This year sees the 350th anniversary of the Dutch attack on the Medway in June 1667 during the Second anglo-Dutch war. A number of events are planned to mark this anniversary. Also a book first published in 1970, The Dutch in the Medway by P. G. Rogers, is to be re-released and as few original copies are available this will be the first chance many who want to know more about this conflict will have to read it.
According to J. D. Davies, author of The Journals of Matthew Quinton, an expert on the navies of the period who is writing a foreword for the new edition “….. his account remains the fullest available in English, and is highly readable”. It is available for pre-order and will be released in the UK on 28 February and in the US on 15 April.
To quote the cover “The daring raid on the Medway in June 1667, when the Dutch navigated the treacherous shoals and sandbanks of the Thames estuary and the Medway in order to attack King Charles’s ships laid up below Chatham, was one of the worst defeats in the Royal Navy’s history, and a serious blow to the pride of the English crown. Perhaps the greatest humiliation was the removal by the Dutch of the flagship Royal Charles, towed down river after the raid and taken back to Holland. Her stern piece resides in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam to this day. The raid, intended to bring to an end English procrastination at the peace negotiations in Breda, was to cause simmering resentment and lead eventually to the Third Dutch War. As Pepys wrote in his diary on 29 July 1667, Thus in all things, in wisdom, courage, force, knowledge of our own streams, and success, the Dutch have the best of us, and do end the war with victory on their side. P G Rogers account of the raid, and its significance within the Second Anglo-Dutch War between Britain and the United Provinces of the Netherlands, is vividly told and he sheds much interesting light on the English navy of Pepys’s day. His particular knowledge of the Medway and the topography of Gillingham and Chatham also enables him to describe the manoeuvres at a level of detail that has not been replicated.”
Source: Re-release to Mark 350th Anniversary of Dutch in the Medway
Helen Hollick has a new non-fiction book available for pre-order, Pirates: Truth and Tale. It will be released in hardcover in the UK on 15 February 2017 and in the US on 1 May 2017.
The historian R. H. Tawney famously wrote, ‘The sixteenth century lives in terror of the tramp.’ The eighteenth century lived in terror of the tramps of the seas – pirates. Pirates have fascinated people ever since.It was a harsh life for those who went ‘on the account’, constantly overshadowed by the threat of death – through violence, illness, shipwreck, or the hangman’s noose. The lure of gold, the excitement of the chase and the freedom that life aboard a pirate ship offered were judged by some to be worth the risk. Helen Hollick explores both the fiction and fact of the Golden Age of piracy, and there are some surprises in store for those who think they know their Barbary Corsair from their boucanier. Everyone has heard of Captain Morgan, but who recognises the name of the aristocratic Frenchman Daniel Montbars? He killed so many Spaniards he was known as ‘The Exterminator’.The fictional world of pirates, represented in novels and movies, is different from reality. What draws readers and viewers to these notorious hyenas of the high seas? What are the facts behind the fantasy?
Source: Pirates: Truth and Tale (HC)
David O’Neil recently released a new novel, Privateer. It is available worldwide in Paperback.
Sailing as a privateer under a Letter of Marque provided by the Governor of Jamaica, Robert Shaw recruits a crew of fearless sailors, mostly ex-navy, to attack and seize vessels of enemy nations. Success of such efforts can be rewarding with riches untold. Failure can bring death by hanging or worse. Robert and his crew are determined to succeed and along the way comes opportunities to rescue ladies in distress, slaves in bondage, and governments under siege. As Robert’s small navy continues to expand, so do the opportunities and so does the danger.From the pen of author David O’Neill, frequently compared to noted authors W.E.B. Griffin, Douglas Reeman and Robert Ludlum comes a fascinating saga of sea warfare, piracy, treasures, battles, romance and hand-to-hand fighting as Robert and his men are solicited by the Royal Navy to clean the seas of marauding pirates and treacherous government officials.
M. C. Muir’s The Seventy-Four is the latest novel in her ‘Under Admiralty Orders – The Oliver Quintrell Series’ and starts with Quintrell arriving in Rio de Janeiro where he receives welcome new orders from a seventy-four which he is now required to escort to England.
With the power of the seventy-four it should be an easy voyage but they are soon engaged with two French frigates. When one is sunk and the other captured the British Captains have to spread their crews through the three ships whilst guarding a substantial number of prisoners. Into this mix is thrown some dissaffected Irishmen.All the threads were woven into a well wiritten plot which was an enjoyable read. In the Quintrell series the plots differ from the norm as the things tend to go wrong, even though it comes right in the end, which also makes them a refreshing amd believable read.Both the book and the series as a whole are highly recommended reading.
Source: Review: The Seventy-Four by M. C. Muir
John Drake has just released a new book in his Jacob Fletcher series, Fletcher and the Great Raid. It is now available in paperback and for kindle download worldwide.
1795: Inventor James Watt is accused of stealing a patent for a steam engine by the McCloud brothers. Furious with their boss, they take their technology to France, where Napoleon Bonaparte promises great things to come. The French and the English are at war, and a steam engine would be very valuable, allowing either side to leap the channel.Jacob Fletcher is a career navy man. Whether he wanted to be or not is open for debate. He is serving on the Serpant, under the inept Captain Cuthbert Percival-Clive, whose mother is Prime Minister William Pitt’s sister. Captain Percival-Clive has no interest in anything to do with his ship, and spends as much time as possible lounging in hotels, leaving all the work to Fletcher.During a test to see if Fletcher is fit for promotion, a civilian named Rowland sits in. But the mysterious Rowland has more in store for Fletcher than a test. Fletcher is tasked to find and destroy anything he finds at sea regarding the steam engine, before the French can build one. A deal is struck, but when Rowland says he must also kill the McCloud brothers, the English-Scots who betrayed their country, Fletcher is not sure how far he is willing to go.Promoted to captain and given his own ship, the adventure that lies before Jacob Fletcher will challenge his resolve. Before the story is over, Fletcher will be tempted by the Devil, garrotted, and nearly blown up – all on the same night!Told through the diary dictated to his reluctant clerk, and intended for his nephews, the life of Admiral Sir Jacob Fletcher is a rollicking adventure, and a great look into life on the high sea.
Source: Fletcher and the Great Raid (PB/K)
Following the wreck of HMS Prometheus, some of the crew have managed to evade capture and a British Frigate is nearby. When their attempt to steal a vessel coincides with a cutting out attempt, action and new responsibilities follow for Tom King. Now based in Malta with a shore job he worries that his seagoing career will be over.Another well written narrative from Bond with sea action and some nefarious shoreside activities which as usual follows a wide cast of characters from all ranks as well as some civilians, all of whom you feel you know. The plot had plenty of unexpected twists which made it hard to put down.Bond’s historical accuracy, knowledge of sailing ships and characterisations imerse you in the period and he continues to be one of the best contemporary naval fiction authors. Highly recommended.
Source: Review: The Blackstrap Station by Alaric Bond
The Sugar Revolution is the second book in The Evan Ross Series which follows an officer who lost an arm and has little prospect of further sea appointments. Instead, ably assisted by James Wilton, he runs the Antigua dockyard, however, this is a cover for his counter espionage activities.
A party of French nobles are seeking to end slavery on the sugar plantations in the Caribbean islands, and if they can’t do it with words will aid slave rebellions. The navies of all the powers are seeking to stop these activities and are mistrustful of the other nations. Ross must steer a path that is diplomatic but which finds and deals with the source of the slave unrest.Whilst not a navel novel in the purest sense, with a lot of time spent ashore, it nevertheless fits the genre and has a well written plot with a good pace. Despite this lack of sea time it was an enjoyable read and is one I recommend.
Source: Review: The Sugar Revolution by Lyle Garford