Britannia’s Spartan by Antoine Vanner continues the adventures of Commander Nicholas Dawlish, serving in the Royal Navy as the Victorian Era draws to a close. Newly promoted to Captain and command of the navy’s newest cruiser, HMS Leonidas, he is ordered to the Far East on what should be a routine voyage to test her capabilities, becoming the first RN warship to complete the round trip by steam alone.
On arrival orders are changed and he is sent on a diplomatic mission to Korea where Chinese influence is on the wane, a rapidly modernising Japan is seeking to fill the void and Britain needs allies against Russian expansion.
Dawlish soon finds himself having to make some hard decisions as to what would be in Britain’s interest as war between the regional powers threatens to break out.
Plenty of action follows both on land and at sea in what was a well written novel with a good plot that flowed smoothly holding my attention well. I continue to enjoy Dawlish’s adventures for their insights into how the Navy handled the transition to steam vessels, their powerful weapons and innovations such as torpedos. I look forward to reading more.
Both this book and the series as a whole are highy recommended.