Richard Spilman Review: Jack Tar: Life in Nelson’s Navy by Roy & Lesley Adkins

Originally published on the The Old Salt Blog

Over the next several weeks, we will be reviewing a series of books about what life was like in Nelson’s navy. The first is Jack Tar: Life in Nelson’s Navy by Roy & Leslie Adkins, subtitled “the extraordinary lives of ordinary seamen in Nelson’s navy.” A fascinating and well written book.

One of the criticism of many books addressing Nelson’s time are that they either romanticize or are overly harsh is their descriptions of conditions aboard the ships of the Royal Navy. Jack Tar does neither. It provides a wealth of detail and description, which neither glorifies nor vilifies the complexity and contradiction of life aboard a man of war. The image that emerges is full and nuanced, sketching the mix of culture and rank in the teeming and cramped society that was a King’s ship.

Read More Richard Spilman Review: Jack Tar: Life in Nelson’s Navy by Roy & Lesley Adkins.

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Full Fathom Five on Kindle

A new novella short story called Full Fathom Five, set during the American Civil war, was released on 18 October 2011 for Kindle.The Author of this work is Peter A. Smalley, which may cause some confusion for fans of the genre as he should not be confused with Peter Smalley, famed for his Rennie/Hayter novels.

via Full Fathom Five on Kindle.

Reefs and Shoals (HC)

The latest Alan Lewrie novel by Dewey Lambdin titled Reefs and Shoals, due for release on 17 January 2012, is now available for pre-order in hardcover worldwide.

Pity poor Captain Alan Lewrie, RN! He’s been wind-muzzled for weeks in Portsmouth, snugly tucked into a warm shore bed with lovely, and loving, Lydia Stangbourne, a Viscount’s daughter, and beginning to enjoy indulging his idle streak, when Admiralty tears Lewrie away and orders him to the Bahamas, into the teeth of ferocious winter storms. It’s enough to make a rake-hell such as he weep and kick furniture! At least his new orders allow Lewrie to form a small squadron from what ships he can dredge up at Bermuda and New Providence and hoist his first broad pendant, even if it is the lesser version, and style himself a Commodore

Read More Reefs and Shoals (HC).

An Interview with Sam Willis

Historic Naval Fiction is pleased to have obtained an Interview with Sam Willis on the release of his new book in the Hearts of Oak Trilogy, The Glorious First of June.

What can you tell us about your new book The Glorious First of June?

It is the story of one of Britain’s most significant but overlooked naval battles. It is unique for numerous reasons, each important in its own right:

  • It was the first naval battle of the French Revolutionary War.
  • It was the only fleet battle during the Reign of Terror.
  • It was the first fleet battle in British or French history that was fought for political ideology rather than for territory, religion or trade or at the whim of monarchs.
  • It was the longest fleet battle for 128 years.
  • The British won an impressive tactical victory though their fleet was undermanned and out of practice.
  • It was the largest British naval victory for 102 years but was celebrated as a victory by the French and the British navy as well as by the Americans.
  • It was the first naval battle witnessed and then depicted by a professional artist for 128 years – the book includes an Appendix of images made on the spot.
  • It was witnessed by Matthew Flinders, then a Midshipman on Bellerophon, who made numerous detailed battle plans − all reproduced in the book.
  • It was the first naval battle in the eighteenth century in which an Admiral deliberately tried to break the enemy line.
  • It was the first battle made famous by a ‘panorama’, an artistic technique which became standard for celebrating naval battles.
  • It was the first battle for which British officers received a medal.
  • It was the first battle to be celebrated by an immediate Royal review of the fleet.

But of all of these claims to distinction, the most important and the most interesting is this:  The Glorious First of June was, without question, the hardest-fought battle of the Age of Sail.

Read More An Interview with Sam Willis.

Armada HC

Author John Stack has a new novel which is now available for pre-order in the UK, Armada, due for release in Hardcover on 5 January 2012. It is currently only listed in the US as available via Kindle on that date.Two nations are locked in bitter conflict. One strives for dominance, the other for survival.After decades of religious strife, Elizabeth sits on the throne of England. The reformation continues. Catholic revolts have been ruthlessly quashed, and Elizabeth has ordered the execution of her cousin, Mary Queen of Scots. On the continent bloody religious wars rage, but England stands apart, her surrounding seas keeping her safe from the land armies of her would-be enemies. Only at sea do the English show their teeth. Sea captains and adventurers, hungry for the spoils of trade from the Spanish Main, regularly attack the gold-laden galleons of Catholic Spain. They are terriers nipping at the feet of war-horses but their victories disrupt the treasury of Spain, Englands greatest threat, and Elizabeths refusal to rein in her sea-captains further antagonises Philip II.

Read More Armada HC.