A Fine Boy for Killing (Sea Officer William Bentley, Bk 1)
A Fine Boy for Killing - Sea Officer William Bentley, Bk 1 Author:Jan Needle Under sealed orders for a long, arduous voyage, Captain Daniel Swift must forge an efficient crew from a ragged group of old men, criminals, and young boys under his command, including his nephew and favorite, William Bentley. This promising first in a series of historical sea adventures by British writer Needle introduces readers to 14-year-old... more » officer William Bentley and life aboard the ill-fated frigate HMS Welfare during the Napoleonic Wars.
The ship is run by Daniel Swift, a notoriously ruthless captain who instructs young Bentley, his nephew and favorite, the best ways to fill the ship's complement of sailors. Forced pressing into service is illegal, but in an attempt to please his uncle, Bentley adds two crewmen through trickery and kidnapping; a young farm boy named Thomas Fox and a smuggler named Jesse Broad. Broad and Fox form a relationship which parallels Swift and Bentley's, as Broad assumes a quiet role of leadership among the increasingly unhappy crew.
The abusive atmosphere aboard the is thick and immediate, as is the struggle for power over the ship. Swift exerts his power strategically and sadistically, while Bentley, whose youth makes his attempts at discipline ineffectual, tries to justify his uncle's increasingly cruel actions.« less
I enjoy the historical naval novels. Needle's name has come up on several sites but I had never read any of the series. Unlike the heroic adventures of O brian, Kent and Pope's Leading characters -A Fine Boy_, introduces several flawed main characters. The book offers a no gloss look to a hard and dark time in naval history. The book is a bit more graphic than some of the naval series I've read.