A Sea of Troubles (HC) – Historic Naval Fiction

Author David Donachie’s new novel, A Sea of Troubles, will be released in hardcover in the UK on 29 October 2012 and in the US on 15 November 2012.

1794. In the wake of the Glorious First of June, an equivocal success for the British naval fleet against the French Revolutionary forces, John Pearce has pressing matters to attend to. He has an urgent commission from Lord Hood, he must track down Midshipman Toby Burns and placate Emily who, estranged from her husband, Pearce ‘s enemy Captain Ralph Barclay, is now under his protection.

Meanwhile, Pearce finds himself aboard HMS Agamemnon, and in series of actions and shore raids, impresses Horatio Nelson with his bold and brave manoeuvers. Donachie’s sea-faring, firebrand hero throws an intriguing light on the naval skirmishes between Britain and Revolutionary France.

via A Sea of Troubles (HC) – Historic Naval Fiction.

British Naval Captains of the Seven Years War HC – Historic Naval Fiction

A. B. McLeod has a new book just released in hardcover worldwide, British Naval Captains of the Seven Years War: The View from the Quarterdeck.We have always known who were the captains of the Seven Years War, in the sense of having lists of their names. A few of them, who later became famous, we knew personally at least a little, but until now most of them have never been more than names. The genius of this book is to bring them to life as individuals; to show their hopes and fears, their faults and virtues, and to fill in the details of their working lives. Far from the grand narrative of battles and campaigns, this book illuminates the everyday world and everyday thoughts of a generation of 18th-century naval officers. N.A.M. Rodger, All Souls College, Oxford

This book provides a detailed insight into the operations of the British Navy during the Seven Years War by examining the experiences of the cohort of men promoted to the rank of captain in 1757. Byrne McLeod outlines their early careers, discusses how they were selected for promotion and examines the opportunities for making reputations and fortunes through action first against the French and then also the Spanish. She also demonstrates the iron control wielded by the Admiralty over its captains and shows that, although connections and interest assisted greatly with promotion, allegations of corruption were misplaced. The navy in this period was highly effective: an extremely complex and efficient bureaucracy where merit was most definitely rewarded.

Read More British Naval Captains of the Seven Years War HC – Historic Naval Fiction.

Review: A Call to Arms by William C. Hammond – Historic Naval Fiction

In the fourth instalment of the Cutler Family Chronicles the action moves to the The First Barbary War and finds Richard Cutler now in command of his own frigate, USS Portsmouth, and his son serving as a Midshipman aboard USS Constitution under Commodore Preble.

The next generation of the family starts to come to the fore in this new book and as they marry Hammond’s cast of characters continues to expand. This enables the author to explore the major events of the Barbary wars from the point of view of a Midshipman who can insert himself into the historical timeline more easily than a Captain.

This is an important aspect of Hammond’s work as the research and historical accuracy of the tale shine through. Writing from this side of the Atlantic I had heard of the Barbary Wars and of Stephen Decatur’s destruction of the USS Philadelphia but knew little else about the conflict. Hammond’s narrative is as informative as a non-fiction work but blended with a style that really makes you almost feel part of the Cutler family.

Read More Review: A Call to Arms by William C. Hammond – Historic Naval Fiction.

New Hornblower Novel – Historic Naval Fiction

C. S. Forester is one of the most famous and popular authors in Age of Sail naval fiction, and shortly after his death in 1966 his final unfinished work, Hornblower and the Crisis, was published. Although there were some notes on what was intended to happen many fans of the series were disappointed.

Now is seems John Mahon, with the support of Forester’s sons, has taken up the challenge of filling in the gaps and the result is The Jamaican Affair of 1805, released on Kindle.

George Forester says “John Mahon is an older fan of Hornblower with an inventive mind. This book, which takes off from, but in no way copies, the unfinished last book by C.S.Forester, Hornblower During the Crisis, was a challenge to himself which he accepted. We think he did a fine job. We hope you enjoy it.”

Read More New Hornblower Novel – Historic Naval Fiction.

Alaric Bond Review: Clear Lower Deck – Historic Naval Fiction

Roger Paine’s book, Clear Lower Deck is a collection of the author’s recollections and anecdotes, and provides a fascinating view of the post war Royal Navy from the ‘sixties to the early ‘eighties. The style is relaxed, competent and extremely easy to read, and the book presents well, in the large format paperback style favoured by Fireship Press. A few illustrations would have been welcome, but this is a minor point. What stands out is the intimate view of the RN of that time; you feel accepted into that tight club, with jargon, slang (always explained), and camaraderie abounding. It is a truly personal account of service life; one which is both authentic and totally captivating.

The author certainly led an active career, with deployments aboard a wide variety of vessels, as well as time at the Ministry of Defence, and on an admiral’s staff during the Falklands conflict. Starting as a sixteen year old junior rating, he rose to Commander, a rank he held for several years before opting for retirement. There are no eye witness accounts of great battles or major incidents, but in smaller matters, like entertaining visiting dignitaries, dealing with a manipulative superior, or heading an exercise to secure an ammunition depot, the detail is minute and insight fascinating. Service etiquette is also covered, as well as a good deal of background into various naval traditions. The author even recounts his experiences as he retires from a life he had known since a lad, faces the civilian world, (and further watery perils beyond).

Read More Alaric Bond Review: Clear Lower Deck – Historic Naval Fiction.

Hostile Shores (HC) – Historic Naval Fiction

The latest Alan Lewrie novel by Dewey Lambdin titled Hostile Shores, due for release on 26 February 2013, is now available for pre-order in hardcover worldwide.

In 1805, with news of Admiral Nelson’s death fresh on his mind, Captain Lewrie’s HMS Reliant joins up in the voyage that will culminate in the Battle of Cape Town, in which the British wrested control of South Africa from the Dutch. In the wake of that victory, Lewrie heads west to South America, where Britain’s attacks on Buenos Aires and other Spanish colonies have not been faring as well. But the worst is yet to come, and soon Lewrie will be facing a battle at sea that will put his naval career and life at risk.

Dewey Lambdin has been roundly praised as one of the best living novelists writing in the vein of Patrick O’Brian and C. S. Forester. In Hostile Shores he returns with an exciting, battle-heavy tale of life in the King’s Navy, starring the rough-edged hero Captain Alan Lewrie.

via Hostile Shores (HC) – Historic Naval Fiction.

The Transformation of British Naval Strategy (HC) – Historic Naval Fiction

James Davey has a new book available for pre-order in hardcover, The Transformation of British Naval Strategy: Seapower and Supply in Northern Europe, 1808-1812. It is will be released worldwide on 15 November 2012.

After the Battle of Trafalgar, the navy continued to be the major arm of British strategy. Decades of practice and refinement had rendered it adept at executing operations – fighting battles, blockading and convoying – across the globe. And yet, as late as 1807, fleets were forced from their stations due to an ineffective provisioning system. The Transformation of British Naval Strategy shows how sweeping administrative reforms enacted between 1808 and 1812 established a highly-effective logistical system, changing an ineffective supply system into one which successfully enabled a fleet to remain on station for as long as was required.

Read More The Transformation of British Naval Strategy (HC) – Historic Naval Fiction.

Review: Hell Around the Horn by Rick Spilman – Historic Naval Fiction

In the Age of Sail the strength of wind and the height of waves in the southern ocean faced by ships rounding the Horn in winter were infamous, so from a book titled Hell Around the Horn you expect some pretty graphic descriptions of life at sea.  Rick Spilman does not disappoint.

After an introduction from one of the crew in later life, the story starts as the windjammer Lady Rebecca takes on a cargo of coal and signs on crew at Tiger Bay, Cardiff, ready for a voyage to Chile. We then follow the vessel from the point of view of various officers, apprentices and crew, as well as the captain’s wife, as it faces seemingly never ending storms and the hardships lead to death and conflict aboard.

With Spilman’s graphic writing you get a real feel for the conditions they faced and the hardships of handling these large ships with minimal crew. Though this is a work of fiction it is based around a well documented voyage in the early 1900’s, a period rarely covered, and the descriptions of life aboard are as informative as a non-fiction work without overpowering the reader with minute detail.

Read More Review: Hell Around the Horn by Rick Spilman – Historic Naval Fiction.

An Interview with David Wesley Hill – Historic Naval Fiction

Historic Naval Fiction is pleased to have obtained an Interview with David Wesley Hill whose novel At Drake’s Command will be released in November

What can you tell us about At Drake’s Command without spoiling the plot for readers?

At Drake’s Command tells the tale of Peregrine James, a young cook who signs aboard the Pelican, a galleon commanded by Francis Drake, in 1577. The Pelican is the flagship of a fleet of five vessels bound ostensibly for Alexandria to trade in currants. Soon, however, Perry learns that the real destination of the adventure lies elsewhere, although the exact particulars are secret. As the expedition sails down the coast of Africa toward the Cape Verde Islands, it becomes clear that he has joined a pirate band rather than a peaceful company of merchants. After being kidnapped by Moors, marooned in Barbary, and hung three times from the mainmast spar, it also becomes clear to Perry that it is unwise to be both insignificant and expendable when you are serving so perilous a master as Captain Francis Drake.

Read More An Interview with David Wesley Hill – Historic Naval Fiction.