Honors Rendered, by Robert N. Macomber. Pineapple Press. 376 pages. $21.95.
Though Robert Macomber lives on Southwest Florida’s Pine island, he seems to spend a good part of each year traveling the seas In pursuit of the local color and history that fuel his nautical adventures featuring Commander Peter Wake. All of the Honor Series novels are noted for their meticulous research on the peoples, places, and politics that the author allows his powerful imagination to infuse with high action, suspense and moral weight. “Honors Rendered,” the 11th in the series, is more than “no exception,” it is one of Mr. Macomber’s best.
Set in the late 1880s, this adventure sees Peter Wakecovertly attempt defuse a political powder keg in the South Pacific. The U. S. government fears further aggressive actions by Germany against the island nation of Samoa. Samoa is potentially a U. S. ally, but at present both Germany and the U. S. are positioning for influence – and this means positioning their warships for possible confrontation. Germany has already won the favor of a portion of the Samoans and installed a puppet king. Indeed, the Samoans themselves are near civil war.
Wake, working secretly, must find a way to quiet things down so that all-out war is prevented. Failing that outcome, his mission is to design and orchestrate a quick and complete victory for American forces. He improvises a plan that includes the assistance of an artillery officer who is a member of the Hawaiian royal family; a seaworthy Methodist minister who is fighting slave-traders (“blackbirders”) in the Pacific islands and Australia; and a resourceful, aging femme fatale whom Wake pretty much blackmails into being his spy within Germany’s military and commercial establishment on Samoa.
Let’s not forget the late immergence into the tale of one Sean Rork, Wake’s good friend, military subordinate, and partner in many similar situations over the years. Their banter adds a comic element that frequently punctuates the tension.
The glory of this book is the personality of Wake himself. He is at once pragmatic and idealistic; endlessly resourceful while knowing and accepting his limits; skilled in every aspect of espionage, seamanship, and survival. Working as he usually does without proof of his identity or authority, he is a vulnerable shadow figure who has no safety net. Mr. Macomber has built and refined this character masterfully over the years, and now he etches Wake’s aging process with great authenticity. . . .
To read this review in its entirety, as it appears in the October 23, 2013 Fort Myers Florida Weekly ,the October 24 Charlotte County edition, and the October 31 Naples edition, click here: Florida Weekly – Robert N. Macomber