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.
- Astrodene's HNF Blog
- Created on Saturday, 30 August 2014
- By David Hayes
When you read naval fiction set in the Ages of Sail you often want to know more about life at sea during the period. You can not put everything in a book and it is helpful to have sources to expand your knowledge. You can of course buy a non-fiction book or look up the glossary but if you would like to widen your knowledge in a more relaxed way you could try a Podcast.
The site republicandempire.com/white-ensign has a series of Podcasts which use the books of Patrick O'Brian as a route to discuss various aspects of naval life. Some recent examples include Puddings, Portsmouth, Privateers and Ships & Boats of the Mediterranean, which shows the variety of subjects covered.
- Naval Fiction Releases
- Created on Wednesday, 27 August 2014
- By David O'Neil
David O'Neil has released a new book which is now available for kindle download worldwide, Quarterdeck.
Fresh from the best-selling sagas of sea adventure, O'Neil brings us Quarterdeck, the sequel to best-seller Sailing Orders as once again Captain Sir Martin Forest-Bowers KB faces almost insurmountable odds as he and his valiant crew take to ship on behalf of Her Royal Majesty and the United Kingdom.
As a homeless boy, abandoned to look after himself at the age of thirteen, Martin encountered Captain Bowers RN and his family. Adopted by the Captain he entered the Navy as a Midshipman. Now married and a decorated Captain himself. He returns home to find his wife Jennifer at death's door. Prompted by his safe return, her recovery is assured and is followed by a return to work for 'plain Mr. Smith' with clandestine excursions and undercover trips to France. At sea once more, he is involved not only with preventing treasure ships from falling into French hands, but also with events on the east coast of America in the run-up to the war of 1812.
Action, battle, romance, adventure and thrills abound in O'Neil's latest venture into the world of sea battles against the mighty navies of France and Spain as well as American pirates.
- Non-Fiction Releases
- Created on Monday, 25 August 2014
- By James Bender
James Bender has a new book available for pre-order in Hardcover, Dutch Warships in the Age of Sail 1600 - 1714: Design, Construction, Careers & Fates. It will be released in the UK on 20 September 2014 and in the US on 15 October 2014.
For most of the seventeenth century the Netherlands constituted the most important maritime power in the world, with by far the largest merchant fleet and a dominance in seaborne trade that other countries feared and envied. Born out of an 80-year struggle against Spain for independence, the Dutch republic relied on naval power to guarantee its freedom, promote its trade and defend its overseas colonies. The Dutch navy was crucial to its survival and success, yet the ships that made up its fleets are among the least studied of any in the age of sail. The reasons for this include a decentralised administration of five separate admiralties, often producing ships of the same name at the same time, the widespread co-opting of merchantmen into naval fleets, and competing systems of measuring ships, all of which leads to confusion and error. The most significant contribution of this book is to produce the first definitive listing of all Dutch fighting ships - whether purpose-built, purchased, hired or captured - from the heyday of the United Provinces, complete with technical details and summaries of their careers. It also provides an appreciation of the administrative, economic and technical background, and outlines the many campaigns fought by one of the most successful navies in history. With its unique depth of information, this is a work of the utmost importance to every naval historian and general reader interested in the navies of the sailing era.
- Non-Fiction Releases
- Created on Thursday, 14 August 2014
- By John D. Grainger
Brian Lavery has a new book available for pre-order in Hardcover, The Ship of the Line: A History in Ship Models. It will be released in the US on 15 September 2014 and in the UK on 15 October 2014.
The National Maritime Museum in Greenwich houses the largest collection of scale ship models in the world, many of which are official, contemporary artefacts made by the craftsmen of the navy or the shipbuilders themselves, and ranging from the mid seventeenth century to the present day. As such they represent a three-dimensional archive of unique importance and authority. Treated as historical evidence, they offer more detail than even the best plans, and demonstrate exactly what the ships looked like in a way that even the finest marine painter could not achieve. The Ship of the Line is the second of a new series that takes selections of the best models to tell the story of specific ship types - in this case, the evolution of the ship of the line, the capital ship of its day, and the epitome of British seapower during its heyday from 1650-1850. This period too coincided with the golden age of ship modelling. Each volume depicts a wide range of models, all shown in full colour, including many close-up and detail views. These are captioned in depth, but many are also annotated to focus attention on interesting or unusual features, and the book weaves the pictures into an authoritative text, producing a unique form of technical history. The series is of particular interest to ship modellers, but all those with an enthusiasm for the ship design and development in the sailing era will attracted to the in-depth analysis of these beautifully presented books.
- Non-Fiction Releases
- Created on Tuesday, 05 August 2014
- By John D. Grainger
John D. Grainger has a new book available for pre-order in Hardcover, British Expeditions to the South Atlantic 1805-1807. It will be released in the US on 19 August 2014 and in the UK on 30 August 2014.
Between 1805 and 1807 the British mounted several expeditions into the South Atlantic aimed at weakening Napoleon's Spanish and Dutch allies. The targets were the Dutch colony on South Africa's Cape of Good Hope, which potentially threatened British shipping routes to India, and the Spanish colonies in the Rio de la Plata basin (now parts of Argentina and Uruguay). In 1805 an army of around 6,000 men was dispatched for the Cape under the highly-respected General David Baird. They were escorted and assisted by a naval squadron under Home Riggs Popham. The Cape surrendered in January 1806. Popham then persuaded Baird to lend him troops for an attack on Buenos Aires. Buenos Aires was taken in July but the paltry British force (around 2,400 men) was then besieged and forced to surrender in August. Popham was later court martialled for exceeding his orders. In Feb 1807 Montevideo was taken by a new (officially sanctioned) British force of 6,000 men. Whitelocke, the British Commander then attempted to retake Buenos Aires (not least to free British prisoners from the first attempt) but was defeated by unexpectedly fierce resistance stiffened by armed creoles and slaves. After heavy losses he signed an armistice, surrendering Montevideo and withdrawing all his forces. He too was court-martialled. One of the major themes of this new account is the strong Scottish connection - Baird and Popham were both Scots, and the 71st Highlanders made up the main force in the Cape and Popham's adventure. Another is the unlooked for consequences of these actions. The arrival of Scottish Calvinist ministers in the Cape influenced the eventual development of apartheid, while successful resistance to the British, with little help from Spain, shaped and accelerated the independence movement in South America.
- Other Releases
- Created on Sunday, 03 August 2014
- By Tim Severin
After a gap of several years Tim Severin is releasing a new book in The Pirate Adventures of Hector Lynch series. Pirate: Privateer is available for pre-order in multiple formats and will be released worldwide on 14 August 2014.
As Hector Lynch is diving for Spanish plunder in the sparkling waters of the Caribbean, he and his companions are captured by a French ship. Trying desperately to make their escape, they are shipwrecked on a tiny island near Jamaica. Hector's wife is waiting for him in Tortuga, and as he knows he has to somehow make his way back to her; meanwhile she decides to undertake the hazardous journey to find him. As Hector's voyages continue, he soon finds himself on the run across the high seas, accused of piracy...
- Book Reviews
- Created on Thursday, 31 July 2014
- By David Hayes
The Age of Sail naval fiction market is becoming a crowded one so it is hard for authors to come up with something new and unique that grabs the readers attention. V. E. Ulett achieves that in Blackwell's Paradise. Our hero finds himself in a leaking ship only fit for the breakers yard. That is unlikely to impress the Admiral he is carrying as a passenger and when the ship is wrecked you might suspect that would be the end of his career.
He is however needed for a mission to the pacific so he soon finds himself with a new command and at sea with permission to take his wife with him. Things do not go well for Blackwell who finds himself ashore and a prisoner in unusual circumstances. This is the main focus of the story as the narrative explores the interactions of Europeans and the Pacific natives through an interesting plot line that was unexpected and which I enjoyed.
This was an interesting and enjoyable read and particularly if you are looking for something with a different twist recommended.