Midshipman’s Hope, the first novel in the Seafort saga, came out when I was in college, and after a very favorable review in the Washington Post I picked up the book and was very taken with it. The book’s pull quote described it as a novel in the vein of Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game or Robert Heinlein’s Starship Troopers, but it wasn’t, not really. No, Midshipman’s Hope was C.S. Forester’s Mr. Midshipman Hornblower, only instead of a sailing vessel in the Royal Navy Feintuch’s hero Nick Seafort served aboard a space vessel in the United Nations Space Navy. Other writers have tried to write Hornblower-in-space, but none were as successful in capturing the feel of the Age of Fighting Sail as Feintuch.
Now, thinking back, some of the characters, some of the scenes, come quickly to mind. The one that really stays with me, at the climax of (I think) the second book, was the death of Philip Carr, an officer that served under Seafort that he’d broken for insubordination back to Midshipman. I haven’t looked at the book in close to a decade, and maybe I wouldn’t want to lest I rob the scene as I remember it of its emotional force, and yet thinking back on it now it still moves me.
I never finished the series–though I picked up the fifth and sixth books I’ve never read them. No slight meant to Feintuch, just other things got in the way.
And now Feintuch has passed away, leaving behind a series soon to be eight books long and an enduring character in Nick Seafort.