Heart of Oak (PB)

Author M. Kei’s latest novel Heart of Oak is now available worldwise in paperback.

Lt. Peter Thorton’s divided loyalties are tested in the crucibles of love and war. A pawn in the war for Portuguese independence, he is marked for revenge by the Spanish, and comes perilously close to losing both his life and ship. Discarded by friends and lovers, his health wrecked, and at the nadir of his career, he discovers what really matters and must make a choice that will seal his fate. Heart of Oak, the fourth book in the Pirates of the Narrow Seas series by M. Kei, continues the adventures of a gay officer during the Age of Sail.

via Heart of Oak (PB).

Richard Woodman on the release of A Ship for the King

The first novel in a new series by Richard Woodman has just been released, A Ship for the King. To mark the launch he was kind enough to share some thoughts with me on the novel, the series, and his writing.

“A Ship for the King does indeed mark a return to writing fiction after a prolonged period of writing maritime history. I rather like moving from history to fiction – the one a respite from the other – but in reality the former spawns the latter. I find that when delving into the records ideas are sparked as one encounters interesting characters and situations which offer promising story-lines.

It was this that led me into fiction in the first place. I am particularly interested in historical backwaters, incidents of which either little is known or that have been buried in obscurity because mainstream history has passed them by.

Read More Richard Woodman on the release of A Ship for the King.

A Ship for the King (HC)

Author Richard Woodman’s latest novel A Ship for the King is now available for pre-order in hardcover. It will be released in the UK on 28 July 2011 and in the US on 1 November 2011.

A thrilling maritime adventure, the first in a new series set against the backdrop of the English Civil War –

Bristol, England, 1618. Kit Faulkner is a young vagrant orphan, but his life changes forever when two gentlemen spot his potential and he is taken aboard their merchant ship, the Swallow, to be trained for a life at sea. As he rises through the ranks, he risks all in encounters with pirates and French corsairs. Meanwhile, England edges ever closer to civil war, and very soon Kit must chose which side he will fight for . . .

Read More A Ship for the King (HC).

A review: Of Honest Fame by M. M. Bennetts

This book starts in the summer of 1812 on the eve of Napoleon’s fateful advance into Russia. For those who read the author’s previous book, May 1812, it will have a familiar feel as it continues the story of some of the characters and places. But there the similarity, in terms of plot, ends. May 1812 can be described as a romance with a smattering of espionage whilst Of Honest Fame is an out-and-out espionage thriller, with a smattering of romance, as operatives of the Foreign Office try to find out what is going on abroad whilst defending against French counter-espionage at home.

As before Bennett’s ability to hold the reader’s attention, eager to know what happens next, as the plot threads of several characters join and separate shines through.

This author deserves to be better known and with a main stream publisher and I look forward to whaterver is coming next. Highly recommended.

An Interview with Chris Scott Wilson

Astrodene’s Historic Naval fiction is pleased to have obtained an Interview with Chris Scott Wilson on the relaunch as an ebook of his novel Scarborough Fair.

What can you tell us about Scarborough Fair without spoiling the plot for readers?

I don’t need to tell you about the plot because the book description does that, but one of the things that interests me about life is things are rarely what they appear to be. You can stand with your nose pressed up against the window, looking in, but what you think you see may not be what is there at all. And most things are a lot more difficult to achieve than you could possibly imagine. But some men conquer all the obstacles between them and their objective by sheer guts and determination and most often because they just won’t quit. By current standards, wooden sailing ships were small, but manned by several hundred men all living in each other’s pockets. Every man has his dreams, and each thinks they can do it better than the next, whether they actually can or not. There are those who admire and those who are jealous, and then there are those who will support and those who will rebel, but most importantly there are those who will follow, but the really special ones will lead. Quite often it is impossible to divine exactly what quality they have, but it is usually described as magnetism which enables them to draw other men to them who will do their bidding. But there is no commander better than one who will lead from the front, and John Paul Jones was such a man.

Read More An Interview with Chris Scott Wilson.

Blood Brothers (PB)

Author E. Thomas Behr recently released his first naval fiction novel Blood Brothers. It is now available in paperback and ebook formats worldwide.

In 1805, in the war-ravaged Mediterranean, Henry Doyle, a soldier of fortune−and professional killer−arrives at a squalid tavern in the roughest section of Malta for a meeting with a man he should hate.

His appointment: William Eaton, an American army officer, Indian fighter, and secret agent for Thomas Jefferson. Eaton is plotting a daring venture: the invasion of Tripoli to liberate three hundred Americans held hostage by the Pasha of Tripoli, place a pro-American ruler on Tripoli’s throne, and bring freedom to a Muslim country that has known only tyranny.

Read More Blood Brothers (PB).

A review of May 1812 by M. M. Bennetts

I usually read nautical books set in the age of sail but on vacation I thought I’d have a change of pace and give this one a try. It is essentially a romance, unsurprisingly from the title, set in the short period of May 1812.

The principal characters are thrust together but despite a seeminly endless series of fateful misunderstandings which seem destined to seperate them romance blossoms. The principal character is a peer on the fringes of government and it was interesting to read what might be described as the ‘ballroom diplomacy’ of the time.

This is a long book, but despite that the fast paced continual twists and turns of the plot made it hard to put down and I certainly recommend it.

Review: Cut and Run by Alaric Bond

This latest novel displays all the skill we have come to expect from Bond with the story, as usual, following members of the crew from various ranks, not just the officers.

The book has a fresh perspective in that we are soon aboard an ‘Indiaman’, a ship of the Honourable East India Company, and seeing life from the view of not just merchant seamen and officers but also passengers from various stations in life. The narrative follows the ship, Pevensey Castle, as it prepares for sea in the Thames, joins it’s escort and then heads out into the Atlantic.

Read More Review: Cut and Run by Alaric Bond.

Review: The Fleet in the Forest by Carl D. Lane

This story is based around the naval campaign on Lake Erie during the war of 1812. Written from the American perspective, the principle character is a young shipyard apprentice and the book follows him as he matures. There is initially some privateer action in the Atlantic but until the climactic naval battle on the lake most of the story is land based, about the hardships those building the fleet faced and gives an insight into frontier life at the time.Whilst for dedicated naval fiction fans not much time is spent afloat this does not detract from a very well written story with strong characterisations.

Read More Review: The Fleet in the Forest by Carl D. Lane.

Review: Scarborough Fair by Chris Scott Wilson

Whilst I have seen many references to books that feature the career of John Paul Jones this is the first fictionalised view of part of his career that I have read.

The book starts with him in Paris, shortly after he has given up the command of Ranger, and follows the political manoeuvres in France that led to his command of the Bonhomme Richard and a small squadron as Commodore.

It then explores the early phase of his command, including a mutiny and the lack of support from some of his subordinate French captains, and finally the book moves to it’s climax at the Battle of Flamborough Head, explored from both the American and British perspective.

Read More Review: Scarborough Fair by Chris Scott Wilson.