Hello and welcome to Astrodene’s 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, 11 November 2013
- By John A Wolter, David A Ranzan, & John J McDonough (Editors)
A new book, With Commodore Perry to Japan: The Journal of William Speiden Jr., 1852-1855, edited by John A Wolter, David A Ranzan, & John J McDonough is now available for pre-order in paperback or for kindle. It will be released on 15 November 2013 in the US and on 30 November 2013 in the UK.
With Commodore Perry to Japan offers a personal account of Commodore Matthew Calbraith Perry's expedition to Japan through the eyes of a sixteen-year-old purser's clerk of the USS Mississippi. The documentary edition, endorsed by the National Historic Publications & Records Commission, provides excellent coverage of both the political mission of the Perry expedition, the opening of relations with Japan, and of the social history of a naval warship as well. Also included are fifty-five illustrations ranging from hand drawn, pen-and-ink scenes of everyday life sketched by Speiden and other members of the crew to exquisitely detailed pith paintings by Chinese artists.
- Naval Fiction Releases
- Created on Sunday, 10 November 2013
- By Michael Winston
Michael Winston recently released a new novel in his Jonathan Kincaid series, The Lake War: Kinkaid with the Inland Fleet. It is is now available worldwide in paperback and for Kindle download.
It is 1776. The first battles of the American Revolution have just been fought and a large British army has just landed at Montreal and means to push down the chain of lakes to split the colonies. The only thing standing in their way is General Benedict Arnold's ragtag bunch of Continentals, militia and seaman at the bottom of Lake Champlain. This is the story of Kinkaid's first assignment, when he is sent up to the New York woods to advise Arnold in the building and fighting of an inland fleet to stop the British advance.
- Non-Fiction Releases
- Created on Wednesday, 06 November 2013
- By Ian Mclaughlan
Ian Mclaughlan's new book, The Sloop of War: 1650-1763, is now available for pre-order in hardcover. It will be released on 30 November 2013 in the UK and on 15 July 2014 in the US.
This is the first study in depth of the Royal Navy's vital, but largely ignored small craft. In the age of sail they were built in huge numbers and in far greater variety than the more regulated major warships, so they present a particular challenge to any historian attempting a coherent design history. However, for the first time this book charts the development of the ancillary types, variously described in the 17th century as sloops, ketches, brigantines, advice boats and even yachts, as they coalesce into the single 18th-century category of Sloop of War.
In this era they were generally two-masted, although they set a bewildering variety of sail plans from them. The author traces their origins to open boats, like those carried by Basque whalers, shows how developments in Europe influenced English craft, and homes in on the relationship between rigs, hull-form and the duties they were designed to undertake. Visual documentation is scanty, but this book draws together a unique collection of rare and unseen images, coupled with the author's own reconstructions in line drawings and watercolour sketches to provide the most convincing depictions of the appearance of these vessels. By tackling some of the most obscure questions about the early history of small-boat rigs, the book adds a dimension that will be of interest to historians of coastal sail and practical yachtsman, as well as warship enthusiasts.
- Non-Fiction Releases
- Created on Tuesday, 05 November 2013
- By Susan Rose
Susan Rose recently released a new book, England's Medieval Navy 1066-1509: Ships, Men & Warfare. It is now available in hardback worldwide.
We are accustomed to think of England in terms of Shakespeare's 'precious stone set in a silver sea', safe behind its watery ramparts with its naval strength resisting all invaders. To the English of an earlier period - from the 8th to the 11th centuries - such a notion would have seemed ridiculous. The sea, rather than being a defensive wall, was a highway by which successive waves of invaders arrived, bringing destruction and fear in their wake. Deploying a wide range of sources, this new book looks at how English kings after the Norman Conquest learnt to use the Navy of England, a term which at this time included all vessels whether Royal or private and no matter what their ostensible purpose - to increase the safety and prosperity of the kingdom.
- Naval Fiction Releases
- Created on Monday, 04 November 2013
- By William C. Hammond
It will not be released until 15 April next year (2014) but William C. Hammond's next offering in the Cutler Family Chronicles, How Dark the Night, is already available for pre-order in hardcover worldwide.
How Dark the Night profiles the years 1805 to 1810, picking up where the fourth volume, A Call to Arms, ends. These years leading up to the War of 1812 are devastating ones for the young republic and for the Cutler family. The life-and-death struggle between the forces of Great Britain and France continue in Europe, and the United States is caught in a web of financial and political chaos as President Jefferson and Secretary of State Madison endeavor to keep the woefully unprepared United States out of the imbroglio while at the same time defending the nation's honor. On the home front, the embargo acts initiated by the government threaten the livelihood of the Cutler family and other New England shipping families as merchant ships rot on their moorings and sailors sit on the beach, penniless. What is far worse to the Cutler family, however, is a grave illness that threatens the life of its most beloved member.
- Book Reviews
- Created on Thursday, 31 October 2013
- By David Hayes
In his new book Remember the Raisin, the first of a new trilogy about the War of 1812, Michael Aye explores the fighting in the North West. The book is mainly land based however it includes a good description of Commodore Perry's defeat of the British on the Great Lakes.
Aye developed an interesting principal character, Jonah Lee, who as the 'President's man' is tasked with ensuring the army under General William Harrison takes the fight to the British. He is present at all the major actions of the campaign. As a naval literature fan I have read a few books about the Great Lakes campaign, however Remember the Raisin puts it within the wider conflict which made it an interesting and informative read.
The book appeared to be well researched and the plot flowed well as it linked the various battles together. As you would expect from the author of a naval fiction series the Lakes action was well written and I look forward to reading more of the wider conflict from the perspective of Jonah Lee. Recommended.
- Non-Fiction Releases
- Created on Sunday, 27 October 2013
- By Robert A. Geake
Robert A. Geake has released a new book, The New England Mariner Tradition: Old Salts, Superstitions, Shanties and Shipwrecks. It is now available in paperback worldwide.
For over three centuries, New Englanders have set sail in search of fortune and adventure--yet death lurked on every voyage in the form of storms, privateers, disease and human error. In hope of being spared by the sea, superstitious mariners practiced cautionary rituals. During the winter of 1779, the crew aboard the Family Trader offered up gin to appease the squalling storms of Neptune. In the 1800s, after nearly fifty shipwrecks on Georges Bank between Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and Nova Scotia, a wizard paced the coast of Marblehead, shouting orders out to sea to guide passing ships to safety. As early as 1705, courageous settlers erected watch houses and lighted beacons at Beavertail Point outside Jamestown, Rhode Island, to aid mariners caught in the swells of Narragansett Bay. Join Robert A. Geake as he explores the forgotten traditions among New England mariners and their lives on land and sea