"There is nothing more enticing, disenchanting, and enslaving than the life at sea." — Joseph Conrad
"There is nothing more enticing, disenchanting, and enslaving than the life at sea." — Joseph Conrad
A big thank you to those authors who have already answered Penmore Press' call for new Nautical Fiction works. What a great month we have had reading! And for those authors who might be looking for a publisher for their Nautical Fiction, we invite you to consider Penmore. We will be reading Nautical Fiction through to the end of year, and next spring bring out a new fleet of exciting Age of Sail novels. Please check our submissions guidelines for more information.
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.
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.
James Boschert: Midshipman Graham and the Battle of Abukir. It is midsummer of 1799, the British Navy is in the Mediterranean Theater of operations. Young Midshipman Duncan Graham is anxious to get ahead in the British Navy, but has many hurdles to overcome. Without any familial privileges to smooth his way, he can only advance through merit. The fires of war prove his mettle, but during an expedition to obtain desperately needed fresh water – and an illegal duel – a French patrol drives off the boats, and Graham is left stranded on shore. It now becomes a question of evasion and survival with the help of a British spy. Graham has to become very adaptable in order to avoid detection by the French police, and he must help the spy facilitate a daring escape by sea in order to return to the British squadron.
James Keffer: Brewer's Revenge. Admiral Horatio Hornblower has given Commander William Brewer captaincy of the captured pirate sloop El Dorado. Now under sail as the HMS Revenge, its new name suits Brewer’s frame of mind perfectly. He lost many of his best men in the engagement that seized the ship, and his new orders are to hunt down the pirates who have been ravaging the trade routes of the Caribbean sea. But Brewer will face more than one challenge before he can confront the pirate known as El Diabolito. His best friend and ship’s surgeon, Dr. Spinelli, is taking dangerous solace in alcohol as he wrestles with demons of his own. The new purser, Mr. Allen, may need a lesson in honest accounting. Worst of all, Hornblower has requested that Brewer take on a young ne’er-do-well, Noah Simmons, to remove him from a recent scandal at home. At twenty-three, Simmons is old to be a junior midshipman, and as a wealthy man’s son he is unaccustomed to working, taking orders, or suffering privations. William Brewer will need to muster all his resources to ready his crew for their confrontation with the Caribbean’s most notorious pirate. In the process, he’ll discover the true price of command.
James Keffer: Brewer's Luck. After gaining valuable experience as an aide to Governor Lord Horatio Hornblower, William Brewer is rewarded with a posting as first lieutenant on the frigate HMS Defiant, bound for American waters. Early in their travels, it seems as though Brewer’s greatest challenge will be evading the wrath of a tyrannical captain who has taken an active dislike to him. But when a hurricane sweeps away the captain, the young lieutenant is forced to assume command of the damaged ship, and a crew suffering from low morale.Brewer reports their condition to Admiral Hornblower, who orders them into the Caribbean to destroy a nest of pirates hidden among the numerous islands. Luring the pirates out of their coastal lairs will be difficult enough; fighting them at sea could bring disaster to the entire operation. For the Defiant to succeed, Brewer must rely on his wits, his training, and his ability to shape a once-ragged crew into a coherent fighting force.
Ron Singerton: A Cherry Blossom in Spring. As the 20th century dawns, Japan is a rising power at odds with an expanding Russia. In Moscow and St. Petersburg, aristocrats advance their political interests and have affairs as factory workers starve. Young Alexei Brusilov, son of an ambassador, accompanies his father to Japan and there falls in love with the daughter of a Japanese war hero. Despite threats and warnings, he pursues this forbidden romance, delighted to discover that Kimi-san returns his affection, until disaster overtakes them. Amid the rising storm of revolution at home, Alexei returns to St. Petersburg to become a naval officer. A deadly rivalry with another cadet, a dangerous family secret, and friendships with revolutionaries imperil his career - and his life. Years later, Alexei finds himself aboard ship as the rusting and badly out of date Russian fleet is sent half way around the world to fight a modern and determined Japanese Navy. Will Alexei live to see his love again, or die under the blazing guns of the fast moving enemy cruisers?
John Danielski: Capital's Punishment. The White House is in flames, the Capitol a gutted shell. President Madison is in hiding. Organized resistance has collapsed, and British soldiers prowl the streets of Washington. Two islands of fortitude rise above the sea of chaos--one scarlet, one blue. Royal Marine Captain Thomas Pennywhistle has no wish to see the young American republic destroyed; he must strike a balance between his humanity and his passion for absolute victory.
John Danielski: Blue Water, Scarlet Tide. It’s the summer of 1814, and Captain Thomas Pennywhistle of the Royal Marines is fighting in a New World war that should never have started, a war where the old rules of engagement do not apply. Here, runaway slaves are your best source of intelligence, treachery is commonplace, and rough justice is the best one can hope to meet—or mete out. Thanks to Pennywhistle’s ingenuity, observant mind, and military discipline, a British strike force penetrates the critically strategic region of the Chesapeake Bay. But this fight isn’t just being waged by soldiers, and the collateral damage to innocents tears at Pennywhistle’s heart. As his past catches up with him, Pennywhistle must decide what is worth fighting for, and what is worth refusing to kill for—especially when he meets his opposite number on the wrong side of a pistol.
John M. Danielski: The King's Scarlet. Chivalry comes naturally to Royal Marine captain Thomas Pennywhistle, but in the savage Peninsular War, it’s a luxury he can ill afford. Trapped behind enemy lines with vital dispatches for Lord Wellington, Pennywhistle violates orders when he saves a beautiful stranger, setting off a sequence of events that jeopardize his mission. The French launch a massive manhunt to capture him. His Spanish allies prove less than reliable. The woman he rescued has an agenda of her own that might help him along, if it doesn’t get them all killed. A time will come when, outmaneuvered, captured, and stripped of everything, he must stand alone before his enemies. But Pennywhistle is a hard man to kill and too bloody obstinate to concede defeat.
Benerson Little: Fortune's Whelp. Privateer, Swordsman, and Rake. Set in the 17th century during the heyday of privateering and the decline of buccaneering, Fortune’s Whelp is a brash, swords-out sea-going adventure. Scotsman Edward MacNaughton, a former privateer captain, twice accused and acquitted of piracy and currently seeking a commission, is ensnared in the intrigue associated with the attempt to assassinate King William III in 1696. Who plots to kill the king, who will rise in rebellion—and which of three women in his life, the dangerous smuggler, the wealthy widow with a dark past, or the former lover seeking independence—might kill to further political ends? Variously wooing and defying Fortune, Captain MacNaughton approaches life in the same way he wields a sword or commands a fighting ship: with the heart of a lion and the craft of a fox.
Force 12 in German Bight by James Boschert takes its title from the name of an area regularly referred to in the legendary BBC Shipping Forecast and one which experiences some of the worst weather conditions around the British Isles. It is a fast-paced story which smacks of authenticity in every line. A world of hard men, hard liquor, hard drugs and cold-blooded murder. The reality of the setting and the characters , ex-military men from both sides of the Atlantic, crooked wheeler-dealers, and Danish detectives, male and female, are all in on the action.