In the fourth instalment of the Cutler Family Chronicles the action moves to the The First Barbary War and finds Richard Cutler now in command of his own frigate, USS Portsmouth, and his son serving as a Midshipman aboard USS Constitution under Commodore Preble.
The next generation of the family starts to come to the fore in this new book and as they marry Hammond’s cast of characters continues to expand. This enables the author to explore the major events of the Barbary wars from the point of view of a Midshipman who can insert himself into the historical timeline more easily than a Captain.
This is an important aspect of Hammond’s work as the research and historical accuracy of the tale shine through. Writing from this side of the Atlantic I had heard of the Barbary Wars and of Stephen Decatur’s destruction of the USS Philadelphia but knew little else about the conflict. Hammond’s narrative is as informative as a non-fiction work but blended with a style that really makes you almost feel part of the Cutler family.