Richard Cutler, General Lincoln, Alexander Hamilton, George Washington, and French Admiral DeGrasse are on the way to the seige of Yorktown, VA. General Cornwallis and his British troops are holed up there waiting for the British Fleet to arrive from New York as I approach the end of this book, the first in a series about the Cutler family. The book is A Matter of Honor by William C. Hammond and published by Cumberland House of Nashville, Tennessee.
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel as I read about the life of Richard Cutler, who was selected by Captain John Paul Jones of the ship Ranger to be one of his midshipmen. Jones and crew set out to wreak havoc among the Brits by raiding one of the English coastal towns and disrupt shipping from the port. The raid was a success, but some of the men didn't make it back to the ship and were captured, Richard among them. The British threw the prisoners in jail to wait out the war. Richard and his fellow prisoners hatch a plan of escape, but the day before they were to put it into effect, Richard is freed in the custody of his uncle, a sugar and shipping magnate in which Richard's father is a partner. They have sugar plantations in the Caribbean and that's where Richard obtained his experience as a sailor as a crewman on his father's ships at a young age.
The escape plan from the prison was a success and one of the escapees shows up at the house where Richard is supposed to be confined. The two men escape and sail to France where they make contact with Captain Jones again, who is outfitting the ship Bonhomme Richard for sea.
In many ways this war reminds me of the American Civil War where brother fights brother and cousin vs. cousin, etc., since the Americans have close relatives on the other side. Anyway, Captain Jones sets sail and runs into a fleet of British ships. He attacks the ship Serapis and rams him and this is where he says "I have not yet began to fight," and the fight is on at close quarters on both ships, with the "Bonnie Dick" being successful and in the process Cutler saves a Brit by the name of Jamie Hardcastle, his girlfriend's brother. Jamie dies from his wounds, but Richard gets points for his heroic act and they take the Serapis captive.
And the plot moves on to Richard in Barbados, now married to Katherine Hardcastle, and life is idyllic until they sail to Tobago and the island is captured by the French. Richard is taken on board the ship of Admiral DeGrasse as a Lieutenant and they end up on land in Yorktown where I began this post.
The next book in the series is For Love of Country, followed by The Power and the Glory and A Call to Arms. Mr. Hammond is a fine writer and does a great job with A Matter of Honor..