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Ramage & the Freebooters

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The lieutenant is summoned by the Admiralty and given command of the brig, Triton. But like the rest of the Navy, Triton's crew has mutinied. Sympathizing with some of their complaints, Ramage also knows that if he fails to deliver three sealed dispatches to admirals off Brest and Cadiz, and in the Caribbean, he will become a convenient scapegoat. The lieutenant is summoned by the Admiralty and given command of the brig, Triton. But like the rest of the Navy, Triton's crew has mutinied. Sympathizing with some of their complaints, Ramage also knows that if he fails to deliver three sealed dispatches to admirals off Brest and Cadiz, and in the Caribbean, he will become a convenient scapegoat.


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The lieutenant is summoned by the Admiralty and given command of the brig, Triton. But like the rest of the Navy, Triton's crew has mutinied. Sympathizing with some of their complaints, Ramage also knows that if he fails to deliver three sealed dispatches to admirals off Brest and Cadiz, and in the Caribbean, he will become a convenient scapegoat. The lieutenant is summoned by the Admiralty and given command of the brig, Triton. But like the rest of the Navy, Triton's crew has mutinied. Sympathizing with some of their complaints, Ramage also knows that if he fails to deliver three sealed dispatches to admirals off Brest and Cadiz, and in the Caribbean, he will become a convenient scapegoat.

30 review for Ramage & the Freebooters

  1. 5 out of 5

    Eric_W

    Well, OK, 1'm sorry. I apologize to Dudley Pope. I had said some rather unkind things about one of his Ramage novels, based on an audiotape. To be fair I read another, Ramage and the Freebooters, and it's really quite entertaining. As with the C.S. Forester, Alexander Kent, and O'Brian series, this one is also set at sea during the Napoleonic War. Lieutenant Ramage, son of the disgraced admiral, is under a cloud himself for having performed some rather unorthodox maneuvers during the Battle of S Well, OK, 1'm sorry. I apologize to Dudley Pope. I had said some rather unkind things about one of his Ramage novels, based on an audiotape. To be fair I read another, Ramage and the Freebooters, and it's really quite entertaining. As with the C.S. Forester, Alexander Kent, and O'Brian series, this one is also set at sea during the Napoleonic War. Lieutenant Ramage, son of the disgraced admiral, is under a cloud himself for having performed some rather unorthodox maneuvers during the Battle of St. Vincent. These maneuvers were much to the delight of Sir Jervis and Lord Nelson, but to the consternation and dismay of the more traditional officers, who actually believe in following orders to the letter. Believing he is to be reprimanded, Ramage appears before Admiral Spencer, only to be given command of a small brig - ten guns the Triton. There's a catch, however. The brig is tied up at Spithead, and this is the year 1797. You will remember that was the year the British sailors mutinied at Spithead. Ramage's task is to find a crew and sail to the Caribbean to carry word of the mutiny to the rest of the British fleet command so they can take appropriate action. A tricky task. Should he succeed, the glory will go to the Board; should he fail, he becomes a convenient scapegoat. The mutineers' demands were really quite reasonable. Aside from a request for slightly higher pay --they were paid much less than sailors in the merchant service-- they asked for leave when in port (always denied for rear of desertion) and that a pound be considered 16 ounces. Normally, it was the custom of the purser, who had to account for everything, to receipt fur 16 ounces, but supply the men with only 14 ounces, arguing the difference was spoilage or wastage. He usually pocketed the difference himself. Another scam was to charge off all sorts of expenses to dead sailors, leaving little for the widow, but making himself wealthy. Pursers were not popular. Once Ramage arrives in the West Indies, he is assigned another tricky task. Schooners have been disappearing with regularity, and the Navy has been unable to discover what has happened to them Clearly they have been taken by privateers, yet a search of the entire region reveals no inlets or bays where they could be hiding and transhipping the cargoes. Pope has crafted a page-turning yardbracing mystery.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Elliot

    Having already shown his merit in the Mediterranean, Ramage is given a new command; that of the brig Triton. His new command comes with a catch, however: the Triton is caught up in the Spithead mutiny. I enjoyed seeing how Ramage navigates his way out of this precarious situation. As a reader, our sympathies are divided between Ramage (the likable protagonist) and the non-violent mutineers (whose demands are entirely reasonable). After wrangling his crew into shape, Ramage sets sail for the West Having already shown his merit in the Mediterranean, Ramage is given a new command; that of the brig Triton. His new command comes with a catch, however: the Triton is caught up in the Spithead mutiny. I enjoyed seeing how Ramage navigates his way out of this precarious situation. As a reader, our sympathies are divided between Ramage (the likable protagonist) and the non-violent mutineers (whose demands are entirely reasonable). After wrangling his crew into shape, Ramage sets sail for the West Indies, where further adventure awaits. The first part of the book (the mutiny at Spithead, and the journey across the Atlantic) were interesting, but the real meat of the story is Ramage’s mission to hunt down privateers in the Caribbean. Perhaps it was the old edition of the library book I read, but the Ramage and the Freebooters felt markedly different in style to the first two. The book was significantly longer than either of its predecessors, and the story was more slowly paced. That didn’t prevent this book from being a page-turner, however, as I very much enjoyed the development of the story in the West Indies and its action-packed finale. I must praise the author Dudley Pope for his vivid descriptions of the setting. He writes with eloquence and authority on the tropic environment and brings to life the time-period which the book is set in. I thought the secondary characters were interesting and well-drawn (with one exception). The protagonist is an easy character to root for, but if there is one overarching criticism of these books it is that Ramage has practically no flaws. This point doesn’t really bother me – after all, these books aren’t high literature, but rather they’re meant to be entertaining stories; though, I don’t doubt that others will find this to be a greater issue than I do. There is one aspect about Ramage that troubles me a little. He seems to very casual in his interactions with many of his crew members – but perhaps that is just the contrast that comes from concurrently reading about Captain Hornblower’s frigid isolation. With Ramage and the Freebooters, Dudley Pope delivers another swashbuckling story of adventure that kept me engrossed from start to finish.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Reni

    Another fun, quick read. Sure, if you look for depth in your Age of Sail fiction, you should rather look to O'Brian or Forester. But if you're looking for a more swashbuckling approach to high adventure on the seas during the Napoleonic Wars, Ramage will deliver. This time I wasn't quite as taken with the plot as with the first two novels, this one not featuring as many action sequences and therefore appearing a bit more slow paced. However, this is not to mean that Ramage & the Freebooters was b Another fun, quick read. Sure, if you look for depth in your Age of Sail fiction, you should rather look to O'Brian or Forester. But if you're looking for a more swashbuckling approach to high adventure on the seas during the Napoleonic Wars, Ramage will deliver. This time I wasn't quite as taken with the plot as with the first two novels, this one not featuring as many action sequences and therefore appearing a bit more slow paced. However, this is not to mean that Ramage & the Freebooters was by any means boring, or too long for its content. In fact, there is a lot going on, from suppressing a mutiny to a bit of spywork to fighting privateers while being trapped in lagoon and outnumbered (though we're never exactly told whether they're actually privateers or pirates, the book just switches from calling them freebooters to privateers at one point. What with killing civillians who have surrendered they're certainly not of the nice kind either way. None of them appear as actual characters however, which is a shame. It could have made the plot even more interesting.) The Villain/Hero divide in general in this book is very black & white. All the villains are extremely cruel people so you don't feel to sorry for them when they are killed by our heroes. And those antagonists that are pretty and a bit sympathetic had of course been forced into committing crimes by the proper villains. On a related note, I could have done without the romance aspect. (view spoiler)[ It seems like Claire only turned out to have been blackmailed instead of carrying out her spywork of her own free will, so it wouldn't spoil her affection for the hero. I would have actually have preferred her being a proper villain, seducing Ramage only to gain information. But she, like so many other characters, of course, admires Ramage for no good reason. They only knew each other for half a day, yet she considered killing herself because she could not bear betraying him. (hide spoiler)] Once again, Ramage being too popular with too many characters for no good reason spoils this series a bit. It would certainly be more enjoyable without the hero worship. One other character I had a problem with is the doctor. His alcoholism seemed just to exist so Ramage had something to brood about during the voyage to Barbados. Once he is magically cured the character disappears for the rest of the book. This is no way to treat a serious topic like alcoholism and I could understand if some readers felt a bit offended. Compared to other classic Age of Sail fiction I was positively surprised at the treatment of the character of Maxton. The other, Christian characters, take his religious views seriously and he is never made fun of because of what they could have derided as superstitions. Oh, and the throwing knife actually came in handy in one scene! Yes, I'm just as shocked as you are! And while Ramage's speech impediment does seem to have disappeared in dialogue, at least it is referenced by other characters. Seriously, Pope. Please, don't get rid of that one. It's what makes him at least a bit charming! The actual naval actions are once again a delight to read. Even though Pope, in this volume, bends history a little more than usual in this series to fit the plot. The mutiny of the Triton is not at all historically accurate (the mutiny didn't extend to the smaller vessels, as the men did not intend to cripple the fleet), and it's more than a little bit weird that a mutining brig would accept to have half its crew exchanged and accept new officers on board, even if they don't intend to follow their orders. However, that portion of the book is still an enjoyable read, so I'm not going to complain about it too much. It's just that I expected better from Pope, not to fall back onto such tricks to make his narrative more exciting.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Tony Hisgett

    The story was a bit slow to get going and I had forgotten how annoyingly fickle Ramage can be when it comes to attractive women. However it was still a fun read and the final confrontation with the ‘freebooters’ was all action, although I did think the book ended rather abruptly, as if there was a missing final chapter.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Arlomisty

    Great book in the Lord Ramage saga... book three! Ramage hunts down (by the Kings order) privateers who are plundering the Kings shipping lanes!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Murat

    I liked the series very much and will read all the books I can put my hands on. Also I am glad that Ramage does not get a promotion at the end of every book

  7. 4 out of 5

    Viva

    The more I read Ramage the more I like it. I first read Ramage 40 years ago right after I finished Hornblower and looked for more historical fiction. I picked a Ramage at random and immediately ran into Ramage's cult of worshipers, whether friend or foe, superiors or inferiors and I was completely turned off. I think it was the line "more than you will ever know" on people worshiping him. Fast forward 40 years I ran out of books to read and decided to try Ramage again. I still feel the Ramage wo The more I read Ramage the more I like it. I first read Ramage 40 years ago right after I finished Hornblower and looked for more historical fiction. I picked a Ramage at random and immediately ran into Ramage's cult of worshipers, whether friend or foe, superiors or inferiors and I was completely turned off. I think it was the line "more than you will ever know" on people worshiping him. Fast forward 40 years I ran out of books to read and decided to try Ramage again. I still feel the Ramage worship cringeworthy but in my old age I'm a lot more tolerant about people than I was. I'm reading the Ramage series a bit out of order and this #3 book is about the 6th book I've read. I've been finding that Dudley Pope addresses different subjects in his books and it's a worthy cause. I learn something new and it's always good to learn something. (Other authors do as well. I was following Stockwin but unfortunately his later books became boring historical documentaries instead of naval fiction and I quit the series.) Spoilers ahead: In the first part Ramage is given command of Triton, a brig whose crew supports the mutiny which is going on. It's mainly the big ships which have mutinied and their crews have asked the smaller ships not to openly support it. Pope does write about the underlying causes and actually his treatment of the mutiny is less than others which I have read but more precise. His task is made easier when he asks for and is given 20 old Kathleens (from his previous ship which he sank by ramming into a ship of the line) to switch into the crew. He gets rid of 2 of the ringleaders and persuades the crew to set sail when he cuts the anchor cable and the crew makes sail in order to prevent being driven into the shoals. (One of the ringleaders becomes a smuggler and Ramage meets him in a later book!) In the second segment Pope deals with slavery. Ramage captures a slaver which has been damaged by a sudden squall. Pope gives a pretty detailed description of the process of obtaining the slaves from Africa, the trip, the slave ship and the selling process, courtesy of the slaver's captain who is happy to tell Ramage everything he wants to know. I had always read that the slaves were treated inhumanely, the speed of the voyage being paramount. But the slaver's captain says that the slavers tried to maintain a minimum level of care because they did not want to purchase slaves just to kill them during the voyage with bad treatment. The third segment is the longest. Once he reaches his destination, his admiral gives him a task. Trading ships traveling between Grenada and Martinique have been captured and vanish without a trace and local merchants are raising a stink all the way up to England. The admiral put two frigates on the task but the 2 post captains were unintelligent men and neither of them were able to solve the case. The admiral doesn't think Ramage with his little brig would be able to solve the case but he would make a convenient scapegoat. Ramage befriends the military commander on the station who helps him to try and figure out how the privateers are getting away with it. First he sails up and down the chain of islands but cannot find a base that would hide the privateers. Eventually using bait, he sets a trap and catches the spy in their midst. Then he uses himself and a detachment of his crew as decoy to be captured to find the privateers and the base. The whole book was easy to read and follow and all 3 segments were interesting.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Michael Smith

    This is the third in the series about Lieut. Lord Nicholas Ramage, now commanding a brig in 1798, and the action seldom abates. First, in order to take command, he has to convince its mutinous crew to leave Spithead -- which he does in typical Ramage fashion, by presenting them with a situation that catches them all off-guard. A few weeks later, he’s managed to wield them into a cohesive unit as he delivers dispatches about the fleet-wide mutiny to the blockading squadrons off France and then he This is the third in the series about Lieut. Lord Nicholas Ramage, now commanding a brig in 1798, and the action seldom abates. First, in order to take command, he has to convince its mutinous crew to leave Spithead -- which he does in typical Ramage fashion, by presenting them with a situation that catches them all off-guard. A few weeks later, he’s managed to wield them into a cohesive unit as he delivers dispatches about the fleet-wide mutiny to the blockading squadrons off France and then heads out into the Atlantic on a similar mission to the West Indies Squadron. Along the way, he takes a French slave ship -- a “blackbirder” -- as a prize, which is a nice way to come into a new port. The admiral there has been having a good deal of trouble with local privateers making hash of the local merchant schooners and two of his own frigate captains have been unsuccessful at catching the Bad Guys. So he gives Ramage the job, knowing that he himself will come out ahead whether the new boy succeeds or fails. But Ramage fail? Not likely. Pope seems to set up each novel with only two or perhaps three extended sub-plots, which gives him plenty of room for details and development of the action. And there’s a temporary love interest, too -- or at least a lust interest -- which ties back to the privateers. We’ve come to know all the supporting cast by now and the author spins a great yarn.

  9. 5 out of 5

    ExtremeBibliophile

    My first time reading this author and although I can't say I have the same feeling of enchantment and enthrallment that I have when reading Patrick O'Brian and C.S. Forester, this is a pretty good effort. Ramage is presented not as some kind of demigod seagoing superhero but more of a flawed anti-hero in the mode of Horatio Hornblower. Pope has an excellent command of naval terminology as well as the details of early 19th-century history. A refreshing change of pace after reading a Borgia novel! My first time reading this author and although I can't say I have the same feeling of enchantment and enthrallment that I have when reading Patrick O'Brian and C.S. Forester, this is a pretty good effort. Ramage is presented not as some kind of demigod seagoing superhero but more of a flawed anti-hero in the mode of Horatio Hornblower. Pope has an excellent command of naval terminology as well as the details of early 19th-century history. A refreshing change of pace after reading a Borgia novel!

  10. 4 out of 5

    David

    So, what’s different about this book...first, kind of an inside look at the Royal Navy mutiny at Spithead ( mentioned by some of the other nautical authors, but not in depth). Second, a more in depth look at the inside of a slaver as it was captured as a prize in the book. Third, a good treatment of the illness of alcoholism, as Ramage’s surgeon was largely incapacitated and rehabilitated on the mission. The naval action near the end of the book was confusing, frankly, but of course turns out al So, what’s different about this book...first, kind of an inside look at the Royal Navy mutiny at Spithead ( mentioned by some of the other nautical authors, but not in depth). Second, a more in depth look at the inside of a slaver as it was captured as a prize in the book. Third, a good treatment of the illness of alcoholism, as Ramage’s surgeon was largely incapacitated and rehabilitated on the mission. The naval action near the end of the book was confusing, frankly, but of course turns out alright in the end.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jack Sakalauskas

    They say that absence makes the heart grow fonder but I am inclined to think that it makes the heart wander. This is the synopsis of the latest "Ramage" novel. Away from his love, he finds that the presence of beauty can overwhelm fading beauty. This book also contains a sprinkling of humor as well as the expected violence of naval warfare. They say that absence makes the heart grow fonder but I am inclined to think that it makes the heart wander. This is the synopsis of the latest "Ramage" novel. Away from his love, he finds that the presence of beauty can overwhelm fading beauty. This book also contains a sprinkling of humor as well as the expected violence of naval warfare.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Coleen Dailey

    This time Lieutenant Ramage and his crew have another new ship, have to initially deal with a mutiny and then sail to the Caribbean delivering messages along the way. Once there he is given a new assignment to stop privateers who are wreaking havoc with the trade. Navy and island politics are also discussed so you get more of an idea about life on the high seas.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    This book begins with the mutiny at Spithead (http://www.historytoday.com/alex-bark...), then proceeds to the Windward Islands. On the way there they encounter a slave ship, an excellent description is given. The story is exciting! This book begins with the mutiny at Spithead (http://www.historytoday.com/alex-bark...), then proceeds to the Windward Islands. On the way there they encounter a slave ship, an excellent description is given. The story is exciting!

  14. 4 out of 5

    DonLallier

    Pope was an excellent author and it shows in this book. Excellent action sea story. I really enjoyed it and look forward to the next one in the series I was sorry to read that that the author had died years ago.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Lee

    Pretty good Lord Ramage book. He is given command of a brig to deliver various dispatches around the various fleets. After his final one is dropped off he is tasked to find a bunch of free booters who are looting British Ships.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Brad

    Much slower than the previous two books.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Exlibris Library

    Fascinating sea adventure from an experienced sailor and historian Dudley Pope. There is a lot of action happening in the legendary Caribbean.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Steven Mann

    very well paced This is an excellent series. I am very glad to have discovered it. The writing is well paced and rarely invites boredom.

  19. 4 out of 5

    wyllys terry

    fun Fun to follow Ramage’s career. The up close and personal moments of indecision and decision make for good suspense. Surprise works well.

  20. 5 out of 5

    An Odd1

    Ramage is a hero, a leader, who uses surprise, and loyal seamen from Triton, to transform mutineers into cheerful team.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jean

    This is book number three in the Ramage series. This series of historical novels are based on the British Admiralty records of the Napoleonic era. Lt. Ramage is given command of the brig HMS Triton with orders to deliver a warning to the three offshore fleets that the fleet in Homeport has mutinied. Ramage’s first job is to get the Triton underway but surprise the crew has also mutinied alone with those of the homeport fleet. After delivering the message to the three fleets Ramage is to report to This is book number three in the Ramage series. This series of historical novels are based on the British Admiralty records of the Napoleonic era. Lt. Ramage is given command of the brig HMS Triton with orders to deliver a warning to the three offshore fleets that the fleet in Homeport has mutinied. Ramage’s first job is to get the Triton underway but surprise the crew has also mutinied alone with those of the homeport fleet. After delivering the message to the three fleets Ramage is to report to the Caribbean for further others. As usual Ramage uses creative tactics to overcome his problems. The book is well written with lots of sea action. Pope does not shy away from describing the harsh realities of life at sea during the Napoleonic wars. Pope explains how the poor treatment of sailors led to the great mutiny of the Home Fleet. The author also goes into detail about the slave trade. The book is full of action and is an exciting fun read that is based on historical fact. I read this as an audiobook downloaded from Audible. Steven Crossley narrated the book.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Peter

    The first of the Ramage books - all of which are exciting and well written. The Ramage series ranks 3rd with me behind Hornblower and Bolitho for age of sail excitement. Ramage is just a little too good and nothing is impossible..

  23. 5 out of 5

    Larry E

    Fast action. Good book.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jon Box

    Great stories of Lt Ramage 'finding a way' of dealing with mutiny across the fleet and catching pirates/privateers . . . Great stories of Lt Ramage 'finding a way' of dealing with mutiny across the fleet and catching pirates/privateers . . .

  25. 5 out of 5

    David Hill

    This is a decent book but not good enough to keep me interested to the end, and I only read half of it.

  26. 4 out of 5

    George Conger

    Series improves with each book -- better than 1 & 2

  27. 4 out of 5

    Margareth8537

    Have enjoyed this series from the start. A rather more modern style Hornblower. The characters are developing nicely

  28. 4 out of 5

    Chris Hudson

    Good fun read. I enjoyed the plot of the first two books more but this one still makes you look forward to the next.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Bob Cantrell

    I liked this book. To me this was a story that helps to set the characters in your mind. Now I can't wait to read the next installment of Ramage's adventure. I liked this book. To me this was a story that helps to set the characters in your mind. Now I can't wait to read the next installment of Ramage's adventure.

  30. 4 out of 5

    THOCthumbz

    I am really enjoying this series.

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