A new book edited by H. V. Bowen, Elizabeth Mancke & John G. Reid is released today (31 May) in hardcover, Britain’s Oceanic Empire: Atlantic and Indian Ocean Worlds, c.1550-1850. It will be released in the US on 30 June 2012.
This pioneering comparative study of British imperialism in the Atlantic and Indian Ocean worlds draws on the perspectives of British newcomers overseas and their native hosts, metropolitan officials and corporate enterprises, migrants and settlers. Leading scholars examine the divergences and commonalities in the legal and economic regimes that allowed Britain to project imperium across the globe. They explore the nature of sovereignty and law, governance and regulation, diplomacy, military relations and commerce, shedding new light on the processes of expansion that influenced the making of empire. While acknowledging the distinctions and divergences in imperial endeavours in Asia and the Americas – not least in terms of the size of indigenous populations, technical and cultural differences, and approaches to indigenous polities – this book argues that these differences must be seen in the context of what Britons overseas shared, including constitutional principles, claims of sovereignty, disciplinary regimes and military attitudes.
via Britain’s Oceanic Empire (HC) – Historic Naval Fiction.
It is a rare occurrence indeed to have the great pleasure of receiving quite such a magnificent large-format volume as this, Rif Winfield’s First Rate, arriving on one’s desk for review
The First Rate ships of the line were indeed, as the book’s subtitle indicates, the greatest warships of the Age of Sail. They were the most powerful and the most impressive ships of war (or indeed ships of or for any other purpose) afloat for a period of some two-and-a-half centuries, as well as by far the most expensive vessels both to build and to maintain. Made and conceived to impress as well as to fight, the very size of a First Rate, together with the lavishness and detail of its decoration, was intended to strike awe into all who set eyes on it, whether at home or abroad, and to leave no doubt in the mind of any beholder concerning the might and prestige of the nation and monarch whose flag that ship bore. And, to quote the New York Times book reviewer Richard Snow writing nearly two decades ago now, whose words I can hardly better: “These sailing ships – today reduced to quaint and soothing images on wall calendars – were in their time the most complicated machines on earth, and the deadliest.” Indeed, they were.
via Roger Marsh Review: First Rate – Historic Naval Fiction.
John D. Grainger has a new book which is now available in hardcover, Dictionary of British Naval Battles. It was released wordlwide in April.
This very substantial, comprehensive dictionary contains entries on all the battles fought at sea by British fleets and ships since Anglo-Saxon times. Major battles, such as Trafalgar or Jutland, minor actions, often convoy and frigate actions, troop landings, bombardments and single ship actions are all covered.
Most accounts of British naval power focus on the big battles and the glorious victories – the picture which emerges from the rich detail in this dictionary, however, is of a busy, dispersed navy, almost constantly engaged in small scale activity – taking prizes in the eighteenth century, escorting convoys and being attacked by, and attacking, U-boats in the twentieth century, attacking minor as well as major enemy ports in all periods. Moreover, the action, which very often takes place not in proximity to Britain, but on a world stage, is not always successful and sometimes disastrous.
via Dictionary of British Naval Battles (HC) – Historic Naval Fiction.
his second book in the Cutler Family Chronicles explores the period when the young nation of America was finding it’s feet. It was setting up it’s forms of government but in Europe and North Africa was regarded as weak leading to the Barbary States of North Africa preying on it’s trading vessels. It’s main ally France, who had helped it to independence, was starting to experience it’s own problems as revolution drew nearer.
These problems are brought home to the Cutlers when their ship Eagle, with Richard’s brother Caleb aboard, is captured by Algerines and the crew is held for Ransom. Government expresses a concern for American seamen held in North Africa and a wish to do something about it but little practical seems to happen. The family must decide to handle the matter themselves and Richard sets off for Algiers.
Read More Review: For Love of Country by William C. Hammond – Historic Naval Fiction.
This latest episode of the Fighting Anthonys story is again set in Caribbean and American waters during the period when the French first appear on the station after entering the American War of Independence. It sees the family having to deal with a relative of an old nemesis bent on revenge.As usual the book is fast paced with plenty of action sequences without detailed descriptions of ship handling. Over the series quite a long list of characters has been built up, many of which make an appearance so it was useful to have a character list at the start to refresh the memory.Whilst set in the historical timeline the books do not seek to insert the principal characters into true events and this gives the author more scope to produce a good yarn with a fresh feel. I continue to enjoy the series which is recommended.
via Review: Peregrine by Michael Aye – Historic Naval Fiction.
Patrick O’Brian is one of the most popular and highly regarded authors in the genre of Age of Sail Naval Fiction, however few of his fans know his background and that in fact Patrick O’Brian was not his real name.
A few years ago bestselling maritime historian, journalist, and nonfiction author Dean King released a biography of the man, revealing his true identity as Richard Patrick Russ, Patrick O’Brien: A Life Revealed.
To mark the relaunch of this work as an ebook Mr King has produced a short video which talks about his passion for O’Brian’s bestselling Aubrey-Maturin series, his voyage to Ireland to research the biography, and his startling discovery that “Patrick O’Brian” had a secret identity he kept hidden from the world. The video can be viewed below.
via Patrick O’Brian: A Life Revealed relaunched as ebook – Historic Naval Fiction.
Author Mark Keating has a new novel which is now available for pre-order in Hardcover and Paperback, Blood Diamond, in both Hardcover and Paperback. It will be released worldwide on 19 July 2012.
The fearless pirate captain Devlin is invited to London by the Prince of Wales, no less, and offered an amnesty if he will carry out a daring crime. Devlin is tasked with going to Paris to steal the biggest, most valuable diamond ever found – the Pitt Diamond – now in the possession of the French Prince Regent. Set against the unsure frenzy of speculation known as the South Sea Bubble, with action and suspense on the filthy streets and great palaces of London and Paris, not to mention an epic confrontation with the French navy in the English Channel.
via Blood Diamond (HC/PB) – Historic Naval Fiction.
Author Julian Stockwin has a new novel which is now available for pre-order in hardcover, Betrayal. It is due for release worldwide on 11 October 2012.
Cape Colony is proving a tiresome assignment for Captain Kydd’s daring commander-in-chief Commodore Popham. Rumours that South America’s Spanish colonies are in a ferment of popular unrest and of a treasure hoard of silver spur him to assemble a makeshift invasion fleet and launch a bold attack on the capital of the Viceroyalty of the River Plate, Buenos Aires.
Navigating the treacherous bars and mud flats of the river, the British invasion force lands and wins a battle against improbable odds, taking the capital and the silver. But nothing is as simple as it seems in this region of the world: the uprising that will see the end of Spanish rule never arrives and the locals begin to see dark conspiracies behind the invader’s actions. Soon the tiny British force finds itself surrounded by an ever more hostile population. The city begins to revolt against its liberators.
Read More Betrayal (HC) – Historic Naval Fiction.
The Paperback version of Conquest by Julian Stockwin is now available.
It was released in the UK on 10 May 2012 and will be published in the US on 1 October 2012.
via ‘Conquest’ Paperback now available for order – Historic Naval Fiction.
If you want to write a novel about an American officer in the Continental Navy based around the facts of the War of Independence you probably have to place him with John Paul Jones on Ranger and Bonhomme Richard. However the major sea battle which decided the war at the Virginia Capes only involved the French Navy. The skill therefore is to bring these two elements together in a believable narrative. Hammond does at excellent job of this whilst at the same time exploring the difficulties of personal relationships when close friends and family, as well as the public at large, find themselves on opposite sides of a conflict with divided loyalties.
The principal character is Richard Cutler whose branch of the family live near Boston and handle the shipping side of the family business whilst other relations are based in England and the Caribbean. When his brother Will is pressed into the Royal Navy and flogged to death the War takes on a new dimension for the young Richard and he joins Ranger as a Midshipman with the aim of avenging his brother’s death.
via Review: A Matter of Honor by William C. Hammond – Historic Naval Fiction.