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Reviewed by Vincent Dublado for Readers' Favorite
Leadership, seamanship, tactics, and courage: These four qualities that define a great naval officer are what Marc Liebman explores in Raider of the Scottish Coast, a historical naval adventure set during the American Revolution. We have two main protagonists trying to make a difference in service of their respective motherlands. Jaco Jacinto is from Charleston, South Carolina. Darren Smythe is from Gosport, England. Both men started early in their naval careers. The novel divides its scenes between these two midshipmen and you see how their lineages and the sea have had a bearing on their formation as naval officers. Serving in opposite navies, these two men are bound to meet. Enemies will become friends when they discover that their respective careers, histories are common ground. But as the Continental and the Royal Navy continue to vie for nautical supremacy, their friendship will be tested as to how long it can stand.
Balance is often a key in Liebman’s novels. In the case of Raider of the Scottish Coast, he uses a third-person narrative for the exposition of two characters while generously explaining the rudiments of nautical operations and naval strategies along the way. This is no easy feat, but for an author who can walk his talk, he accomplishes a resolution by ensuring that character A gets to meet character B and from there, the plot converges into a single, cohesive storyline. You do not get lost even if you are alternately sailing between the Continental and the Royal Navy. The story flows with a specific course like the naval vessels that sail along with the pages. Liebman is a brilliant storyteller who does not stop at fiction. He also entertains you with educational information that lends further credibility to the tale that he spins.