Richard Delancey is soon called into action once more, as Britain prepares for the threat of a new French assault. Disturbing rumors are circulating about Napoleon's new weapons of war: vessels driven by steam-engines, new explosive devices, and, most troubling of all, a French secret weapon named Nautilus, which can travel underwater and attach explosive devices below the waterline.
About the Author
Cyril Northcote Parkinson pursued a distinguished academic career on both sides of the Atlantic and first became famous for "Parkinson's Law"—work expands to fill the time allotted to it. Parkinson wrote many books on British politics and economics. His first fictional effort, a "biography" of Horatio Hornblower, met with considerable acclaim and led to the Delancey series. C. Northcote Parkinson died in 1993.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
So near So Far based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
This is the fifth in Parkinson's Richard Delancey series, taking up the story directly where Touch and go stops. We follow Delancey through an on-shore interlude during the Peace of Amiens, followed by service with the Channel Fleet once hostilities resume. The author finally allows him to fall in love, but we also have a bit of yachting on Windermere and an encounter with the pioneer steam tug Charlotte Dundas on the Forth-Clyde canal.For my money, this is a rather weaker book than Touch and go -- the story is a series of largely unrelated incidents, there's rather too much reliance on improbable espionage and secret weapons, not enough straightforward naval material. The love interest is very perfunctorily handled, and Delancey's Fiona never seems to emerge as a character in her own right in the way that Aubrey's Sophie and Hornblower's Lady Barbara do.What Parkinson doesn't seem to have understood is that Forester could get away with the "behind French lines" stuff because his readers all knew he meant "Hitler" when he said "Napoleon"; O'Brien gets away with it because he is good at it, and has taken the trouble to establish in Maturin a character whose background goes well with intelligence work. Parkinson just seems to chuck it in for no obvious reason, other than that he can't think what to do with Delancey as a frigate captain.