Here is the first of my two reviews for August 2009's Historical Novels Review.
When Fortune Frowns
, William H. White
October, 1790. Captain Edward Edwards of the Pandora is directed by the Admiralty to seek out the infamous mutineers, late of the Bounty, and return them to England to face justice. The journey around the world to find and capture the missing mutineers mirrors the journeys of Captain Bligh, the Royal Navy winning through at last, but not without hardship and hard work.
This is a serviceable Age of Sail story, with plenty of scrupulously accurate details. Unfortunately, the pacing is as slow as a frigate in the calms around the equator, and the dialog as stiff as a captain’s neck stock. The characters, including the protagonist, third lieutenant Edward Ballantyne, are one-dimensional and I’m afraid I was never really interested in them or their journey. What pulled me along to the end was the historical detail and the inherent mystery and adventure of searching for the missing mutineers.
The sudden shifts of point of view were hard to digest and the overuse of exclamation marks and random quotation marks distracting. Recommended for Age of Sail die-hards looking for a quick, historically accurate read.