The Perils of Command (HC/K) | Historic Naval Fiction

Author David Donachie’s new novel, The Perils of Command, will be released in hardcover and for kindle download in the UK on 19 November 2015. It will be released in the US on 19 January 2016.

John Pearce, having negotiated the highly questionable sale of the two French prizes taken in The Devil to Pay, has left HMS Flirt, as well as the crew and the wounded Henry Digby in Brindisi and is headed for Naples to see his lover. In an uncomfortable journey he seeks to work out a way to best both Admiral Sir William Hotham and Captain Ralph Barclay, men who are his sworn enemies. All his calculations are thrown into turmoil when he discovers that Emily is pregnant which, while it is a cause for joy, is also a reason to worry; she is still married to Ralph Barclay and by the laws of the time he can claim the child as his own

Source: The Perils of Command (HC/K) | Historic Naval Fiction

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Review: Medieval Maritime Warfare by Charles D. Stanton | Historic Naval Fiction

In the medieval period ship development was in two distinct groupings based on geography and climatic conditions, namely the Mediterranean where the lack of tides and large waves during the summer months led to a concentration on the development of galleys, and Western European/Scandinavian waters where harsher conditions led to heaver built sailing ships becoming the norm. This division is reflected in Medieval Maritime Warfare by Charles D. Stanton , with the book being split into two distinct sections covering each area.

At this time navigation was coastal and naval warfare therefore tended to take place outside harbours, or even well inland as rivers were more navigable by the shallower draught vessels of the period. Also it was often in close support of land engagements. The book is therefore to some extent not just a nautical book but a concise history of the political based conflicts of this time.The chapters cover the major periods of development including the conflicts between the city states such as Venice, Genoa and Pisa and the crusades in the Mediterranean section and the Viking period , the ongoing Anglo-French conflicts in the Atlantic and the Hanseatic League in the second part. Each chapter is concluded with a more detailed description of one major naval action of the period.

This is a scholarly work, including maps and illustrations, and gave a very clear explanation of how the various rivalries and trade of the smaller states typical of the period led to naval developments and engagements.

A recommended read for anyone who wishes to know more about this period before the cannon dominated naval warfare.

Source: Review: Medieval Maritime Warfare by Charles D. Stanton | Historic Naval Fiction

HMS Victory Pocket Manual 1805 (HC) | Historic Naval Fiction

A new hardcover book by Peter Goodwin is available for pre-order, HMS Victory Pocket Manual 1805: Nelson’s Flagship at Trafalgar. It will be released in the UK on 19 November 2015 and in the US on 15 December 2015.

The full history of the world’s most famous warship told in the most accessible pocket-book format and written by the leading historian of the sailing man of war. Includes a pertinent and varied selection of contemporary documents and records to explain the day-to-day running of a three-decker Georgian warship This new addition to the best-selling Conway Pocket-book range features Admiral Nelson’s fully preserved flagship HMS Victory, the most tangible symbol of the Royal Navy’s greatest battle off Cape Trafalgar on October 21st 1805.In the HMS Victory Pocket Manual, Peter Goodwin adopts a fresh approach to explain the workings of the only surviving ‘line of battle’ ship of the Napoleonic Wars. As Victory was engaged in battle during only two per cent of her active service, Peter Goodwin also provides a glimpse into life and work at sea during the other ninety-eight per cent of the time. As technical and historical advisor to the ship in Portsmouth for over twenty years, he is in a unique position to investigate and interpret not only the ship’s structure but also the essential aspects of shipboard life: victualling, organisation, discipline, domestic arrangements and medical care.In his role as Keeper and Curator of the ship, the author was asked thousands of questions by visitors and historians alike. This volume presents answer to the most important and telling questions: ‘What types of wood were used in building Victory?’; ‘What was Victory’s longest voyage?’; ‘How many shots were fired from her guns at Trafalgar?’; ‘How many boats did Victory carry?’; ‘What was prize money?’; ‘What was grog?’; ‘When did her career as a fighting ship end?’, and ‘How many people visit Victory each year?’.

Source: HMS Victory Pocket Manual 1805 (HC) | Historic Naval Fiction

Great South Land (K) | Historic Naval Fiction

Rob Mundle has a new book available for pre-order on Kindle, Great South Land: How Dutch Sailors Found Australia but Lost it to a British Pirate. It will be released worldwide on 1 November 2015.

For many, the colonial story of Australia starts with Captain Cook’s discovery of the east coast in 1770, but it was some 164 years before his historic voyage that European mariners began their romance with the immensity of the Australian continent. Between 1606 and 1688, while the British had their hands full with the Gunpowder Plot and the English Civil War, it was highly skilled Dutch seafarers who, by design, chance or shipwreck, discovered and mapped the majority of the vast, unknown waters and land masses in the Indian and Southern Oceans.

This is the setting that sees Rob Mundle back on the water with another sweeping and powerful account of Australian maritime history. It is the story of 17th-century European mariners – sailors, adventurers and explorers – who became transfixed by the idea of the existence of a Great South Land: ‘Terra Australis Incognita’. Rob takes you aboard the tiny ship, Duyfken, in 1606 when Dutch navigator and explorer, Willem Janszoon, and his 20-man crew became the first Europeans to discover Australia on the coast of the Gulf of Carpentaria. In the decades that followed, more Dutch mariners, like Hartog, Tasman, and Janszoon (for a second time), discovered and mapped the majority of the coast of what would become Australia. Yet, incredibly, the Dutch made no effort to lay claim to it, or establish any settlements. This process began with British explorer and former pirate William Dampier on the west coast in 1688, and by the time Captain Cook arrived in 1770, all that was to be done was chart the east coast and claim what the Dutch had discovered.

Source: Great South Land (K) | Historic Naval Fiction