On December 31, 1862 while under tow in a gale off Cape Hatteras, USS Monitor sank. The Monitor had been in service for only ten months and yet in thaOn December 31, 1862 while under tow in a gale off Cape Hatteras, USS Monitor sank. The Monitor had been in service for only ten months and yet in that brief time had revolutionized naval warfare. The wreck of the Monitor was finally located in August of 1973. In his book, USS Monitor – A Historic Ship Completes Its Final Voyage, John Broadwater tells the remarkable story of the ship and of the dedicated teams of archeologists, historians, divers and engineers who worked over the last forty years to preserve the ship and to rescue what could be saved from the wreck.
Broadwater is uniquely qualified to tell the story of the “ship that changed everything.” He was the only person involved in the Monitor from the discovery of the wreck in 1973 through preservation, management and the recovery of the portions of the ship being preserved ashore today. He recently retired from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, where he served as chief archaeologist.
It is difficult to overstate the importance of the USS Monitor. The Federal Navy had nothing that would be able to stop the Confederate ironclad, CSS Virginia, built from the hull and machinery of the ex-steam frigate, USS Merrimack. Only the genius of the Swedish engineer and inventor John Ericson, who delivered the radical USS Monitor in just over 100 days, stopped the Confederate monster. The battle between USS Monitor and CSS Virginia ended in a draw, and yet the four hour slugging match between the two ironclads on March 9, 1861, made all the wooden navies in the world instantly obsolete.
USS Monitor – A Historic Ship Completes Its Final Voyage tells the story of the revolutionary ship, from its conception, to its preservation over 150 years later. The account is big, sweeping and complex – part history, part mystery, and part high adventure, as well as being a major engineering and organizational puzzle to be solved.
Broadwater does a fine job in presenting the story in manageable portions without overwhelming the reader. Initially, the book alternates between the history of the ship in 1861 and the discovery of the wreck site in 1973. Then, the book settles into an alternating pattern of descriptions of the planning and organizing for each major dive season, followed by fascinating and often harrowing descriptions of the challenges of diving on the wreck, 240 feet underwater, off the treacherous Cape Hatteras coast.
The book is beautifully illustrated, and replete with photographs and interesting sidebars, detailing various aspects of the history, discovery and preservation of the ship. USS Monitor – A Historic Ship Completes Its Final Voyage is a fascinating story, well told, of a ship that changed history and of those who worked long and diligently to preserve her. Highly recommended.
Her previous novel,"Captain Blackwell’s Prize" falls equally well in the categories of nautical adventure and historical romance. It is the sort of noHer previous novel,"Captain Blackwell’s Prize" falls equally well in the categories of nautical adventure and historical romance. It is the sort of novel that readers of C.S. Forester and Patrick O’Brian can enjoy along with fans of Jane Austen and Daphne du Maurier." Ulett continues this balance between adventure and romance in Blackwell's Paradise, with Captain James Blackwell and his wife, Mercedes, beginning on a Royal Navy frigate, sailing on a mission to the Pacific, and continuing, somewhat unexpectedly, on the Hawaiian islands. In parallel stories, Ulett captures the wild life among battling Hawaiian kingdoms, as well as the early settlement of Honolulu, where fur traders, whalers and the naval ships of several nations all compete for trade with the islands. Blackwell and Mercedes, individually and together, are well drawn and fascinating characters on both the familiar surroundings of a Royal Navy ship and the more exotic environs of the Sandwich Islands. Great fun. Highly recommended....more
Joan Druett's Judas Island, the first book of her Promise of Goldtrilogy, is a delightful mix of nautical adventure, romance and droll comedy.
In theJoan Druett's Judas Island, the first book of her Promise of Gold trilogy, is a delightful mix of nautical adventure, romance and droll comedy.
In the novel, Harriet Gray, an eighteen year old British actress, finds herself abandoned on the deck of the brig Gosling, a ship whose ownership is unclear and which is under the command of Jake Dexter, a captain who technically may be a pirate, even if he does not think of himself as such. The crew is a motley band of treasure seekers, now highly distracted by the lovely young actress who stands before them. The Gosling is anchored off the brooding Judas Island. Captain Dexter and his crew are trying to unravel the island's mysteries and find the treasure that is rumored to be be hidden somewhere on its shores, although to no avail. Harriet impetuously buys her way into the band of adventurers and induces them to sail to Valparaiso in search of her brother, who is rounding up a herd of alpaca, which she promises the crew will bring them all riches.
What makes this novel such fun is that it is quite different from much of nautical fiction and yet feels wholly authentic. Joan Druett has written over 20 books of both nautical fiction and non-fiction, and has won multiple awards for her histories. Among other things, Druett is an authority on women at sea in the 19th century. Whereas in most nautical fiction, women are either loyal wives, mistresses or prostitutes, Harriet Gray is a resourceful young woman making her way under difficult conditions in a dangerous world, both at sea and ashore. No less fascinating is Captain Jake Dexter, out to seek his fortune after being betrayed by his employer and the woman he loved. The sparks of both attraction and repulsion between these two strong and vividly drawn characters will be entertaining to see develop over the next two books of the trilogy.
One other wonderful aspect of the novel is the dry humor throughout the book. Usually, it lurks just below the surface, though in several scenes it breaks through uproariously. When the Gosling's crew goes ashore in Valparaiso to seek out Harriet's missing brother, who turns out to be a wanted fugitive, they succeed in finding the slender Englishman, reeking to high heaven after being spat upon by unhappy llamas. In the process, they also tip off the authorities to his whereabouts. In the ensuing chase, the Gosling's crew and their smelly companion are narrowly rescued by Captain Dexter in a purloined public coach, careening through Valparaiso's waterfront streets. A very funny scene indeed.
Judas Island is a highly entertaining sea adventure with a refreshingly different cast of characters told by a master storyteller. Highly recommended. I look forward to reading the next two books of the trilogy, Calafia's Kingdom and Beloved Enemy....more
The Tainted Prize is Margaret Muir’s second book of the Oliver Quintrell series. After sending Captain Quintrell to the bottom of the world in pursuitThe Tainted Prize is Margaret Muir’s second book of the Oliver Quintrell series. After sending Captain Quintrell to the bottom of the world in pursuit of Floating Gold, the admiralty is confident in the good captain’s discretion. It is 1803. The Peace of Amiens has collapsed. Captain Quintrell is given command of the frigate HMS Perpetual and is set off on a secret mission to South America to search for a missing frigate and to undertake a diplomatic mission that might impact the outcome of the war with Bonaparte and France. In addition to coping with French corvettes, privateers and slavers, Quintrell and the officers and crew of HMS Perpetual must also face the Southern Ocean and the winding and treacherous Straits of Magellan.
Tainted Prize is refreshing in that it isn’t told strictly from the Olympian perspective of the quarterdeck. We also see the ship through the eyes of fourteen year old Tommy Wainwright, who joins the Perpetual after escaping working in the the coal mines of the north; mines which had killed his sister, his father, and his grandfather, and still haunt the young man’s dreams. As ship’s boy, he shares a mess with, among others, Bungs, an irascible cooper and Eru, a free black sailor from Santo Domingo.
Muir does a fine job at deftly introducing the context of the times without slowing down the story. It is easy to understand why Tommy sees running off to sea as a preferable and arguably safer occupation than crawling down tunnels in a coal mine to set blasting charges. Likewise, the Eru, the black tar, concisely reminds the reader of the slave rebellions in the Caribbean when he tells his own story to his messmates. Muir also vividly communicates the contentious issue and horror of slavery when the the Perpetual discovers a wrecked slave ship in the Straits, where its human cargo was abandoned to die.
Margaret Muir has sailed on square rigged ships and it shows in the authority and ease with which she writes about the HMS Perpetual. The tale is well told, the characters are vivid and believable and the plot is both imaginative and faithful to the history. Highly recommended....more
Joan Druett’s The Beckoning Ice, the fifth in her series of Wiki Coffin nautical mysteries, begins in 1839, on the sealer Betsey of Stonington, homewaJoan Druett’s The Beckoning Ice, the fifth in her series of Wiki Coffin nautical mysteries, begins in 1839, on the sealer Betsey of Stonington, homeward bound from “a short but very profitable season far south of Cape Horn.” The schooner is very nearly wrecked on a massive iceberg, which looms suddenly out of the fog. The terror of nearly hitting the ice island is only made worse by the corpse of a man, apparently bludgeoned to dead, frozen on a ledge on the face of the ice.
The Betsey later crosses the course of the small flotilla of ships, brigs and schooners of the U.S. Exploring Expedition, a joint naval and scientific venture sent to chart the Pacific to help promote American trade. When the sealers report the apparent murder, Wiki Coffin is called to investigate, which will not be immediately easy to do, as the expedition is bound for Orange harbor in Tierra del Fuego. Soon Wiki will also have to investigate the suspicious suicide of a young naval lieutenant as well as avoiding several attempts on his own life. While performing his other duties and coping with bigotry and misunderstanding in the small fleet, Wiki must untangle the skein of secrets and alliances that result in the death of the young officer while evading the determined killers that threaten his own survival.
I am of the opinion that a murder mystery is only as good as the detective created to solve it. Joan Druett has created a marvelous detective in Wiki Coffin. The son of a wealthy ship’s captain and a Maori women from the Bay of Islands, New Zealand, he serves as the expedition’s “linguister,” which is to say a translator and language specialist. He was also duly deputized by the sheriff of Portsmouth, Virginia as an agent of law for the expedition. He the classic man of several worlds, able to understand both cultures yet as an outsider often capable of seeing what others do not.
Druett’s choice of the U.S. Exploring Expedition is also inspired. The expedition was rife with conflicts between and amongst the naval officers and the “scientifics,” the civilian scientists brought along to make observations and to record expedition data. Jealousy, paranoia, ambition and the clash of egos provides the perfect backdrop for murder and intrigue. Druett based a number of her characters and some of the plot conflicts on the historical records and diaries kept during the expedition.
The Beckoning Ice is part nautical adventure, part murder mystery, and part thriller, as well as thoroughly researched historical fiction. A multi-award winning nautical historian and novelist, Joan Druett brings a historian’s eye for detail and a novelists imagination, sense of character, plot and pacing to the novel. The tension only keeps building and the actions never waivers. The Beckoning Ice is a marvelous read. Highly recommended....more
Alaric Bond’s The Patriot’s Fate, the fifth in his Fighting Sail series, is an exciting nautical adventure that is also a rich and fascinating voyageAlaric Bond’s The Patriot’s Fate, the fifth in his Fighting Sail series, is an exciting nautical adventure that is also a rich and fascinating voyage through the history, politics and complex divided loyalties of Britain at the end of the eighteenth century.
Many novels in the genre follow the model used by C.S. Forester, Patrick O’Brian and so many others, where the focus is the career of a single Royal Navy officer. The Patriot’s Fate, like the other books in Bond’s Fighting Sail series, is told through multiple perspectives, ranging from the ship’s captain, to the junior officers and warrants, to Jack Tars and the ship’s boys. The approach gives a much broader sense of what is going on aboard ship. It works particularly well in The Patriot’s Fate because it allows parallel and overlapping story lines that keep the novel moving along briskly.
In The Patriot’s Fate, Bond has been careful in choosing his history. The climax of the book is the Battle of Tory Island in October of 1798. Just over two months before an admiral named Nelson ruined Napoleon’s plans in Egypt at Aboukir Bay. The famous Battle of the Nile, as it has become known, is completely and refreshingly absent from The Patriot’s Fate. The story of that battle is wonderful but it has been retold so often, in so many other novels, that as a reader I felt grateful to be taken elsewhere. While the Battle of Tory Island was far smaller that the Battle of the Nile, it was no less consequential, leading directly to the Treaty of Union between England and Ireland.
In 1798 the Society of United Irishmen, lead by the charismatic Wolfe Tone, is ready to rise again against the British. The French are again assisting the Irish by sending ships and troops. As a French fleet of troopships and men-of-war bears down on the coast of Ireland, a single British frigate must delay them until help arrives to stop the invasion. By the vagaries of chance and heritage, friends and shipmates find themselves on opposite sides of the conflict. The sense of conflicting loyalty to friends, country and cause is especially gripping as the guns begin to fire.
Bond is especially good at creating believable and engaging characters. Readers of his past books will be pleased to be reunited with Captain Sir Richard Banks, Lieutenant Tom King, the Mannings and the unfortunate Irishman, Micheal Crowley, among others. New readers will be pleased to make their acquaintance. New characters like Betsey, the surgeon’s wife, clever and capable, if just a touch lacking in virtue, are also great fun.
The Patriot’s Fate is a gripping tale that is extremely difficult to put down. It left me sorry that it had ended and hungry for more. Highly recommended.
Linda Collison’s recently released “Barbados Bound,” begins provocatively, “I came aboard with the prostitutes the night before the ship set sail.”
TheLinda Collison’s recently released “Barbados Bound,” begins provocatively, “I came aboard with the prostitutes the night before the ship set sail.”
The year is 1760 and not yet 17 year old Patricia Kelley is, quite literally, seeking to find her place in the world. The illegitimate daughter of a West Indies plantation owner, attending an English boarding school, she finds herself without money, family or connections when her father dies suddenly. With a head full of dreams of reclaiming the plantation where she was born and largely raised, that her father promised to her as a dowry, she stows away aboard a merchant ship carrying gunpowder and military stores, bound for Barbados. She has much to learn of the world and her education is just beginning.
Discovered and befriended by a young gunner’s mate, Patricia initially avoids detection as a stowaway by coming on deck only at night and in sailor’s clothes. Tall and lanky, she learns that she can pass as man, if need be, a discovery which will later prove invaluable. When discovered as a stowaway, she avoids being put ashore at the next port by agreeing to work as a loblolly, an assistant to the ship’s surgeon. As a proper lady, it is not a job she would prefer but in exchange for passage she agrees.
Patricia is to become a surgeon’s mate in more senses than one. When her chimerical dreams of plantation ownership vanish, she agrees to a marriage of necessity to the older Scottish ship’s doctor. In a personal, and often brutal, voyage of discovery, Patricia comes to know the horrors of yellow fever in British military camps, as well as the nightmarish conditions aboard a Royal Navy hospital ship. She will survive fire, shipwreck, fever, and battles at sea and ashore. She will, ultimately, be forced to leave Patricia behind, to become known as Patrick.
Linda Collison brings just the right experience to Barbados Bound. In addition to the necessary historical research, she knows both the nautical and medical sides to her tale. Having sailed across the Pacific on a replica of Captain James Cook’s HMS Endeavour, Collison understands the technical aspects of the rigging as well as the the sights, sound and smells of sailing on a square rigged ship. She is also a trained nurse, so the descriptions of the medical scenes are suitably vivid and no doubt accurate.
Barbados Bound is a rousing and engaging tale of the almost impossible challenges facing a young woman cast adrift in 18th Century British empire. Fascinating and vividly told. Highly recommended.
The book is the first book in the Patricia McPherson Nautical Adventure series. Barbados Bound was inspired by Collison’s young-adult historical novel, Star-Crossed. The New York Public Library chose Star-Crossed to be among the Books for the Teen Age — 2007.
Many of the classics of nautical literature are stories of young men who set off to sea, often compelled, in equal parts, by necessity and a longing fMany of the classics of nautical literature are stories of young men who set off to sea, often compelled, in equal parts, by necessity and a longing for adventure. Joan Druett's “A Love of Adventure” is just such a tale, with an important twist or two. Her young hero, Abigail Pandora Sherman, is a heroine and has no need to run off to sea, as she was born and largely raised aboard her father's merchant brig, with which she shares her middle name. “A Love of Adventure” is a wonderfully written and highly entertaining novel, carrying the reader from New Zealand to New Bedford and back again, by way of Panama and the wilder coasts of South America. It is a rousing adventure and coming of age story that also includes elements of mystery and intrigue.
Not quite 16 year old, Abigail Sherman fully expects to follow her late mother's example - to marry a ship's captain and sail with him aboard ship. It is not to be, however. Problems with her father's business ventures in New Zealand and a concern that since her mother died, Abigail has not learned the manners of a “proper lady,” find her shipped off to live with relatives in New Bedford, Massachusetts. Later when she learns of her father's murder, she knows she must return to claim what is left of her birthright, including and perhaps especially the brig on which she was born and raised.
Abigail's struggle to find her place in the world in the face of her relatives who know what is “best” for her, feels both historically appropriate and yet still quite modern. Druett cannily makes Martha Cady, the niece of womens' right activist, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, a next neighbor to one of Abigail's New Bedford neighbors. Cady is an interesting character in her own right and also reminds the reader that the issue of womens' right did not start with Betty Friedan.
The real action of the novel takes place on the whaling ships captained by Abigail's uncle, cousin and the handsome Seth Morgan. The scenes of the ships at sea, battling storms, as well as the officers and crews in primal battle with whales, are vivid and engrossing. There are also murders, near mutiny, brawling and debauchery, overlaid by intrigue, riddles and deception.
Engaging, beautifully written and simply fun, “A Love of Adventure” is a delight. Highly recommended....more
For the sake of full disclosure, I am not a huge fans of thrillers, particularly thrillers involving ships. The plots often strike me as implausible aFor the sake of full disclosure, I am not a huge fans of thrillers, particularly thrillers involving ships. The plots often strike me as implausible and the descriptions of the ships and ship operations often border on the laughable. (Too often, they leap across the border.)
This is not the case however with R.E. McDermott's Deadly Straits. The book is a maritime thriller whose plot is disturbingly plausible. And unlike virtually every other thriller I have come across which features ships, Deadly Straits consistently gets it right. It is a thriller that even a thriller skeptic and ship geek can love.
For readers who know nothing about ships, the world depicted in Deadly Straits will be engaging and vivid, as opposed to broadly drawn and vague, as is so often the case. For those who have spent time in the marine industry, the novel is refreshingly on target and the characters are entirely familiar. The captains, mates and engineers sound like captains, mates and engineers. In some respects, it is like visiting old friends.
Deadly Straits travels from the anchorages and drydocks at Singapore, to the backwaters of Malaysia, to shipping offices in London, though the Straits of Malacca, and to the Panama Canal, with stop-overs in Chechnya, Teheran and Langley,Virginia. It is fast paced, multilayered and gripping.
We meet the central character of the book, Tom Dugan, climbing out of tanker ballast tank in Singapore. He is a port engineer and marine surveyor - a skilled professional, a bit rough around the edges and yet not unsophisticated, having traveled the world as an operating engineer on ships, or meeting the ships as a consulting engineer. He works well as the thriller protagonist because while being smart and educated, he also regularly gets grease beneath his nails. He moves easily between insight and action as the novel requires.
The bad guys are refreshingly diverse. Some are motivated by religious fanaticism, while others act from old fashioned greed. Several are driven by a quest for political advantage. They are as nasty, sadistic and duplicitous as we expect and need them to be.
Finally, what makes the book so gripping is that, unlike many thrillers, it is wholly plausible. If 9/11 demonstrated that passenger aircraft could be used as flying bombs, Deadly Straits suggests the potential for using large tankers as weapons in major world straits, making them deadly straits, indeed. The plot is frightening because the potential is so real.
Deadly Straits is R.E.McDermott's first book. I hope he keeps writing. I think I would enjoy spending more time with his protagonist, Tom Dugan. Deadly Straits is a gripping read – highly recommended....more
Alaric Bond's wonderful new book, Cut and Run, the fourth in his Fighting Sail series, steps away from the Royal Navy and takes us onto the decks of aAlaric Bond's wonderful new book, Cut and Run, the fourth in his Fighting Sail series, steps away from the Royal Navy and takes us onto the decks of a merchantman - a ship of the Honorable East India Company. The ships of the "John Company," as the HEIC was colloquially known, were the connective tissue of the empire, carrying trade goods and merchants outbound and bringing back the riches of the India and China to England. In a time of war, these ships were also a virtual treasure trove for enemy privateers.
In Cut and Run, Royal Navy Lieutenant Tom King finds himself on the beach, on half pay. The frigate, HMS Pandora, on which he served so valiantly in the Battle of Camperdown (in the previous book, True Colours) is being refit and her captain has gone ashore to consider a run for Parliament. Lacking money and connections, Lt. King decides to take a position as an officer of the Pevensey Castle, a ship of the Honorable East India Company. He is joined by Robert Manning, a surgeon's mate from the Pandora, and his new wife Kate, who has arranged a position as purser's assistant on the Indiaman.
While the life on a merchant man proves to be quite different from that of a Royal Navy ship, neither the sea nor the politics of the day have fundamentally changed. Britain is still at war with France and money and influence still hold sway on land and sea. King and the Mannings are unhappy to realize that their new captain, Rogers, also served in the Royal Navy. King served with Rogers on HMS Vigilance where Rogers proved himself to be a dangerous and incompetent buffoon, who nevertheless happened to be from a wealthy and influential family. King is also not pleased to learn that Captain Rogers has given him the lowly rank of Midshipman.
King soon learns that while the Indiaman is about as large as a Royal Navy frigate, the Pevensey Castle sails like a barrel and is woefully under-gunned which will be an issue later in the book when the Indiaman must contend with French privateers.
What makes Cut and Run such an entertaining read is that it is sufficiently different from fiction focusing on the Royal Navy so that it feels fresh. At the same time, the characters and surroundings are similar enough to make a fan of Georgian naval fiction feel quite at home.
As was the case in Bond's previous books, the characters are all engaging and well drawn. His books continue to reflect the viewpoints of sailors from all ranks and positions, rather than as the account of a single heroic sailor. In Cut and Run, Tom King is somewhat closer to this role than in Bond's previous books. Nevertheless, Bond's ships are still populated with wonderfully vivid and idiosyncratic characters; from an Irish volunteer steward to a Lascar bosun, to a bosun's mate who proves too enthusiastic in combat for his own health. I am particularly fond of a red haired sailor that we met in a previous book named Johnson or Simpson, depending on which ship he is on, who has a particular knack for deserting and keeps managing to avoid the hangman's noose.
Cut and Run is a delightfully entertaining read that gives us a look at the often overlooked Georgian merchant marine. Highly recommended...more
Patrick McPherson is a 19 year surgeon's mate in the Royal Navy. By all appearances, he is an upstanding young man with a promising future. The dark sPatrick McPherson is a 19 year surgeon's mate in the Royal Navy. By all appearances, he is an upstanding young man with a promising future. The dark secret that the young mate carries is that he is indeed, a she. Patrick was born as Patricia. When Patricia's husband, a ship's surgeon dies while tending a fever outbreak in the Indies, she decides to "shed Patricia like an inconvenient skin, becoming Patrick McPherson, a surgeon's mate, of His Majesty's frigate Richmond, on its undercover mission to Havana..." Linda Collison's new book Surgeon's Mate is the second in her series following the nautical adventures of Patricia McPherson.
In Surgeon's Mate, Collision deftly recreates the claustrophobic world of a Royal Navy frigate and gives the reader a glimpse of how a woman could, with considerable care and no little risk, maintain her disguise, even in the crowded and close-knit community within the wooden walls of a small navy ship.
Collison writes with an easy authority, both on shipboard life and the medical care of the period. She is an experienced sailor, including of square rigged ships, specifically, the replica of the HMS Endeavour. She is also a registered nurse. The combination, no doubt augmented by considerable research, allows her writing to feel completely authentic, whether describing the inconveniences of shipboard life, the lancing of boils or the cutting off of a sailor's gangrenous leg.
What makes the book especially intriguing is that while Patrick must cope with performing his first amputation, inoculating a crew of a Yankee schooner against smallpox, or dealing with French privateers, she also faces the larger and even more difficult conflict of figuring out who she is, and who she wants to be. Will she follow her head or her heart? Will she reveal herself and marry the handsome gunner's mate she loves, only to disappear into the invisible cadre of wives aboard the frigate or will she continue her chosen profession, which she can only do as a man?
This conflict remains unresolved, fortunately, as there will be more books in the series. I am indeed looking forward to the next installment. Highly recommended. ...more
Lord Macaulay wrote “There were gentlemen and there were seamen in the navy of Charles the Second. But the seamen were not gentlemen; and the gentlemeLord Macaulay wrote “There were gentlemen and there were seamen in the navy of Charles the Second. But the seamen were not gentlemen; and the gentlemen were not seaman.”
Twenty one year old Matthew Quinton, captain of the Happy Restoration, is from an old and respected family and is brother to an earl. He is very much a gentlemen. As his ship breaks apart on the rocks of Kinsale harbor, he is also painfully aware that he is no seaman. If he survives the loss of his first command, he is determined to learn the ways of the sea. So begins J.D. Davies’ excellent novel, Gentleman Captain.
Despite the loss of his first ship, the young captain is soon given command of another and sent off on a dangerous mission to the wild coast of Scotland. He encounters not only storms, collapsing rigging, and a jammed whipstaff, but also murder, political intrigue, and a range of allies and enemies who may not all be whom they seem. Throw in a noble woman, as treacherous as she is beautiful, and a brutal sea battle where Captain Quinton is outgunned and out manned, it all makes for a rousing read.
J.D. Davies is best known as a scholar of the Restoration Royal Navy, particularly for his highly regarded books, Pepys’s Navy: The Ships, Men and Organisation, 1649-1689 and Gentlemen and Tarpaulins: The Officers and Men of the Restoration Navy. In Gentleman Captain he continues to put his his scholarly knowledge to good use as the backdrop for a fun and fanciful tale.
In some respects Gentleman Captain is almost a prequel to all the fine Georgian naval fiction that we know and love, from Hornblower to Aubrey to Kydd and the rest. The Restoration Navy may have had all the same DNA, but in Gentleman Captain is more of an adolescent kid with bad skin as compared to the mature, the globe straddling navy of Nelson and Collingwood.
I am looking forward to reading The Mountain of Gold, the second in the series of the adventures of Matthew Quinton, which is currently available in the UK and will be available in the US on January 31, 2012. Astrodene’s Historical Naval Fiction site has reviewed the book and it sounds great.
J.D. Davies’ Gentleman Captain gives us a glimpse of the Royal Navy of the Restoration while introducing a fine new naval hero who is well on his way to becoming a skilled captain, in addition to being a gentlemen. Highly recommended....more