Hello and welcome to Historic Naval Fiction.
This site is dedicated to the Age of Sail and the transition to steam, and in particular the time of "Nelson's Navy" when sailing ships roamed and fought throughout the oceans of the world. Probably most people have heard of Horatio Hornblower the hero created by C S Forester but over the years many more authors and their heroes have appeared and these pages will summarise them under the Authors A-Z. You can also find them via the Book Title Index. If you want to chat about them or read additional reviews and comments not on this site why not join my Historic Naval Fiction forum.
I aim to provide details of all the naval fiction novels from the age of sail that have been written, not just the Royal Navy but the US Navy, the Bombay Marine and others. Many of these books are now out of print so I have also brought links to purchase them together in the online store. Please browse the various sections for further information. Let me know if you find my pages interesting, or if you know of another author that should be included, by using the contact form available in Contact Me. If you would like to receive a monthly email notification of what's new please subscribe to my newsletter. The site also covers all other nautical literature, both fiction and non-fiction in the Other Nautical Genres section. This is where you will find news and listings of naval fiction set after the Age of Sail.
- Non-Fiction Releases
- Created on Monday, 07 April 2014
- By Rif Winfield
The final instalment of Rif Winfield's epic series on the Design Construction, Careers and Fates of British warships will be released on 17 April 2014. British Warships in the Age of Sail 1817 - 1863 is now available for pre-order in Hardcover.
The publication of this book sees the completion of a monumental work listing the technical details and career histories of every significant British warship between 1603 and 1863. Following three earlier volumes, this one carries forward the story from the post-Napoleonic War reorganisation of the Royal Navy's rating system to the end of sail as the principal mode of propulsion. Although apparently well documented, this is a period of great complexity in the procurement and naval architecture of ships. The introduction of steam radically altered the design of vessels under construction and was later retro-fitted to others, while many 'names' lived a ghostly existence on the Navy List: ships ordered but not started, and in some cases having their intended draughts altered more than once before being cancelled entirely. This book meticulously sorts out and clarifies these confusions - a major contribution in itself - but for the first time it also provides outline service histories for an era that is largely neglected. Like its companion volumes, the book is organised by Rate, classification and class, with significant technical and building data, followed by a concise summary of the careers of each ship in every class. With its unique depth of information, this is a work of the utmost importance to every naval historian and general reader interested in the navy of the sailing era and the formative years of the steam navy that supplanted it.
- Non-Fiction Releases
- Created on Friday, 04 April 2014
- By Britt Zerbe
A new book by Britt Zerbe, A History of the Royal Navy: The Royal Marines, is now available for pre-order in Hardcover. It will be released worldwide on 30 August 2014.
The Royal Marines are the elite force of the Royal Navy. Founded in 1755, but tracing their origins as far back as 1664, the Marines are an iconic amphibious infantry force, combining military and naval skills and operations. During World War I, the Marines were key players in the amphibious landings at Gallipoli and in World War II the Marines were active in a number of theatres including the capture of Madagascar and the defence of Crete. In the post-war world, the Marines were active in the ill-fated Suez crisis. Today's Marines are highly-skilled maritime-focused commandoes who have played a pivotal role in recent conflicts in the Falklands, Afghanistan and Iraq. This book provides a complete history of the force from formation to the present day. As well as covering the campaigns fought by the Marines - from the Napoleonic Wars to the twenty-first century - the book also looks aspects of change and continuity in marine identity over the 300 years of their existence. As the first complete history of the Royal Marines, this book will be essential reading for all military and naval history enthusiasts.
- Book Reviews
- Created on Monday, 31 March 2014
- By David Hayes
Mean Sun is the first book in a new series by Gerry Garibaldi that follows the adventures of Daniel Wren. After he is caught by the press and taken aboard a navy vessel destined for a voyage to the far east he soon finds himself under the watchful eye of the master who takes an interest in his advancement.
The book has a well written and fast paced plot which was hard to put down. The depictions of life at sea and the action were well written and I will certainly look out for the sequel. On a slight negative note the book could do with some editing. There are some obvious errors such as the name of the principal vessel changing at one stage which should have been picked up and officianados of the genre will also spot some more technical instances however on balance they did not affect my enjoyment of the story.
- Book Reviews
- Created on Sunday, 30 March 2014
- By David Hayes
Song of the Mokihana is one of those interesting books that, whilst about sailing ships, are set in a different time period to the majority. In this case 1914. Set in the Pacific islands of French Polynesia the book is a romantic thriller that explores the tensions in an area which whilst remote from the conflict of the Great War is affected by it.
The schooner Mokihana is captained by Henry Keenan, who is half american half Polynesian, with an american mate and a native crew. It visits the French islands where if finds some shipwrecked germans, including Matildhe Kolbe who also has some Polynesian ancestry. In the dying days of both the age of sail and the war the author has weaved an intricate and gripping plot in which all the characters seem to have their own conflicting agendas from their ancestral and national loyalties.
For those not familiiar with the Islands, Matzenik's narrative gives you a real feeling for them at this time icluding the social attitudes and mores that existed between the natives, half castes and the various European powers. The author's descriptions of life aboard the Mokihana will be enjoyed by age of sail enthusiasts but it will also appeal to fans of many genres or those who just enjoy a thoroughly good read.
- Naval Fiction Releases
- Created on Saturday, 29 March 2014
- By Irving Litvag
A fictionalised account of the life of Uriah Phillips Levy USN by Irving Litvag, Commodore Levy: A Novel of Early America in the Age of Sail, is available for pre-order. It will be available in Paperback on 30 March 2014 in the UK and 15 April 2014 in the US. EDIT: I am advised by the publisher that there has been a change of plans and the book will now be released in Hardcover on 15 May 2014
By all accounts, Uriah Phillips Levy, the first Jewish commodore in the U.S. Navy, was both a principled and pugnacious man. On his way to becoming a flag officer, he was subjected to six courts-martial and engaged in a duel, all in response to antisemitic taunts and harassment from his fellow officers. Yet he never lost his love of country or desire to serve in its navy. When the navy tried to boot him out, he took his case to the highest court and won.
This richly detailed historical novel closely follows the actual events of Levy's life: running away from his Philadelphia home to serve as a cabin boy at age ten; his service during the War of 1812 aboard the Argus and internment at the notorious British prison at Dartmoor; his campaign for the abolition of flogging in the Navy; and his purchase and restoration of Monticello as a tribute to his personal hero, Thomas Jefferson. Set against a broad panorama of U.S. history, Commodore Levy describes the American Jewish community from 1790 to 1860, the beginnings of the U.S. Navy, and the great nautical traditions of the Age of Sail before its surrender to the age of steam.
- Non-Fiction Releases
- Created on Friday, 28 March 2014
- By Nick Robins
Nick Robins new book, Scotland and the Sea: The Scottish Dimension in Maritime History, is now available in hardcover in the UK. It will be released on 15 April 2014 in the US.
Scotland's maritime heritage is a highly significant one, embracing as it does a quite outstanding contribution to Britain's development both as an empire and as the world's leading maritime power in the nineteenth century. Scottish engineering, ship-owning and operating, as well as business and entrepreneurial skills, played a major part in the success of the Merchant Navy, while Scottish emigrants took skills to every corner of the world, creating trade and wealth both abroad and at home. In terms of engineering, 'Clyde-built' was the Kite Mark for the shipbuilding industry the world over. Scottish shipowners included household names such as Allan, Anchor, Donaldson and Henderson, while Scotsmen were instrumental in founding and, for much of the time, managing Cunard, British India, P & O, Orient, Glen and many other 'English' companies. The author tells an exhilarating story of energy and inventiveness, describing the remarkable navigational skills of the highlanders and the technological and business skills of the lowlanders, and relates the early development of the steamship, the impact of emigration, the involvement with exploration and the development of trade routes, and the final flowering of the world's last great iron sailing ships. And the evidence is still here, in the Cutty Sark, the Denny test tank at Helensburgh, and the Burrel Collection at Pollock, all reminders of a remarkable story.
- Other Releases
- Created on Thursday, 27 March 2014
- By Ozgur K. Sahin
Ozgur K. Sahin recently released the first book in a new pirate fiction series Brethren of the Spanish Main. The Wrath of Brotherhood it is available in ebook versions.
After learning of his sister's death at the hands of pirates, successful merchant Captain Roy Toppings sails to the Caribbean on a misguided mission of vengeance against the man who failed to protect her: her Spanish widower, Pablo Francisco.
In the climate of the Restoration-era Caribbean colonies, where scheming and stealth could yield a prize as readily as boldness and firepower, Roy's vendetta lands him and his small but talented privateer crew in the middle of political intrigue and a deadly invasion in the West Indies as the nations of Europe struggle to consolidate power in anticipation of new monarchs in England and France.
When Spain prepares a strike that could jeopardize all other commercial interests in the Caribbean, Roy must risk losing his chance at vengeance to fight for his nation and his fellow Brethren of the Coast.