HMS Archer by Anthony Holt
This story is set in the early years of the eighteenth century, when Britain, already at war with Napoleonic France, faced a declaration of war by President James Madison of the United States. This was in response to the actions of the Royal Navy in stopping neutral ships on the high seas and searching them for war materials bound for France and for British deserters. Many would say that the real cause of the war was Madison’s intention to invade and capture Canada. John Lawson is a young Lieutenant recently recalled to service, but under the command of a nasty, cowardly and drunken martinet. A sudden night attack by a French squadron sets in chain a series of events which result in the restoration of Lawson’s honour and his detachment to the North America Command, where he has to fight the sea itself, a range of new American heavy frigates, and with the marines on shore.