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 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.
- Non-Fiction Releases
- Created on Friday, 18 July 2014
- By Tim McGrath
Tim McGrath has just released a new book Give Me a Fast Ship: The Continental Navy and America's Revolution at Sea. It is now available worldwide in Hardcover and for Kindle download.
Five ships against hundreds—the fledgling American Navy versus the greatest naval force the world had ever seen...
America in 1775 was on the verge of revolution—or, more likely, disastrous defeat. After the bloodshed at Lexington and Concord, England's King George sent hundreds of ships westward to bottle up American harbors and prey on American shipping. Colonists had no force to defend their coastline and waterways until John Adams of Massachusetts proposed a bold solution: The Continental Congress should raise a navy.
The idea was mad. The Royal Navy was the mightiest floating arsenal in history, with a seemingly endless supply of vessels. More than a hundred of these were massive "ships of the line," bristling with up to a hundred high-powered cannon that could level a city. The British were confident that His Majesty's warships would quickly bring the rebellious colonials to their knees.
- Naval Fiction Releases
- Created on Tuesday, 01 July 2014
- By S. Thomas Russell
The next installment of Maritime adventures of Charles Hayden, Until the Sea Shall Give Up Her Dead, is now available for pre-order in Hardcover. It will be released in the UK on 17 July 2014 and in the US on 16 October 2014.
Under the command of the steadfast Captain Charles Hayden, Royal Navy frigate HMS Themis is sent across the Atlantic to counter the threat of the French forces in the West Indies. But before she strikes port in Barbados, the Themis intercepts a single boat adrift in the middle of the ocean - its sole occupants, two young Spanish noblemen. But not is all as it seems with Hayden's unexpected guests.
The mystery only deepens as Hayden's ship reaches Barbados, where he must take new orders from the Admiral. Hayden finds his ship in a squadron under the command of the conceited Sir William Jones, who involves Hayden on a course of action so foolhardy that he is faced with losing many of his men. Once again, the Themis is thrown into the most violent of action against the enemy - and Hayden must make the hardest choice of all, life or death?
- Book Reviews
- Created on Monday, 30 June 2014
- By David Hayes
I always look forward to a new instalment in the 'Journals of Matthew Quinton' by historian J. D. Davies as I always learn something new about the navies and history of the period. The latest instalment, The Battle of All the Ages, did not disappoint.
The book gets off to an action filled start with Matthew and his crew in the thick of the fighting during the The Four Days' Battle of 1666, a drawn out and fierce action of the Anglo-Dutch wars and a defeat for the English fleet. The Captain's of the typical 'Napoleonic' novel tend to be a Nelson character from more humble beginnings yet in this earlier era Quinton is a courtier and heir to an Earldom. Even so Davies has created a very believable and likeable character who you can empathise with.
As I have said before the navies of the 1660's were very different so it is not surprising that after his return from the battle at the whim of the King Matthew finds himself with a senior rank in an early incarnation of the Royal marines and on his way to Plymouth to root out the source of the false intelligence that caused the division of the English fleet before the battle and many lives.
After the conclusion of this mission Matthew returns to his ship to find that in an astonishing feat by the standards of the time has taken place and the shattered fleet has been repaired in just seven weeks. This enables the book to finish as it started with a climactic battle, in this case the one known as the St. James's Day fight.
As always Davies uses his historical accuracy to bring to life the events of these two great battles and the political intrigue of the period when allegiances and enmities were not as clear cut as in later periods.