Empire and Imperialism (HC) | Historic Naval Fiction

A new hardcover book by Daniel Owen Spence, part of the A History of the Royal Navy series, is available for pre-order, Empire and Imperialism. It will be released in the UK on 30 October 2015 and in the US on 30 December 2015.

The British Empire, the largest empire in history, was fundamentally a maritime one. Britain’s imperial power was inextricably tied to the strength of the Royal Navy the ability to protect and extend Britain’s political and economic interests overseas, and to provide the vital bonds that connected the metropole with the colonies. This book will examine the intrinsic relationship between the Royal Navy and the empire, by examining not only the navy’s expansionist role on land and sea, but also the ideological and cultural influence it exerted for both the coloniser and colonised. The navy’s voyages of discovery created new scientific knowledge and inspired art, literature and film. Using the model of the Royal Navy, colonies began to develop their own navies, many of which supported the Royal Navy in the major conflicts of the twentieth century. Daniel Owen Spence here provides a history of the navy’s role in empire from the earliest days of colonisation to the present-day Commonwealth. In doing so, he shows how the relationship between the navy and the empire played a part in shaping the globalised society we inhabit today.

Source: Empire and Imperialism (HC) | Historic Naval Fiction

Review: In Hostile Waters by William H. White | Historic Naval Fiction

In Hostile Waters principally follows the voyage of the USS Argus during the War of 1812 when it penetrated the Irish sea to bring the war to English waters. It also follows Argus’s eventual nemesis HMS Pelican. The narrative closely follows true events experienced by both vessels, so it is not neccessary to sumarise the plot, and the author achieves this by inserting his characters from previous series, Oliver Baldwin and Edward Ballantyne, into the roles played by the First Officer of Argus (William Watson) and the Captain of Pelican (Sir John Maples).

The focus switches between the two brigs to give the reader a clear view of their voyages, their experiences and the final battle in which Argus is captured. The single ship actions of the War of 1812 were well known on both sides of the Atlantic at the time and continue to interest modern readers. This work is an excellent addition to fiction covering this subject.

This was a well written detailed account of true events with a good pace which I recommend.

Source: Review: In Hostile Waters by William H. White | Historic Naval Fiction

Review: Gallagher’s Prize by Joseph O’Loughlin – Historic Naval Fiction

Gallagher’s Prize is the story of an Irish Catholic family and in particular the two sons Jack and Eamonn. The book starts when the patriarch of the family dies and under English Law the farming land is divided and becomes uneconomic. The first third of the book follows the eldest son Thorne who gives up farming to become a successful ship’s chandler supplying the English fleet. This leads to a host of conflicting priorities as his family make friends amongst the English, but are they really accepted? Thorne’s sons have loyalties on opposite sides, one joining the Royal Navy and the other joining the struggle for independence and eventually the French fleet.

For the naval enthusiast the book really comes to life at this point as the plot twists and turns around the strands that join and divide the brothers until Jack breaks his bonds with the English and serves with the American Navy in the War of 1812.

The book is a very well written book with a lot of well fleshed out characters from various nationalities. It had a good pace that held my attention well and despite the numerous books that have been written about the navies of this period had a fresh feel.

There were a few minor naval anachronisms but they did not detract from what was a good read. Highly Recommended.

Source: Review: Gallagher’s Prize by Joseph O’Loughlin – Historic Naval Fiction

Lion in the Bay (HC) – Historic Naval Fiction

A new hardcover book by the late Stanley L Quick, edited by Chipp Reid, is available for pre-order, Lion in the Bay: The British Invasion of the Chesapeake, 1813-14. It will be released in the US on 15 October 2015 and in the UK on 30 October 2015.

The story of Fort McHenry’s defense during the War of 1812 is well known, but “Lion in the Bay” is an intimate look at the events leading up to the battle that inspired our national anthem. As the War of 1812 raged on the high seas and along the Canadian border, the British decided to strike at the heart of the United States, the relatively undefended area of the Chesapeake Bay. The Chesapeake was a fertile farm region, a place of renowned shipbuilding, and an area politically divided over the war. Plus, if the British succeeded in taking the bay, the nation’s capital was not far away. Admiral George Cockburn led the British into the bay following a failed attempt to take Norfolk, Virginia. Originally intended to relieve pressure on other fronts, the Chesapeake theater became a British campaign of retribution for the burning of York (present day Toronto) by the Americans in 1812. As a result, the Chesapeake region, once an economic engine for America, was transformed into a region of terrorized citizens, destroyed farms, and fears of slave insurrection. In August 1814, President James Madison refused to bolster the defenses on the waterway that led to Washington, and the British took advantage. Cockburn again led a naval force into the bay, this time running into opposition from Commo. Joshua Barney and his Chesapeake Bay Flotilla. Barney put up a heroic, though doomed fight before the British sailed up the Patuxent River and landed at Benedict, Maryland, where over 4,000 troops disembarked to begin their advance toward Washington, D.C. After defeating the Americans at the Battle of Bladensburg, the British moved into Washington, burning the city, before returning to their boats and setting out for Baltimore. There, the British armada encountered a stalwart group of American defenders at Fort McHenry. Despite a massive bombardment, Baltimore’s defenses held, forcing the British to abandon their campaign to close the Chesapeake. More than just an in-depth look at one front of the War of 1812, “Lion in the Bay” is a story of resilience and triumph in the wake of catastrophe.

Source: Lion in the Bay (HC) – Historic Naval Fiction

In Nelson’s Wake (HC) – Historic Naval Fiction

Author James Davey has a new book in hardcover available for pre-order, In Nelson’s Wake: The Navy and the Napoleonic Wars .It will be released in the UK on 15 October 2015 and in the US on 17 March 2016.

Horatio Nelson’s celebrated victory over the French at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805 presented Britain with an unprecedented command of the seas. Yet the Royal Navy’s role in the struggle against Napoleonic France was far from over. This groundbreaking book asserts that, contrary to the accepted notion that the Battle of Trafalgar essentially completed the Navy’s task, the war at sea actually intensified over the next decade, ceasing only with Napoleon’s final surrender. In this dramatic account of naval contributions between 1803 and 1815, James Davey offers original and exciting insights into the Napoleonic wars and Britain’s maritime history. Encompassing Trafalgar, the Peninsular War, the War of 1812, the final campaign against Napoleon, and many lesser known but likewise crucial moments, the book sheds light on the experiences of individuals high and low, from admiral and captain to sailor and cabin boy. The cast of characters also includes others from across Britain-dockyard workers, politicians, civilians-who made fundamental contributions to the war effort and in so doing, both saved the nation and shaped Britain’s history.

Source: In Nelson’s Wake (HC) – Historic Naval Fiction

HMS Pickle (HC) – Historic Naval Fiction

Author Peter Hore has a new book in hardcover available for pre-order, HMS Pickle: The Swiftest Ship in Nelson’s Trafalgar Fleet .It will be released in the UK on 5 October 2015 and in the US on 15 October 2015.

The smallest ship in Nelson’s fleet at the Battle of Trafalgar was the curiously-named HMS Pickle. The ship was a topsail schooner and, though deemed too small to take part in the fighting it distinguished itself as the ship to bring Captain John Lapenotiere with the news of Nelson’s victory at Trafalgar and his death. The schooner set off on October 26th and took 9 days to reach Britain after facing a gale off Cape Finisterre. After the Pickle anchored in Falmouth Bay on November 4th Lapenotiere started his journey to London (a trip that usually took a week was covered in 37 hours with 19 horse changes). Captain Peter Hore describes the ship’s beginnings as a civilian vessel called Sting, through conversion with 10 guns and its role with Admiral Cornwall’s Inshore Squadron for French reconnaissance in 1803. HMS Pickle was also involved in the rescue for the crew of HMS Magnificent in 1804 and further reconnaissance missions. This full history details other colourful episodes including a single-ship action against the French privateer Favorite in 1807. Pickle was wrecked in July 1808 when she was grounded as she entered Cadiz harbour but without loss of life. The Pickle’s journey is commemorated by Royal Navy Warrant Officers on November 5th.

Source: HMS Pickle (HC) – Historic Naval Fiction

Review: The Scent of Corruption by Alaric Bond – Historic Naval Fiction

War has broken out again and Banks finds himself in command of a 74, Prometheus. Some of his officers are new creating tensions in the wardroom and many of the crew are pressed (wrongly?) and inexperienced. Throw in a stowaway and a former officer and Bond has come up with his usual eclectic mix of interesting characters from all decks.

The crew soon find themselves having to deal with a shipwrecked Indiaman and a privateer on their way to Gibraltar before Banks finds himself as senior officer of three ships having to deal with the arrival of a French squadron.

A very strong narrative of life aboard a 74 with plenty of naval action. The plot weaves the lives of the numerous characters together well in a fast paced, hard to put down, read.

The book and the series as a whole are highly recommended.

Source: Review: The Scent of Corruption by Alaric Bond – Historic Naval Fiction

Review: Water Ghosts by Linda Collison – Historic Naval Fiction

Although not from the classic age of sail Water Ghosts is set aboard a traditional Chinese Junk in the Pacific ocean which is being used as a sail training ship for troubled teenagers. The narrative starts off as a fairly conventional story about that  subject but slowly morphs into a fantasy adventure featuring the ghosts of the title. When the adults are lost the tenneagers must learn to work together is they are to survive.

It was an imaginative story with strong characterisations and a well written plot.

An enjoyable read which is recommended.

Source: Review: Water Ghosts by Linda Collison – Historic Naval Fiction