction.
Excellent sea adventure about a young man entering into the life his father shared. A great first book to a very interesting story. Richard Bolitho shows what it feels like to be a member of the British Navy. He shares his fears, wonders and anxiety about what it takes to be an officer.
Alex Law
Before reading this book and much of the series I would have said I don't enjoy maritime information, be it novels, history or facts. It opened my eyes and while I don't go sailing or sit at wharfs I plan on reading more of these and enjoying each and every one.
For a biographical tracing of a British naval officer fighting the French, it's the greatest. The storiies move, the characters believable, the situations authentic, romance a necessary evil. Totally delightful. Read them all, in order
Bolitho confronts pirates, hateful and jealous crewmen, his first command, navy discipline and commanding with compassion, smugglers and wreckers. I like the insight given into the loneliness of command and the Royal Navy rank structure.

Nowhere near as good, in style or depth, as Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin novels or even Horatio Hornblower. However, I can't resist a British-Navy-days-of-fighting-sails tale, and I did enjoy this one.
Jonathan Hays
This historical novel is set in 1772 and gives the viewpoint of a midshipman in the King's navy. Only those interested in naval warfare and ships of the line need bother reading it.
There are about 20 or so in the series I think, one day I might get around to reading the rest, the two I've read so far are fast paced, easy reading, and enjoyable.
Anita Williamson
Not as exciting as Hornblower but fun none-the-less. If I didn't have a very good understanding of 19th century naval warfare, I would have been very confused.
I was in the mood for a different sort of series. I thought British wooden ship navy would do it for me. I'll keep reading - it seems decent enough.
Meh. This is a Boy's Adventure Novel, full of dash and excitement but not much depth. Read O'Brian or Forester instead.
Fairly good action, but more of a YA novel. May read more in the series, but not that excited to do so.
Midshipman Bolitho is no Horatio Hornblower, unfortunately. I'll try the next one before I give up though.
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