A panoramic novel about how America began its global ascent to power

An Honorable War, by Robert N. Macomber. Pineapple Press. 392 pages. Hardcover $26.95. Trade paperback $16.95.

How does Mr. Macomber keep doing this? The thirteenth installment of his splendid Honor Series, like the earlier titles in the series, once again transforms a pile of historical fact into a colorful, well-imagined, and highly suspenseful entertainment. Captain Peter Wake, assigned to the Office of Naval Intelligence, is no desk-jockey, but a man of action – in this case leading the action plan that he designed to satisfy the ambitious and often outlandish Theodore Roosevelt, Assistant Secretary of the Navy. The author’s subtitle sets the historical scene: “The Spanish-American War Begins.”  honorablewar

This episode, cast as another segment of the memoirs of Peter Wake, launches a three-part trilogy within the burgeoning series.

It is immensely impressive, though it sometimes walks on the edge of too much detail and too many voices. As is so often the case in historical fiction, we must accept the awkward convention of a narrator remembering conversations verbatim. It’s a small price pay for the explosive results.

Roosevelt is a warrior wannabe who has just enough clout and cunning to engage his country in the destiny of Cuba.

The story Mr. Macomber tells so engagingly begins with the explosion of the USS Maine, one of the first U. S. battleships, in Havana Harbor. It was a deadly catastrophe that killed hundreds helped fire anti-Spanish sentiment and rally U. S. support for an independent Cuba. Indeed, the ship had been sent to protect American interests following Spain’s cruel suppression of the Cuban revolution.


Wake finds himself charged with two missions. The first is a to gather information about Spanish intentions and military capacities as well as the situation of Cuban rebels.  He and his longtime friend and associate Rork barely escape this clandestine operation with their lives.

The second mission, based on the information gathered in the first, involves maneuvers against Spanish forces conducted from the port of Isabela. Wake puts together a fleet of converted yachts whose agility makes them unusually effective against the larger Spanish ships. He also masterminds all kinds of tactical tricks that surprise the enemy sailors and throw them off guard. . . .

To read the entire review, as it appears in the February 15, 2017 Fort Myers Florida Weekly, the February 16 Punta Gorda/Port Charlotte edition, and  the February 23 Naples and Bonita Springs editions, click here:  Florida Weekly – An Honorable War

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