Mary Sharnick: Painting Mercy. The sequel to prize-winning Orla’s Canvas, Orla, now twenty-four, has been studying and painting in New York City. It is 1975. Saigon has fallen to the Communists, and Vietnamese refugees have been invited to settle in New Orleans by Archbishop Hannan, a former paratrooper and military chaplain in WW II. Orla’s childhood friend and forever confidant, Tad Charbonneau, is practicing immigration law in New Orleans, where he mitigates challenging adoption cases involving children, many of them bi-racial, recently airlifted from Saigon and in need of new families. On her way back home for Katie Cowles’ wedding and a summer painting in misspelled St. Suplice, Orla reconnects with Tad and contemplates her future. While she anticipates marriage and family with her undisputed soul mate, she discovers upsetting news about Tad’s sexuality and learns that her forty-three-year-old mother is pregnant. Adding to her troubling personal revelations, Orla becomes involved in the devastating costs of war for former GI and Katie’s brother Denny Cowles and Mercy Cleveland, a Vietnamese orphan who eventually becomes as essential to Orla as her art. Orla once again calls upon her art to make sense of loss and gain. Through her craft she re-imagines how Love and Home might look, finally charting a future for herself she had not previously considered possible.
Sarah Kennedy, The Altarpiece: It is 1535, and in the tumultuous years of King Henry VIII’s break from Rome, the religious houses of England are being seized by force. Twenty-year-old Catherine Havens is a foundling and the adopted daughter of the prioress of the Priory of Mount Grace in a small Yorkshire village. Catherine, like her adoptive mother, has a gift for healing, and she is widely sought and admired for her knowledge. However, the king's divorce dashes Catherine’s hopes for a place at court, and she reluctantly takes the veil. When the priory’s costly altarpiece goes missing, Catherine and her friend Ann Smith find themselves under increased suspicion. King Henry VIII’s soldiers have not had their fill of destruction, and when they return to Mount Grace to destroy the priory, Catherine must choose between the sacred calling of her past and the man who may represent her country’s future.
Matthew Willis & J.A. Ironside: A Black Matter for the King. Two powerful rivals -- one decisive battle. Now a political hostage in Falaise, Ælfgifa forms an unlikely friendship with William, Duke of Normandy. William has been swift to recognize her skills and exploit them to his advantage. However, unbeknownst to the duke, Gifa is acting as a spy for her brother, Harold Godwinson, a possible rival for the English throne currently in the failing grip of Edward the Confessor. Homesick and alienated by the Norman court, Gifa is torn between the Duke's trust and the duty she owes her family. William has subdued his dissenting nobles, and a united Normandy is within his grasp. But the tides of power and influence are rarely still. As William's stature grows, the circle of those he can trust shrinks. Beyond the English Channel, William has received news of Edward's astonishing decree regarding the succession. Ælfgifa returns to an England where an undercurrent of discontent bubbles beneath the surface. An England that may soon erupt in conflict as one king dies and another is chosen. The ambitions of two powerful men will decide the fates of rival cultures in a single battle at Hastings that will change England, Europe, and the world in this compelling conclusion to the Oath & Crown series on the life and battles of William the Conqueror.
Mark A. Rimmer: The California Run. New York, 1850. Two clipper ships depart on a race around Cape Horn to the boom-town of San Francisco, where the first to arrive will gain substantial profits and win a $50,000 wager for her owner. Sapphire is a veteran ship with an experienced crew, while Achilles is newly-built with a complement of garrulous British sailors, recalcitrant Swedish immigrants, an enterprising French madam accompanied by three of her girls, Harry, a luckless Englishman, and Sarah Doyle, a brilliant and talented grifter. Despite having the advantage, Sapphire’s owner has placed a saboteur aboard the Achilles with instructions to impede her in any way possible, including murdering her chief mate and captain. An inexperienced 2nd mate, Nate Cooper, suddenly finds himself in command of Achilles aided by the late captain’s niece Emma, the only navigator remaining on board. Together with the help of Sarah Doyle, they fight to regain control over a crew of unruly misfits, weather the dangerous storms of Cape Horn, and arrive at their destination ahead of the Sapphire to claim the prize.
Roger Paine: Clear the Lower Deck. Do you know where the expression 'grog' comes from? Or what happened when the admiral's parrot got seasick? Or why a gun-toting generalissimo in the Philippines distributed medals from a shoebox? Do you know why a distinguished royal visitor had difficulty in flushing the ship's toilet in Antigua or why Invergordon was referred to as 'dump'? Or have you heard about a cat called Oscar who was sunk with the German battleship Bismarck in World War II but survived to be sunk twice more in the ships which rescued him? The answers to these questions, and other true salty stories, can be found in this book by former Royal Navy officer Roger Paine, as he charts the ups and downs of life, both ashore and afloat. Together with recipes for rum punch and Christmas cake, plus the traditional RN toasts for each day of the week, this delightfully irreverent, and occasionally indiscreet, collection of 'yarns' is here to be savoured and treasured. Shortlisted for a Mountbatten Maritime Media Award, 2010.
Jim Stempel: American Hannibal: The Extraordinary Account of Revolutionary War Hero Daniel Morgan at the Battle of Cowpens. On January 17, 1781, a battle took place in the backwoods of South Carolina. British Lt. Colonel Banastre Tarleton, handpicked by General Charles Cornwallis for command due to his dash and record of accomplishment, was opposed by Brigadier General Daniel Morgan, a rough-and-tumble son of the American frontier. Morgan employed a scheme so brilliantly conceived and masterfully executed that within an hour, the British found themselves overwhelmed, enveloped, and routed from the field. In response to this stunning American victory, Cornwallis embarked on a reckless, desperate trek north in pursuit of Morgan—a strategy that ultimately led to his own defeat at Yorktown. In his compelling account of the Battle of Cowpens, Jim Stempel makes the case that Morgan's victory closely mirrors Hannibal's extraordinary triumph at Cannae, regarded by many as one of the greatest military accomplishments of all time.
J. G. Harlond: A Turning Wind. From the trading colony of Goa to the royal courts of England and Spain, Ludo da Portovenere completes difficult and dangerous secret commissions on his own terms and for his own reasons. But, as these tasks bring him closer to success, Ludo is forced to confront dangerous secrets of his own. While Ludo pursues a delicate mission for the English queen in the Spanish royal court, Alina, Baroness Metherall, faces new challenges and dangers while trying to come to terms with what it means to be married to one person and love another. Ultimately, Ludo and Alina must decide who they really are, and to what extent their shared past should influence their future.
The Second Blast of the Trumpet: 1549. Freed from the galleys, the Scottish Reformer John Knox continues his mission as God’s messenger to strike at the roots of papistry. A prophet without honor in his own land, he is welcomed as a chaplain by Edward VI in England. But by challenging the liturgy of the English Protestant Church, he makes dangerous enemies, and with Edward’s untimely death and the accession of the Catholic Mary Tudor, Knox is forced to flee persecution. Despite the ever-present peril of capture, Knox crisscrosses Europe to ask the leading Reformation scholars his burning question – whether it is lawful to depose an ungodly monarch. While no answer is forthcoming, his plea has not gone unheeded. Someone is willing to commit regicide in his name.
Marie MacPherson: The First Blast of the Trumpet. Hailes Castle, 1511. Midnight on a doom-laden Halloween and Elisabeth Hepburn, feisty daughter of the Earl of Bothwell, makes a wish—to wed her lover, the poet David Lindsay. But her uncle has other plans. To safeguard the interests of the Hepburn family, she is to become a nun and succeed her aunt as Prioress of St. Mary’s Abbey, Haddington. There, plunged into the political and religious turmoil of the early Scottish Reformation, Hepburn's life is hardly one of quiet contemplation. Strong-willed and independent, she clashes with those who question her unorthodox regime at St. Mary’s, including Cardinal David Beaton and her rival, Sister Maryoth Hay. But her greatest struggle is against her godson, John Knox. Witnessing his rejection of the Roman Catholic Church—aided by David Lindsay—she despairs that the sins of her past may have contributed to his present disenchantment.
Philip K Allan: A Man of No Country: In 1798, Alexander Clay and his ship, Titan, are sent to the Mediterranean to investigate the rumors of a French army and fleet under Napoleon Bonaparte. When Admiral Lord Nelson arrives from Britain with reinforcements, Clay and Titan join Nelson’s fleet heading for Southern France. But on their arrival, they discover Bonaparte’s fleet is gone, and Nelson, aware of the dangers of an ambitious and ruthless general, orders an all-out hunt for Bonaparte’s armies before it is too late. As Titan searches for Napoleon’s forces, another threat has already gained passage on the ship. After engaging and destroying a Russian Privateer, the crew capture a mysterious stranger, claiming to be an English sailor who has been serving from childhood on Barbary ships. Shortly after he joins the ship, there begins a rash of thefts followed by the murder of another sailor. With the officers baffled as to who is behind this, it falls to Able Sedgwick, the Captain’s coxswain and the lower deck to solve the crime
Philip K Allan: On the Lee Shore. Newly promoted to Post Captain, Alexander Clay returns home from the Caribbean to recover from wounds sustained at the Battle of San Felipe. However, he is soon called upon by the Admiralty to take command of the frigate Titan and join the blockade of the French coast. But the Titan will be no easy command with its troubled crew that had launched a successful mutiny against its previous sadistic captain. Once aboard, Clay realises he must confront the dangers of a fractious crew, rife with corrupt officers and disgruntled mutineers, if he is to have a united force capable of navigating the treacherous reefs of Brittany's notorious lee shore and successfully combating the French determined to break out of the blockade.
Philip K Allan: A Sloop of War: The second novel in the Alexander Clay series is set on the island of Barbados, where the temperature of the politics, prejudices, and amorous ambitions are matched only by the sweltering heat of the climate. After limping into the harbor in the crippled frigate the HMS Agrius, accompanied by his French prize, the equally battered Courageuse, Clay meets with Admiral Caldwell, the Commander in Chief of the island. The admiral is impressed enough by Clay's engagement with the French man-of-war to give him his own command on the HMS Rush and send Clay to blockade the French island of St Lucia and to support a landing by British troops to attempt to take the island from the French garrison. The crew and officers of the Rush are repeatedly threatened along the way by a singular Spanish ship, in a contest that can only end in destruction or capture. And from the ranks, comes an accusation of murder leveled against Clay by the nephew of his former captain.
Philip K. Allan: The Captain's Nephew: 1790s Europe is embroiled in a battle for control of the sea and colonies. Tall ships navigate familiar and foreign waters, and ambitious young men without rank or status seek their futures in Naval commands. First Lieutenant Alexander Clay of HMS Agrius is self-made, clever, and ready for the new age. But the old world, dominated by patronage, retains a tight hold on advancement. Though Clay has proven himself many times over, Captain Percy Follett is determined to promote his own nephew. Before Clay finds a way to receive due credit for his exploits, he’ll first need to survive them. Ill-conceived expeditions ashore, hunts for privateers in treacherous fog, and a desperate chase across the Atlantic are only some of the challenges he faces. He must endeavor to bring his ship and crew through a series of adventures stretching from the bleak coast of Flanders to the warm waters of the Caribbean. Only then might high society recognize his achievements—and allow him to ask for the hand of Lydia Browning, the woman who loves him regardless of his station.