The Massacre of Innocents is the first book in a proposed new series set during the period when the Royal navy was undergoing it’s rapid reduction after the Napoleonic Wars. Many authors concentrate on the anti-slavery patrols but Lawrence, in a refreshing change, has chosen the Greek struggle for independence from Turkey.
The European nations were not officially engaged in the early stages of this conflict so HMS Surprise has to act as a Letter of Marque aiding the Greek navy in it’s attempts to defend it’s islands from the much more powerful Turks. Ancient Greece was of course made up of individual city states, often at war, and it seems as if not much had changed by this time with little cooperation between the fleets of different islands or their civilian populations. Surprise is is the only frigate facing a powerful enemy so running rather than fighting is often the only available option, but eventually some degree of cooperation between all involved leads to a decisive battle.
Lawrence’s narrative had a group of well developed characters which, as you might suspect from the series title ‘The Continuing Voyages of HMS Surprise’, are reminiscent of O’Brian’s work.
I enjoyed this story and look forward to reading more. Recommended.