Alaric Bond Review: Surgeon’s Mate by Linda Collison

Now here is a refreshing change; a well written book that sees our genre from a completely different angle. Many different angles, actually…

The world of the title’s surgeon’s mate is naturally far removed from that of great cabins, commanding officers and quarterdeck conversations. Instead we get the grittiness of the lower deck and orlop; sea wives, petty officers and seamen, while news of the ships position and purpose comes mainly by scuttlebutt and hearsay. The characters and conditions are well drawn, and there is sufficient explanation to keep the narrative alive, without resorting to lengthy descriptive passages that inevitably slow the pace. Nautical detail is also good; you feel yourself in the charge of a competent writer who truly understands the subject and is willing to share.

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Review: Acre by Tom Grundner

As the title makes clear this novel is based around the Siege of Acre which was an important milestone in the career of the hero of this series Sir Sidney Smith. The focus of the book shifts between three points of view, Smith’s activities, Napoleon’s activities and Nelson at Naples revealing a wealth of detail from the historic record.

It is often true that truth is stranger than fiction and if you ever require evidence of that you only have to read this novel and the author’s detailed historical notes at the end. Smith is defending Acre with no support from his seniors and ,as a sailor, actually defeats Napoleon, something the land generals had not achieved and would not for many years to come. Napoleon displayed a callous streak towards prisoners and his own wounded and the nation’s favourite, Nelson, seemed to totally loose himself in Naples.

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HMS Warrior 1860 (HC)

Author Andrew D. Lambert has a new book, HMS Warrior 1860 , which was recently released worldwide.

Built to underline Victorian Britain’s supremacy at sea,HMS Warrior was the world’s first iron-hulled, armoured warship. In 1979 she was rescued from ignominy as an oil jetty in Milford Haven to become the subject of an ambitious restoration programme, and for the last twenty years has been open to the public at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. The story of her revolutionary design, career history and the strange twists of fate that enabled her to survive into an age when her significance in naval architecture would be fully recognised, is described in detail together with the meticulous research that went into faithfully restoring every aspect of the ship.

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Review: Leave the Gallows Hungry by Stanley Wilson

Leave the Gallows Hungry – First Fleet to Australia is, as the title indicates, about the first fleet to Australia and as such can be split into three sections. Approximately the first quarter is set in the UK as the characters are introduced, the middle at sea on a convict transport and the final quarter after the arrival.The principal characters are Apothecary Jonathan Pettifer and his young lady Margaret Dunne, both sentenced to transportation. They interact with a wide range of well rounded disparate characters from among their fellow convicts, the crew, Marine guards etc.

via Review: Leave the Gallows Hungry by Stanley Wilson.

An Interview with Tom Grundner

Astrodene’s Historic Naval fiction is pleased to have obtained an Interview with Tom Grundner who’s new book Acre is now available in paperback and ebook formats worldwide.

What can you tell us about Sidney Smith’s new adventures in Acre, without spoiling the plot for readers?

It takes place in one of the most dramatic periods of the Napoleonic era.

The British think Napoleon is trapped in Egypt when the French fleet is destroyed by Nelson at the Battle of the Nile. Alas, Napoleon doesn’t see it that way and decides to march his army around the eastern end of the Mediterranean toward Constantinople.

Sir Sidney Smith has been given command of all British warships in the eastern Mediterranean (both of them) and realizes he has to stop Napoleon at a nearly indefensible city called Acre. If he doesn’t, Napoleon could conquer Constantinople and either move east to invade India, or lead a half-million man army into Europe through the backdoor.

Read more An Interview with Tom Grundner.

Acre (PB)

Author Tom Grundner has just released the latest novel in the Sir Sidney Smith Nautical Adventure Series, Acre. It is now available in paperback and ebook formats worlwide.

Nelson has defeated the French fleet at the Battle of the Nile, and Bonaparte is trapped in Egypt. Unfortunately, Bonaparte doesn’t see it that way, and that fact brings into conflict three of the most significant figures of the day.

Napoleon’s army might not be able to go anywhere by sea, but they can still march. He leads them from Egypt through Syria toward Constantinople. From there he can go west and enter Europe through the backdoor, or go east, and conquer India. Either way, it would be a disaster for Britain. The only thing standing in his way is a small coastal city called Acre.

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Review: The Perfect Wreck by Steven E. Maffeo

In picking up this book the naval fiction reader must expect a different experience because, as the author says in his introduction, it was originally conceived as a nonfiction work and it’s the true story of the battle between USS Constitution and HMS Java.

At the outset therefore, if you have even a modest knowledge of the events of the War of 1812 at sea, you know how the books going to end. However this work is a whole new experience for the fiction reader and serves equally well as a scholarly work for the devotee of nonfiction.

After the scene is set, amusingly from an 1845 anecdote, the book really falls into three distinct sections with the focus of the book moving back and forth between the two ships. At the outset they are in their home ports refitting and taking on stores. There is a lot of detail of these processes which will fully inform those new to the genre as well as revealing some new facts to those who, like myself, pride themselves on knowing quite a bit about it. It also starts to bring out the similarities and differences between the two navies.

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An Interview with Steven E. Maffeo

Astrodene’s Historic Naval fiction is pleased to have obtained an Interview with Steven E. Maffeo who’s new book The Perfect Wreck – Old Ironsides and HMS Java: A Story of 1812 is now available in paperback worldwide.

What can you tell us about your new book, The Perfect Wreck – Old Ironsides and HMS Java: A Story of 1812, without spoiling the plot for readers?

Firstly, it’s a story that has never been told anywhere—fiction or non-fiction—in any sort of detail. Usually all you can find is just 2-3 pages in a broader history book with a focus specific to the battle itself. And, there’s virtually nothing out there – until now! – on the story from the British point of view. (The exception to that might be some 30 pages in Patrick O’Brian’s The Fortune of War, but there’s too much wrong in his account.) My story takes you back and forth from the one ship to the other, as they fit out in their respective home ports, get to sea on their diverse missions, and ultimately—accidently—run into each other one memorable day. Even if I hadn’t telegraphed the ending with the title, we know what’s going to happen (it’s like doing another book or movie on the Titanic—as my wife says, it always ends the same; the damn ship always sinks!) The point is that you’ll now get the whole picture, you’ll completely understand what the two ships’ missions were, you’ll participate in their various adventures as they cruise the Atlantic, and you’ll get to know very well the ships, officers, and men on both sides—finding more similarities than differences. And, to steal a phrase from Disney’s 20,000 Leagues under the Sea, “it’s a whale of a tale, and it’s all true.”

Read More An Interview with Steven E. Maffeo.

Captain Cook: Master of the Seas (HC)

Author Frank McLynn has a new book, Captain Cook: Master of the Seas, which was recently released in the UK and will be available in the US on 7 June 2011.

The age of discovery was at its peak in the eighteenth century, with heroic adventurers charting the furthest reaches of the globe. Foremost among these explorers was navigator and cartographer Captain James Cook of the British Royal Navy. Recent writers have viewed Cook largely through the lens of colonial exploitation, regarding him as a villain and overlooking an important aspect of his identity: his nautical skills. In this authentic, engrossing biography, Frank McLynn reveals Cook’s place in history as a brave and brilliant seaman.

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The Perfect Wreck – Old Ironsides and HMS Java: A Story of 1812 PB

Author Steven E. Maffeo has just released his first novel, The Perfect Wreck – Old Ironsides and HMS Java: A Story of 1812. It is now available in paperback worlwide and will also be available in ebook formats in a few days.December 29, 1812 – The date of one of the most dramatic sea battles in naval history. HMS Java and the USS Constitution the famous “Old Ironsides” face off in the War of 1812’s most spectacular blue-water frigate action. Their separate stories begin in August 1812-one in England and the other in New England. Then, the tension and suspense rise, week-by-week, as the ships cruise the Atlantic, slowly and inevitably coming together for the final life-and-death climax. The Perfect Wreck is not only the first full-length book ever written about the battle between the USS Constitution and HMS Java, it is a gem of Creative Nonfiction. It has the exhaustive research of a scholarly history book; but it is beautifully presented in the form of a novel.

Read More The Perfect Wreck – Old Ironsides and HMS Java: A Story of 1812 PB.