The Flying Squadron by Richard Woodman: a review

After a series of really dark novels, Woodman rewards us with a romp that takes place largely in or near Chesapeake Bay. Most of the characters who’ve not been serving with Drinkwater for years are pretty much cardboard pastiches, but it’s all good fun. The exceptions are Mr. Vansittart (“Fancy-tart,” according to the Master), who’s delightfully witty, and Thurston, who’s aboard ship as a sentence for seditionist (read: democratic) tendencies.

A stylistic oddity: Twice in this novel we get flashbacks which pick up the story just where it was a page or two before. In the first instance, the object was clearly to transition to what amounted to a new story, but the other was just a trick, as the telling moved from the book’s narrative to part of the dialogue. Nicely executed, but still a trick.

I’ve left out a lot of Nat’s depression and self-doubt (“megrims”), and some developments on the Dungarth front. And we get a portrait of the Drinkwaters’ home life, for once.

Good fun.

This review was originally published on LibraryThing.

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