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Tucson, AZ, USA — Penmore Press is pleased to announce the release of First Fleet by

M. Howard Morgan

M Howard Morgan is a nom de plume of Malcolm Mendey.
Born in Carmarthen in South Wales, he spent his childhood years living in France, Belgium, Gibraltar and Germany. Following an initial career in civil law, he moved into loss adjusting, acting for and advising underwriters at Lloyd’s of London and multi-national insurers.  With his family he spent nearly twenty years in New Zealand, has traveled extensively on assignments within the UK and Europe, the Far East, Oceania, and N. America.
An interest in genealogy resulted in the surprising discovery of an ancestor who was a marine with the First Fleet of convicts sent by Britain to Australia in 1788. Always a student of history, the discovery triggered an ever more consuming investigation into the Royal Marines and the history of the Golden Age of Sail and tangentially, the conflicts with Revolutionary and Napoleonic France.
First Fleet is a debut novel. The sequel, The Glorious First set in 1794, describes the first major naval engagement between Britain and France in what was the first world war, known in Britain as The Glorious First of June. The third novel finds the two principal characters, Jack Vizzard and Joe Packer, back at sea in 1797. They join the Mediterranean Fleet commanded by Sir John Jervis. The story concludes with the major fleet engagement known as the Battle of Cape St Vincent, in which a young captain Horatio Nelson distinguished himself and won his knighthood.
A qualified boat master, a failed golfer, enthusiast of aviation, consumer of fine wines, real ales, and spirits, the author has absolutely no interest in celery.
He lives in the beautiful Cotswolds in Southwest England with his beautiful wife, affectionately known as SWMBO (credit H Rider Haggard; She Who Must Be Obeyed) and a wonderful Sprollie dog called Molly.

First Fleet

With the American colonies closed to Britain the goals overflowed and the criminal under-class posed a growing threat to the property-owning classes. A solution was required to deal with the overcrowded prisons. The answer lay in colonizing the continent on the far side of the world – Terra Australis Incognito; the unknown continent.
Claimed for Britain by James Cook during his first voyage of discovery in April 1770, the government of the day launched an ambitious project; to make use of the criminal class to develop a new colony. Its aim to find a new source of trade and a establish a new base for Britain’s Royal Navy to support the burgeoning empire. The First Fleet of eleven ships left Portsmouth in May 1787 tasked with those objectives. The First Fleet of convicts. The great experiment so nearly failed.
Jack Vizzard, a young and raw marine officer of affluent background, becomes a member of the expedition. Lawyer, newly commissioned subaltern and a murderer, Vizzard finds his acts of betrayal follow him to New Holland. But what awaits him there? Retribution and reconciliation? Or ignominy and death?

The Glorious Frst

The second in the Jack Vizzard series of historical fiction
following the events of First Fleet.
Lieutenant Vizzard is sent to the coast of France as that turbulent country declares war on Britain. His mission: escort and protect a government agent carrying valuable intelligence of vital importance to Prime Minister Pitt’s government. Captured by a traitor, Vizzard must first escape France, then survive, then make his way home across dangerous waters. Dare he trust the beautiful Frenchwoman who befriends him? Or will treachery be repeated?
Vizzard’s work leads directly to the battle known in France as Le Combat de Prairial. In Britain the engagement will become known as The Glorious First of June, but for Jack Vizzard it will be the day that heroes and cowards die together.

St Valentine’s Fleet

The Third in the Jack Vizzard series of historical fiction
Jack Vizzard, now a Captain in King George’s Corps of Marines, and his Sergeant Major, Joe Packer, are assigned to HMS Melampus, a frigate under the command of Captain Graham Moore patrolling the Atlantic. Both men enjoy a solid reputation until a fight ashore at Portsmouth leads to an arrest, a court martial, and a deadly enmity with a Naval officer.
Sir John Jervis, Commander-in Chief of the Royal Navy Mediterranean Fleet, needs more ships and more marines if he is to engage the Spaniards in a naval battle. Vizzard is deployed to HMS Captain, a 74-gun ship of the line, the flagship of a young commodore named Horatio Nelson who has the trust and approbation of Admiral Jervis.
Jervis’s ships find the Spanish fleet on 14 February 1797, Saint Valentine’s Day, and the battle begins off Cabo de São Vicente on Portugal’s southern coast. It is here that Commodore Horatio Nelson, ignoring orders, risks his career and the lives of the king’s men and marines to test a revolutionary naval strategy.