Review 1: An Ill Wind by David Donachie

An Ill Wind continues the John Pearce saga with Donald Donachie’s usual panache. Illegally pressed into the Navy, Pearce has risen to a lieutenancy thanks to his intelligence and courage, but he remains a radical firebrand and continues to strive to vindicate himself and to free his friends. Pearce’s nemesis is the odious and pusillanimous Captain Ralph Barclay, who is supported by a coterie of unscrupulous toadies. The struggle with Barclay is tied up with the conflict between Admiral Hood and his second-in-command, Admiral Hotham, as well as the rivalry between Pitt and Fox for control of the government. Pearce and Barclay are pawns in the larger internecine strife and each man’s success depends on being able to advance his patron’s cause. Donachie manages suspense well — how can Pearce prevail over unprincipled schemers who will stop at nothing to do him down?

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