Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book
Rate this book
It is 1757, and the British navy is regrouping from a slow start to the seven years war.A Spanish colonial governor and his family are pursued through the Caribbean by a pair of mysterious ships from the Dutch island of St. Eustatius. The British frigate Medina rescues the governor from his hurricane-wrecked ship, leading Captain Edward Carlisle and his first lieutenant George Holbrooke into a web of intrigue and half-truths. Are the Dutchmen operating under a letter of marque or are they pirates, and why are they hunting the Spaniard? Only the diplomatic skills of Carlisle’s aristocratic wife, Lady Chiara, can solve the puzzle.When Carlisle is injured, the young Holbrooke must grow up quickly. Under his leadership, Medina takes part in a one-sided battle with the French that will influence a young Horatio Nelson to choose the navy as a career.The Jamaica Squadron follows The Colonial Post-Captain and The Leeward Islands Squadron as the third of the Carlisle and Holbrooke naval adventures. The series will record the exploits of the two men through the Seven Years War and into the period of turbulent relations between Britain and her American colonies in the 1760s.

335 pages, Paperback

Published September 13, 2018

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Chris Durbin

13 books52 followers
Chris Durbin grew up in the seaside town of Porthcawl in South Wales. His first experience of sailing was as a sea cadet in the treacherous tideway of the Bristol Channel, and at the age of sixteen, he spent a week in a topsail schooner in the Southwest Approaches. He was a crew member on the Porthcawl lifeboat before joining the navy.

Chris spent twenty-four years as a warfare officer in the Royal Navy, serving in all classes of ship from aircraft carriers through destroyers and frigates to the smallest minesweepers. He took part in operational campaigns in the Falkland Islands, the Middle East and the Adriatic. As a personnel exchange officer, he spent two years teaching tactics at a US Navy training centre in San Diego.

On his retirement from the Royal Navy, Chris joined a large American company and spent eighteen years in the aerospace, defence and security industry, including two years on the design team for the Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers.

Chris is a graduate of the Britannia Royal Naval College at Dartmouth, the British Army Command and Staff College, the United States Navy War College (where he gained a postgraduate diploma in national security decision-making) and Cambridge University (where he was awarded an MPhil in International Relations).

With a lifelong interest in naval history and a long-standing ambition to write historical fiction, Chris has embarked upon creating the Carlisle & Holbrooke series, in which a colonial Virginian commands a British navy frigate during the middle years of the eighteenth century.

The series will follow its principal characters through the Seven Years War and into the period of turbulent relations between Britain and her American Colonies in the 1760s. They’ll negotiate some thought-provoking loyalty issues when British policy and colonial restlessness lead inexorably to the American Revolution.

Chris now lives on the south coast of England, surrounded by hundreds of years of naval history. His three children are all busy growing their own families and careers while Chris and his wife (US Navy, retired) of thirty-seven years enjoy sailing their classic dayboat.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
567 (58%)
4 stars
326 (33%)
3 stars
60 (6%)
2 stars
7 (<1%)
1 star
3 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 30 reviews
Profile Image for Edoardo Albert.
Author 52 books130 followers
April 11, 2020
The third instalment in Chris Durbin's Carlisle and Holbroke naval adventures set during the Seven Years' War, the global conflict that saw Britain vault up to the top-rank of world powers on the back of the superb seamanship and extraordinary, not to say reckless, courage of its Navy. The first novel in the series deals with the Menorca debacle that saw, extraordinarily, an Admiral of the Blue, Admiral Byng, court martialled and executed for desertion in the face of the enemy. The aftermath of that, naturally, was that British admirals were inclined to attack, whatever the odds, and the end result was British naval dominance. This book follows Captain Carlisle and Lieutenant Holbroke to the Caribbean and a series of well-drawn adventures there, based on excellent historical research and naval knowledge. While not quite in the top drawer in terms of writing (although not far off), Chris Durbin makes up for this in nautical nous - he really knows ships and the men who sailed them.
Profile Image for Steven Toby.
169 reviews
February 9, 2019
This is the third book of the series about Capt. Carlisle and Lt. Holbrook of the Royal Navy in the French and Indian War (Seven Years' War in British literature). This is even better than the last one, continuing the close reliance on historical research and improving the clarity of the naval battles to nearly a Hornblower-like pitch. It's an action-packed naval adventure with some neat twists and turns. The author obviously knows the Caribbean very well and the local color is superb. Details of the ships and tactics ring true in almost every respect. It's also clear Lt. Holbrooke is headed for an independent command and we are led to wonder how this could affect the Captain. I'm looking forward to how that plays out in future books, as the author says he's planning on taking his characters past the treaty that ended the war in 1763. I also liked the Historical Note that tells us the outcome of the campaign (yes, it really happened). I was wondering why the French admiral's name, de Kersaint, seemed so familiar -- he was a real person. Carlisle and Holbroook are fictional.

I have only a couple of tiny nits to complain about in this one. One is that a square rigger "hardening up sheets and tacks" to come closer the wind seems anachronistic. Surely it is braces that are handled to trim the principal sails, the square topsails and courses -- unless seamen of the period hardened in the sheets to FLATTEN the sails for better pointing ability? Maybe! Second, 1757 seems really late for a frigate to carry a Lateen mizzen. Certainly, in Chapelle's "American Sailing Ships" there's a drawing of a "Frigate, 1760" with a gaff spanker. Ships of the line were still carrying Lateens up to the Revolution, but I think smaller ships had already switched over.

Enough said -- this is a good read for those suffering withdrawal symptoms after the deaths of C.S. Forester and Patrick O'Brian. Our fix of naval action is here!
30 reviews1 follower
January 14, 2023
Good Yarns

As a big fan of this genre I was interested to find a series that moved a couple of generations earlier than the norm. The bar is pretty high here, because it is populated by the likes of Aubrey/Maturin, Ramage, Bolitho etc. so it's tough to stand out. I feel this does. Aside from being in the Seven Years War, a period sadly neglected. It is well written, with a cast of balanced, believable characters who develop over the course of the previous two stories in a pleasing way.

The descriptions of the action are well paced and exciting. Also the sailing, weather and locations are described vividly.

I like the way the adventures of Capt. Carlisle et al are interwoven with the real history them being on the periphery but not actually affecting the results. The little sections setting the scene before and after really add to the "reality" of the world.

It will be really interesting to see how things develop over the rest of the series. So far, so very good!
146 reviews1 follower
April 18, 2022
a Fanboy of C. Durbin

This latest book in the Carlisle - Holbrook series has pulled me in to the series and has made me an unabashed cheerleader for our two protagonists. Also, the delightfully 21st century Outlander wife of Capt Carlisle is a character I hope is carried forward in Durbin’s following novels in the series.

As a retired navy man, I absolutely understand the meanderings of naval policies and strategies that truly appear to be working against each other. I was blessed with working and living with naval personnel who were more human than the stuffed shirts you see too often in positions of power.
93 reviews1 follower
September 10, 2020
Important but little known war brilliantly brought to life

This third installment of the Carlisle & Holbrooke series maintains the action and pace of the previous volumes as it adds new twists and turns in this story of the Seven Years War. Durbin’s interest in his characters, and the tactical/strategic genius of the naval action make this story hard to put down.

I also very much appreciate the maps, lists of characters (distinguishing the historic from the fictional), and the historical context for those who are interested. I highly recommend the series.
178 reviews1 follower
August 18, 2022
Carlisle and Holbrooke in HMS Medina are assigned to the Jamaica Station. After rescuing the Spanish Governor of Florida from a pirate attack in the Caribbean, they are ordere to return the governor and his family to St. Augustine. After Carlisle is wounded in a battle with pirates, Holbrooke is given temporary command of Medina. At the harbor of Cape Francois on the north shore of Hispaniola, Medina and other British ships try to prevent the successful sailing of a French convoy returning to France.
Profile Image for Stephen.
284 reviews2 followers
September 8, 2021
Another thrilling tale of Carlisle and Holbrooke

I thoroughly enjoy these books. Chris Durbin is a fine writer producing readable, thrilling, page turners that are centred on historical accuracy. The accompanying website of Naval terms of the time is invaluable and aids the understanding of the sailing of these great ships. I look forward to further books in the series. Carlisle and Holbrooke are fitting companions to Hornblower, Aubrey and Maturin, and Killigrew, et al.
Profile Image for gerry.
320 reviews2 followers
December 29, 2020
I am enjoying this series

Military life back in the 1700s was probably just as complicated as it is today, despite all the technological advancements. Humans remain true: some are honest and some are not able to follow any code of honor. Fortunately our main characters are honest and excellent leaders. Insert politics and the plot becomes dramatic. The author's glossary of maritime terms has been extremely helpful.
35 reviews
August 27, 2021

Continue to enjoy this series covering a little known era when America was still a group of colonies. Appreciate the accuracy and detail (having sailed a racing schooner and owned property {St Lucia} in the Leeward Islands). Detail adds credibility to the story, gives it a ring of truth.
Profile Image for Christopher Taylor.
Author 10 books71 followers
February 22, 2023
These stories are more interesting to me than most sea novels, because they are set earlier than the usual Napoleonic era (the first ends with Admiral Byng being hanged on his own quarterdeck). Holbrooke and Carlisle are likable enough, with Carlisle being the more Hornblower expert and Holbrooke the more thoughtful and physically capable of the two.
172 reviews2 followers
October 22, 2018
The British Navy in the Carribean

A well written very enjoyable book. Gods to get back to Carlisle and Holbrook. Very well laid out study of naval intelligence and resulting strategy. Great character study of Holbrook. A great read.
12 reviews
January 25, 2019
Quite interesting as we usually only read about european or far eastern wars

I chose the rating because i probably wont read this again alone.
As a series its quite good but as a stand alone its only of specialist interest.
Im going to read the next one tho'
3 reviews1 follower
February 6, 2019
A good book

First time reading a book from this author. Although our of sequence i found the book to be very interesting and accurate in describing the period. Looking forward to reading more.
Profile Image for Chaplain Stanley Chapin.
1,874 reviews17 followers
September 25, 2019
A little different sea action

It is well known of my preference for sailing ship sea action. Probably brought on by being born and raised in hot, dry, flat Kansas and living near Mystic Seaport Museum in Connecticut, while in service.
50 reviews
June 16, 2020

I've reviewed the two preceeding books in the series, all with five stars. No point in repeating myself. If you like this genre, a le P.O'Brien, and the previous books you'll love this one.
1 review
October 23, 2020
An excellent read once started I couldn’t put it down. Well written. Can’t wait to pick up the next in the series.

An amazing insight into such an exciting time and to naval traditions and actions. Well presented and well worth reading
November 24, 2020
Interesting book

Really good story, good naval battle scenes, with some interesting new characters emerging.
Like the detailed technical sail handling information, look forward to the next book.
February 1, 2021
Entertaining historical fiction.

A very captivating series. Historical fiction at its best. A big shout out for adapting a link to nautical terms used in the Carlisle and Holbrooke books for us non sailors to understand.
16 reviews
June 18, 2021
Great continuing story of life at sea in the early British navy

I truly enjoyed this book! It’s a bit predictable at how it comes out in the end , but still I can’t wait to read the next installment!!
June 21, 2021
Another good yarn

This series of books gets better as it continues through the story of the seven years war with France based on fact of true events , I look forward to the next installment.
1 review1 follower
April 16, 2022
Unusual period and unxcelled sailing exegesis

The characters are interesting if not compelling. What stands out to me is the author's understanding of navigation and the effects of wind and current on a sailing ship. There's nothing better in marine fiction.
17 reviews
November 23, 2022

I love historical fiction, and Chris Durbin does wonderful work in interweaving the historical facts to a fictitious story full of adventure, love and intrigue. Thank you. Very enjoyable!
October 26, 2018
Excellent continuation of the enjoyable series

Thoroughly enjoyed this latest book in the Carlisle / Holbrooke series and look forward to read G the next installment soon.
December 28, 2018
Well researched, well written. An enjoyable look into the culture and history of the British navy of the period. Historical notes are excellent.
243 reviews
February 14, 2020
Another good read

Once again Carlisle and Holbrook battle the French, privateers etc. A thoroughly enjoyable yarn,plenty of intregue and action,but to know more read and enjoy.
33 reviews
November 2, 2021
,Good reading

This the third book in series was as entertaining and interesting to read as previous two,with precise detailing,
and enough action to keep me reading till late.
644 reviews10 followers
August 18, 2019
Historical fiction, particularly that centering on the wooden walls of Great Britain during its conflicts with France, benefits from the greater opportunities e-publishing provides. Books can come out much more quickly as well; between July 2014 and April 2018 Andrew Wareham offered the fourteen-book "Duty and Destiny" series following Sir Frederick Harris while also publishing entries in at least two other series over most of that time.

Enough such novels arrive that the reader might think His Majesty's Navy was crewed by none other than fictional officers, so a wise writer might shift his scene a little in order to stand out from the rest. Chris Durbin does exactly that, setting his "Carlisle and Holbrooke" series during an earlier iteration of the Anglo-French conflict: the middle of the 18th century. There is no heroic Nelson, no magnificent Trafalgar victory and no Napoleon overshadowing things -- in fact, this is the time that will produce those men and events and it's interesting to see the foreshadowing crop up.

Durbin also makes one character, post-Captain Thomas Carlisle, a Virginian. The insular closed society of naval command isn't entirely sure what to think of this colonial outsider, and is often not at all welcoming to him. His First Lieutenant, George Holbrooke, began the series not particularly committed to the Navy as a career except he had failed at most others but has grown in stature, authority and wisdom by the time we open The Jamaica Station, the third book in the series.

Carlisle and Holbrooke, aboard HMS Medina, rescue a Spanish colonial governor while patrolling the waters around Jamaica in a search for pirates and French privateers. Although superficially friendly and obviously thankful, the Spanish official is clearly hiding something. With the help of Lady Chiara, Carlisle's wife, the secret is uncovered, but it still has heavy consequences. When Carlilse is wounded, Holbrooke takes command of Medina to continue the cruise and await the chance to raid an enemy convoy, striking a bold alliance with two English privateers to do so.

In Station, Durbin gives Holbrooke center stage for much of the book, as he did with Carlisle in an earlier series volume. It's a wise choice, allowing the series to unfold a little more deliberately and giving us two different points of view during similar events. The experienced Carlisle handles combat one way while the younger and more impetuous Holbrooke acts differently. Thus a ship-to-ship action is not just a cut-and-paste of the thunder of guns and flying splinters but is given a different life when seen through different eyes.

Durbin is also a deft hand at character sketching, bringing Carlisle, Holbrooke, Chiara and others to life with realistic interior thoughts and winsome manners. He knows how and when to wax witty in a manner matching his time period and its people, and if the whole geography and history of who is one whose side and where sometimes seems cloudy in The Jamaica Station, it was probably more than a little blurred from time to time for those living the events, as well. Durbin has published three Carlisle and Holbrooke novels in just more than a year, so those hooked on the pair's adventures will probably not have to wait long to set sail with them again.

Original available here.
9 reviews
August 5, 2022
Good read

Good read with a lot of historical references period sometimes the words in the texture obviously incorrect period with that does not stop the enjoyment of the book period
Displaying 1 - 30 of 30 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.