Latest news for Modern Era Nautical Literature. New releases, author interviews, etc.

Britannia's AmazonAntoine Vanner has just released the next book in The Dawlish Chronicles, Britannia's Amazon. It is now available in paperback and for kindle download worldwide.

Florence Dawlish stands at the quayside in Portsmouth and watches the Royal Navy’s newest cruiser, HMS Leonidas, departing under command of her husband Captain Nicholas Dawlish. Months of separation lie ahead, quiet months which she plans to fill with charitable works.

Witnessing of the abduction of a young girl shatters that quiet, bringing Florence into brutal contact with the squalid underside of complacent Victorian society. With her personal loyalties challenged to the limit, and conscious that her persistence in seeking justice may damage her ambitious husband’s career, not to mention the possibility of prison for herself, Florence is drawn ever deeper into a maelstrom of corruption and violence. The enemies she faces are merciless and vicious, their identities protected by guile, power and influence.

Florence has faced danger before but it was shared then with her husband Nicholas. Now she must make the hardest decisions of her life without his support. And when legal measures prove futile she must make very difficult choices...

Britannia’s Amazon plays out in a world of extreme wealth and limitless poverty, marriages of American heiresses to British aristocracy and children starving in foul garrets, crusading journalists and hideously disfigured match-girls, arrogant aesthetes and ineffectual benevolence.

This is the fifth volume of the Dawlish Chronicles naval fiction series – action and adventure set in the age of transition from sail to steam in the later 19th Century. But in Britannia’s Amazon the action is driven by Florence, the indomitable wife whom naval officer Nicholas Dawlish met – and fell in love with – in the first of the series, Britannia’s Wolf. Fiercely devoted to the welfare of seamen and their families, she is to find that Britain itself offers dangers as lethal as her husband faces overseas.

This volume includes, as a bonus, the short story Britannia’s Eye, which casts light on Nicholas’s boyhood and his decision to join the Royal Navy.

Jutland: The Unfinished BattleThis year sees the centenary of the Battle of Jutland and for those interested an excellent resource for both the battle itself and planned commemoration events can be found at

To mark this anniversary Nicolas Jellicoe, the grandson of one of the admirals, as a new book out in hardcover, Jutland: The Unfinished Battle. It is now available in the UK and will be released in the US on 15 May 2016.

One hundred years after Jutland, the first and largest engagement of Dreadnoughts in the twentieth century, historians are still fighting this controversial and misunderstood battle. What was in fact a strategic victory stands out starkly against the background of bitter public disappointment in the Royal Navy and decades of divisive acrimony and very public infighting between the camps supporting the two most senior commanders, Jellicoe and Beatty.

This book not only re-tells the story of the battle from both a British and German perspective based on the latest research, but it also helps clarify the context of Germany's inevitable naval clash. It then traces the bitter dispute that ensued in the years after the smoke of war had cleared right up to his death in 1935, Admiral Jellicoe was embroiled in what became known as the Jutland Controversy . Nick Jellicoe is uniquely placed to tell the story of Jutland. His naval connections are strong: his father, the second Earl served as First Lord of the Admiralty while his grandfather, Sir John Jellicoe commanded the Grand Fleet for the first two years on the war, from 1914 to 1916 famously described by Churchill as being the only man who could have lost the war in an afternoon .

Britannia's SpartanAntoine Vanner has just released the next book in The Dawlish Chronicles, Britannia's Spartan. It is now available in paperback worldwide and will be released for kindle shortly.

This is the fourth volume of the Dawlish Chronicles It is 1882 and Captain Nicholas Dawlish has just taken command of the Royal Navy’s newest cruiser, HMS Leonidas. Her voyage to the Far East is to be a peaceful venture, a test of this innovative vessel’s engines and boilers. It should bear no relation to the nightmare of failure in China that Dawlish remembers as his baptism of fire as a boy.

As HMS Leonidas arrives in Hong Kong Dawlish has no forewarning of the nightmare of riot, treachery, massacre and battle that he and his crew will encounter. A new balance of power is emerging in the Far East. Imperial China, weak and corrupt, is challenged by a rapidly modernising Japan, while Russia threatens both from the north. They all need to control Korea, a kingdom frozen in time and reluctant to emerge from centuries of isolation. British interests too are at stake, and treading a safe path between the rival powers is vital, but perhaps impossible.

Dawlish finds himself a critical player in a complex political powder keg. He must take account of a weak Korean king and his shrewd queen, of murderous palace intrigue, of a powerbroker who seems more American than Chinese and a Japanese naval captain whom he will come to despise and admire in equal measure. And he will have no one to turn to for guidance.

Britannia’s Spartan sees Dawlish drawn into his fiercest battles yet on sea and land. Daring and initiative have already brought him rapid advancement and he hungers for more. But is he at last out of his depth?

Gone to Sea in a BucketDavid Black has just released the first book in a new series, Gone to Sea in a Bucket. It is now available in paperback worldwide and also as a kindle download.

Norway, 1940: Sub Lieutenant Harry Gilmour’s first encounter with battleship action is not the adventure he had hoped for. Faced with a thankless task and ill equipped to handle it, Gilmour’s inexperience leads to a damning allegation. His future hangs in the balance.

But then Lieutenant Peter Dumaresq steps in to offer him a lifeline—an advanced navigation course that will take him aboard a crack submarine, HMS Pelorus, under the command of a Royal Navy hero. Faced with a possible court martial, Harry chooses life underwater. Once aboard, however, Harry is confronted for the first time by the full horror of submarine warfare. If he can just overcome his fears, it will be the making of him.

Because survival itself is the challenge now. For Harry and the rest of the crew, the next depth charge could be the one that sinks them.

Enemy In SightThe third book in Richard Freeman's new naval fiction series, Enemy In Sight, is now available for kindle download worldwide.

Spring 1942. On a routine extraction, a British submarine finds that all of its erstwhile passengers are dead... except one. It turns out that intelligence is being leaked, and men are being sent to their deaths.

Lieutenant Commander George Steadfast – maverick leader and a favourite of Sir Winston Churchill – is in North Africa, assigned to a station that does not want him, to a command he does not desire. In an attempt to drive him out, Steadfast is assigned what is supposed to be a mundane task: he is to ferry a squad of sappers to the island of Platos.

But when an E-boat crosses his path, toying with him, guiding him towards Platos, he realises something bigger is going on. The island is not what it seems, and the Germans are lying in wait. Stuck with a drunken Army officer, subordinates who frown upon his reputation and facing a knowledgeable and dogged foe, Steadfast faces his toughest battle yet.

Will he pull everyone together in time and see the mission through? Or will he fail at the final hurdle when the Enemy is in Sight? The odds are not in his favour...

Action This DayNaval historian Richard Freeman who has written a number of non-fiction works has started a naval fiction series. The second book in the Commander Steadfast Thrillers, Action This Day, is now available for kindle download worldwide.

November 1941. After the dramatic sinking of his first command – HMS Defiant – Lieutenant Commander George Steadfast needs a break. But less than a week later he is called to the Admiralty. He is being sent straight off on another mission. And the orders for this one come straight from Sir Winston Churchill.

Steadfast is being sent to the Mediterranean to rescue an Albanian scientist called Janos Dobransky. Dobransky has invented a compound that is vital to the war effort. Unaware of his importance, the Italians have captured him and are keeping him and other prisoners in a fortress off the Albanian coast. It is of vital importance that he is rescued before the Germans realise who he is. The mission is top secret, and Steadfast's orders are clear: Get Dobransky back. No high jinks. No bravado. Just straight in and straight out.

With the fortress manned from all sides, how will Steadfast manage to infiltrate the island? Can he complete his mission without the Nazi's catching wind of what Churchill is up to? Or will his latest – and most daring – mission be his last...?

'Action This Day' is a gripping naval thriller that combines convincing period detail with full-throttle story-telling, with almost every incident based on a true event in one of the thousands of convoys during the Second World War. It is the follow up to 'First Command'.

Britannia's SharkAntoine Vanner has just released the third book in The Dawlish Chronicles, Britannia's Shark. It is now available in paperback worldwide and will be released for kindle shortly.

1881. The British Empire's power seems unchallengeable. But now a group of revolutionaries threaten that power's economic basis. Their weapon is the invention of a naïve genius, their sense of grievance is implacable and their leader is already proven in the crucible of war. Protected by powerful political and business interests, conventional British military and naval power cannot touch them.

A daring act of piracy drags the ambitious British naval officer, Nicholas Dawlish, into this deadly maelstrom. Drawn in too is his wife Florence, for whom a glimpse of a half-forgotten face evokes memories of earlier tragedy. For both a nightmare lies ahead, made worse by a weakness Dawlish never suspected he had. Amid the wealth and squalor of America's Gilded Age, and on a fever-ridden island ruled by savage tyranny, and manipulated ruthlessly from London by the shadowy Admiral Topcliffe, Nicholas and Florence Dawlish must make very strange alliances if they are to survive – and prevail.

HMS WaspPeter J. Holloway has a new book based around his experiences in the Navy after WWII. HMS Wasp is now available for pre-order in paperback worldwide. It will be released on 25 July 2014.

Set in a time before mass tourism and the exodus from the west Indies of families seeking work in the United Kingdom, Ted Harris spends his National Service in a Royal Navy sloop touring the Caribbean. For him and his messmates the life of sunshine, sport, calypso music, and exciting girls is in complete contrast to the dull grey austerity of post war Britain. But for Ted Harris, it is a life changing experience which leads in a direction that he could not have imagined when he first joined the Navy. H.M.S. Wasp is closely based on the experiences of its author, Peter Holloway, who served in the Royal Navy on the America and West Indies station. The events and characters are authentic and only the names of the individuals and of the ship itself have been changed.

© 2008-2023 David Hayes (Astrodene)