The Beckoning Ice (K) – Historic Naval Fiction

Author Joan Druett’s new novel in the Wiki Coffin Mysteries series, The Beckoning Ice, can now be downloaded worldwide for Kindle.

It is February 1839, and the ships of the United States Exploring Expedition are thrashing about dreaded Cape Horn, on their way to a rendezvous at Orange Harbor, Tierra del Fuego, on a crazy mission to be the first to find Antarctica. A sealing schooner hails the brig Swallow with a strange tale of a murdered corpse on an iceberg–surely a case for Wiki Coffin, half-Maori, half-Yankee “linguister,” who is the representative of American law and order with the fleet.

But circumstances are against him. As Wiki has been banished from the Swallow to the Peacock, where he is forced to battle racism in the wardroom, and vengeful sealers on the decks, the puzzle is surely too much even for this experienced sleuth. Then Wiki is tested even further when he uncovers a brutal murder on board. To solve this double mystery, Wiki is forced to make a dangerous voyage to the utmost fringes of the beckoning ice, on a mission more dangerous than any he has faced in the past.

via The Beckoning Ice (K) – Historic Naval Fiction.

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Review: The Beckoning Ice by Joan Druett – Historic Naval Fiction

The Beckoning Ice is a mystery novel and, as you would expect from award winning historian Joan Druett, an extremely well written nautical novel as well. The plot of a great mystery novel must twist and turn and be totally unpredictable until the final pages and this is fully achieved in a hard to put down narrative.

Druett has  created a great detective in Wiki Coffin with a complex family background which enables him to be the outsider when the plot demands it and it’s good to see a new book in the series after a lengthy gap. He is half-Maori, half-Yankee “linguister,” who also serves  as the fleet representative of American law and order for the United States Exploring Expedition.

The story is set against a background of their work in the area of Cape Horn and when a sealing schooner hails the brig Swallow with a strange tale of a murdered corpse on an iceberg an investigation begins. The rivalries of the officers of the various ships lead to there being plenty of suspects for Wiki to investigate.

Combining historical and nautical accuracy with a fast paced mystery thriller has produced a marvelous book which is highly recommended.

via Review: The Beckoning Ice by Joan Druett – Historic Naval Fiction.

Ripples in the Sand (K) – Historic Naval Fiction

Author Helen Hollick’s new novel, Ripples in the Sand, has been released for Kindle and will be available in paperback worldwide on 21 December 2012.

Approaching England’s North Devon Coast Captain Jesamiah Acorne is worried. A Royal Navy frigate is trailing in his wake and Sea Witch has a hidden cache of brandy and indigo aboard. His instinct is to hoist full sail and flee, but he cannot attract attention, for his wife, Tiola, is ill and getting worse. She says the sea is affecting her, but Jesamiah has never seen seasickness like this before – is it something worse; something to do with her being a white witch perhaps?

Like an approaching storm, his worries get deeper, darker and more sinister.

Read More Ripples in the Sand (K) – Historic Naval Fiction.

Review: The Tainted Prize by Margaret Muir – Historic Naval Fiction

The Tainted Prize sees the return of Captain Oliver Quintrell now in command of the frigate HMS Perpetual and once again tasked with a special mission to the southern seas by the Admiralty. His orders are to find a missing frigate even if he has to follow it all the way to the Pacific and there are some unexpected encounters on the voyage as well as some diplomacy needed.

He is joined on the voyage by some familiar characters from the previous book, Floating Gold, as well as some new ones. The book follows both officers and members of the crew, particularly an escaped slave, Eku, and a powder monkey, Tommy Wainwright. Muir’s charecterisations are excellent and I particularly enjoyed Wainright’s interactions with the Captain. In Quintrell we have a very believable captain. He does not make friends within his crew but an ordinary humane person who is well respected.

via Review: The Tainted Prize by Margaret Muir – Historic Naval Fiction.

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

Those Gallant Seamen Get their Story Told at Last

Ringing with authenticity, this nail-biter is a tale of battling wind and weather to sail from the Atlantic to the Pacific via the most dreaded landmark in the sailor’s lexicon, Cape Horn.

Stories of ships in the Age of Sail are usually told from the quarterdeck, and the fight is against other ships. Rick Spilman’s novel, by contrast, revisits the windjammer era when men fought the elements with just rope and canvas, using muscle and willpower to get a freight to a destination. In the tradition of old salts who once wrote hugely popular stories of life under sail — men like “Shalimar” (F. C. Hendry), Captain F. Coffin, Jan de Hartog and Alexander Bone — “Hell Around the Horn” tells it like it was for the ordinary people who lived unthinkably dangerous lives at sea, from the point of view of the foc’sle and the half-deck, as well as the cabin.

via Joan Druett Review: Hell Around the Horn by Rick Spilman – Historic Naval Fiction.

An Interview with Joan Druett – Historic Naval Fiction

Historic Naval Fiction is pleased to have obtained an Interview with Joan Druett whose new novel in the Wiki Coffin Mystery series, The Beckoning Ice, will be available on Amazon shortly.

What can you tell us about The Beckoning Ice, without spoiling the plot for readers?

In this, the fifth book in the Wiki Coffin mystery series, it is February 1839, and the ships of the United States Exploring Expedition are thrashing about dreaded Cape Horn, on their way to a rendezvous at Orange Harbor, Tierra del Fuego, on a crazy mission to be the first to find Antarctica. A sealing schooner hails the brig Swallow with a strange tale of a murdered corpse on an iceberg- surely an impossible case for Wiki Coffin to solve, especially as he is soon distracted by a violent killing on board. Threatened by vicious murderers himself, he is forced to voyage as far as the beckoning ice before the double case is concluded.

via An Interview with Joan Druett – Historic Naval Fiction.

Review: When Washington Burned by Arnold Blumberg – Historic Naval Fiction

As someone with an interest in naval history I have read both fiction and non fiction works about the various sea battles of the War of 1812 and of the naval campaigns on the Great Lakes. However whilst I was aware that there was fighting on the Canadian border, that the British invaded and burnt Washington and there was a battle for New Orleans I had not read a work that covered the whole war and put the various battles on land and sea both in a chronological order and within the political and strategic aims of both sides.

Without drowning me in too much detail, When Washington Burned by Arnold Blumberg proved to be an excellent overview of the reasons both sides had to go to war and then ultimately seek to end what was really a pointless conflict. The battle information included brief histories of the commanding officers involved, the units involved, main manoeuvres and casualties all accompanied by plenty of contemporary illustrations and some maps.

via Review: When Washington Burned by Arnold Blumberg – Historic Naval Fiction.