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Nautical Fiction Index

Authors B - Bar

Baccino Ponce de León, Napoleón (1947- )

Five Black Ships : a novel of the Discoverers. Harcourt Brace, 1994. 347 pages

Translated by Nick Caistor. The sea voyage around the world by Magellan, the Portuguese navigator, in 1519, recreated by a Uruguayan writer. The epic is narrated by the fool of the fleet, Juanillo, a Jewish jester converted to Christianity during the Spanish inquisition. The novel won the Novela Casa de las Americas award.



Bagley, Desmond (1923-1983)

The Golden Keel. Doubleday, 1963. 281 pages

Mussolini's missing treasure lies hidden in Italy. A group of adventurers set sail to track down the treasure and smuggle it out.


Wyatt's Hurricane. Doubleday, 1966. 301 pages

Meteorologist Wyatt knows the hurricane will hit his Caribbean island. The storm comes just as a rebel leader is massing his forces. As wind and war near each other only Wyatt can save the island.


The Freedom Trap. Doubleday, 1971. 254 pages

A brilliantly organized gang springs a Russian double agent from jail. The trail leads to the Mediterranean & Malta.


Night of Error. St. Martin's Press, 1984. 314 pages

On an expedition to a remote Pacific atoll, one brother dies under suspicious circumstances. The other brother is forced to investigate. A violent and hazardous expedition follows.



Bacigalupi, Paolo (1972- )

Ship Breaker. Little, Brown, 2010. 326 pages

In a futuristic world, teenaged Nailer scavenges copper wiring from grounded oil tankers for a living, but when he finds a beached clipper ship with a girl in the wreckage, he has to decide if he should strip the ship for its wealth or rescue the girl.


The Drowned Cities. Little, Brown, 2012. 448 pages

Loose sequel to Ship Breaker. America has devolved into unending civil wars, driven by demagogues who recruit children to become soulless killing machines. Two refugees of these wars, Mahlia and Mouse, are known as "war maggots": survivors who have barely managed to escape the unspeakable violence plaguing the war-torn lands of the Drowned Cities. But their fragile safety is threatened when they discover a wounded half-man--a bioengineered war beast named Tool, who is hunted by a vengeful band of soldiers. When tragedy strikes, Mahlia is faced with an impossible decision: risk everything to save the boy who once saved her, or flee to her own safety.



Baker, F. Robert

Warhead. Putnam, 1981. 291 pages

The families of the officers and crew of the USS Montana are kidnapped. The crew warns the Russian Federation that unless their families are released unharmed, they will launch a Trident missile. In Moscow, the order goes out: sink the Montana. At the White House, the President orders the Montana to defend itself. And near the Horn of Africa, a large American force, with orders to attack if necessary, approaches the Russian base where the families of the Montana are held hostage. An American assault on a Russian base could start a nuclear war.



Baker, Peter

Cruise. Putnam, 1967. 314 pages

The story of the emotional tensions and involvements aboard the ship Queen Dee when her First Officer suffers a breakdown.



Baker, W. Howard

Strike North. Mayflower Books, 1965. 125 pages

Escorting convoys to Murmansk with a spy aboard during WW II.



Ball, Zachary [Pseud. Kelly Ray Masters Sr.] (1897-1987)

Joe Panther. Holiday House, 1950. 241 pages

In an endeavor to earn money for school, an industrious young Seminole becomes a deck hand on a tourist boat fishing the Gulf Stream and accidently is involved in a smuggling ring.


Swamp Chief. Holiday House, 1952. 212 pages

An adventure story about deep sea fishing and the adjustment of the Seminole Indians to the modern world.


Bar Pilot. Holiday House, 1955. 218 pages

Young Jim Yordy wants to be a bar pilot at the mouth of the Mississippi River, where his hard-bitten grandfather runs a pilot station in the mid 19th century.


Skin Diver. Holiday House, 1956. 251 pages

Two young skin divers are hired to help a researching biochemist working off the coast of Florida.


Young Mike Fink. Holiday House, 1958. 196 pages

A fictional account of the youth and manhood of Mike Fink, whose feats as a keelboatman, hunter, fighter, and boaster inspired legends for a nation growing up in the early nineteenth century.


Salvage Diver. Holiday House, 1961. 220 pages

Two Seminole youths and their boat are hired for the summer by two men who want to search for sunken ships off the Florida Keys.



Ballantyne, Robert Michael (1825-1894)

Coral Island, A Tale of the Pacific Ocean. James Nisbet & Co., 1857. 336 pages

Three English boys, shipwrecked on a deserted island, create an idyllic society despite typhoons, wild hogs, and hostile visitors. Then evil pirates kidnap one of the youths whose adventures continue among the South Sea Islands.


The life of a ship from the launch to the wreck. T. Nelson, 1857. 37 pages

A story for pre-teens, in which a small boy, Davy, is taken to a shipyard to watch the building of a new sailing-vessel, the Fair Nancy. Eventually Davy is allowed to sail on board of her as a boy-seaman. He is sea-sick at first, but soon recovers and learns how to climb the rigging to help with the sails. They encounter a hurricane, which knocks the ship over, and they lose the ship's boats.


The World of Ice or the Whaling Cruise of "The Dolphin" and the Adventures of her Crew in the Polar Regions. James Nisbet & Co., 1860. 232 pages

Fictional account of whaling voyage to Baffin Bay. Many adventures. <


The Red Eric or, The Whaler's Last Cruise. James Nisbet & Co., 1861. 420 pages

"Red Eric" is the name of a seashore cottage that belongs to Captain Dunning and his descendants. The story is about family adventures and survival through storm, shipwreck, and mutiny plague an ill-fated whaling ship.


Fighting the Whales, or Doings and Dangers on a Fishing Cruise. James Nisbet & Co., 1863. 124 pages

A fatherless boy joins the crew of a whaling ship in order to earn a living for himself and his mother.


Fast in the ice, or, Adventures in the polar regions. James Nisbet & Co., 1863. 124 pages

This little book describes a visit up to the Arctic regions, that was supposed to have taken place long before the book was written, in other words in the early part of the nineteenth century. The purpose of the journey was to get near to the North Pole, which was considered to be surrounded by a large area of ice-free water. The vessel in which they sailed became beset by ice, and could not be moved. They met with Esquimaux, and saw how they survived, how they killed walrus, how they caught birds, and how they lived in their ice-houses, or igloos.


The lifeboat : a tale of our coast heroes. James Nisbet & Co., 1864. 392 pages

The work of a lifeboat of the Kentish Coast.


Gascoyne, The Sandal-Wood Trader, A Tale of the Pacific. James Nisbet & Co., 1864. 356 pages

In the early 1800's the South Seas are the hunting ground of the pirate schooner AVENGER. A mission settlement looks to Captain Montague of HM Frigate TALISMAN for protection. Suspicion falls on the sandal-wood trader Gascoyne, the mysterious but apparently honest skipper of the schooner FOAM. Gascoyne turns out to be not what he seems, in more ways than one.


The Floating Light of the Goodwin Sands: A tale. James Nisbet & Co., 1870. 403 pages

The condition, value, and vicissitudes of the light-vessels, or floating lighthouses, which guard the shores of this kingdom, and mark the dangerous shoals lying off some of our harbours and roadsteads.


Sunk at sea; or, The adventures of Wandering Will in the Pacific. James Nisbet & Co., 1872. 126 pages


Saved by the lifeboat : a tale of wreck and rescue on the coast. James Nisbet & Co., 1873. 124 pages


Black Ivory. A tale of adventure among the slavers of East Africa. James Nisbet & Co., 1873. 416 pages

A shipwreck leaves the son of the charterer of the sinking ship, and a seaman friend of his, alone on the east coast of Africa, where Arab and Portuguese slave traders were still carrying out their evil trade, despite the great efforts of patrolling British warships to limit it and free the unfortunates whom they found being carried away in the Arab dhows.


Man on the ocean : a book about boats and ships. T. Nelson, 1874. 386 pages


Battles with the sea or Heroes of the lifeboat and rocket : being descriptive of our coast-life-saving apparatus with some account of the glorious war and of our grand victories. James Nisbet & Co., 1883. 175 pages


The young trawler : a story of life and death and rescue on the North Sea. James Nisbet & Co., 1884. 429 pages

The main subject matter of this book are the North Sea fishing fleets, and the strenuous and hard work they do to maintain a supply of fish on the tables of the British people, in particular, in the case of this story, tables in London.


The lively poll : a tale of the North Sea. James Nisbet & Co., 1886. 164 pages

Manx Bradley, admiral of 200 fishing vessels in the North Sea, is concerned about the spiritual needs of his men.


The Crew of the Water Wagtail. A story of Newfoundland. James Nisbet & Co., 1889. 243 pages



Ballard, Robert & Chiu, Tony

Bright Shark. Delacorte Press, 1992. 483 pages

Undersea techno-thriller. In 1968 the Israeli sub Dakar sunk with its top secret cargo, code named Bright Shark. Twenty years later, it is rediscovered, and to keep the secret an undersea weapon will be deployed to bury the secret at the cost of global disaster.



Ballenger, Dean W.

Terror at Sea. New American Library, 1981. 218 pages

Fictionalized retelling of the aftermath of the loss of the cruiser INDIANAPOLIS in the Pacific during WW II, and shark attacks on the survivors. Author was Navy correspondent, participated in the rescue and interviewed the survivors. Grisly.


The Sea Guerillas. New American Library, 1982. 188 pages

Wildly improbable tale of a USN PT boat operating off the Azores in 1942-43 disguised as Portugese fishing boat. This allows them to stalk and sink the U-boats operating in these waters, which have chased off every other warship -- but not apparently Allied merchant shipping. The Nazis had been taking advantage of this situation to torpedo hospital ships, murder survivors, and rape captured nurses.



Banks, Polan (1906-1984)

Black Ivory. Harper & Brothers, 1926. 305 pages

Once upon a time there was a pirate who marauded the Gulf of Mexico. Black ivory (slaves) was his chief booty. His men were cutthroats to the last gurgle. But his diablerie was so debonair, his ruthlessness so discriminating, that the Latin citizenry of New Orleans around 1800 could not take offense when he came boldly ashore to do business with them and dance with their daughters to the wailing guitar. In 1812 the British tried to buy him up to betray his favorite port.



Barden, Jenny

Mistress of the Sea. Ebury Press, 2012. 416 pages

Plymouth 1570; Ellyn Cooksley fears for her elderly father's health when he declares his intention to sail with Drake on an expedition he has been backing. Already yearning for escape from the loveless marriage planned for her, Ellyn boards the expedition ship as a stowaway. Also aboard the Swan is Will Doonan, Ellyn's charming but socially inferior neighbour. Will has courted Ellyn playfully without any real hope of winning her, but when she is discovered aboard ship, dressed in the garb of a cabin boy, he is furious. To Will's mind, Drake's secret plot to attack the Spanish bullion supply in the New World is a means to the kind of wealth with which he might win a girl like Ellyn, but first and foremost it is an opportunity to avenge his brother Kit, taken hostage and likely tortured to death by the Spanish.



Barlow, James (1921-1973)

Liner. Simon and Schuster, 1970. 443 pages

Passengers and crew aboard an ageing Greek cruise ship, heading from Tasmania for Singapore, with metal fatigue in the engine room and lifeboats corroded to the davits, encounter a typhoon.



Barnitz, Charles

The Deepest Sea. Roc, 1996. 540 pages

Viking fantasy. Deals with the late 8th Century, a raid on a monastery in 793 AD and subsequent adventures. The events, conditions and attitudes described have an unerring ring of truth to them, despite a glib though highly enjoyable 20th century style and sense of humor at places and the fantasy aspects. A top notch read.



Barrett, Andrea

The Voyage of the Narwhal. Norton, 1998. 399 pages

In Philadelphia in 1855, naturalist Erasmus Darwin Wells sees a last chance to make his reputation as he prepares to accompany his future brother-in-law, Zechariah Voorhees, on a voyage to the arctic in search of Sir John Franklin's lost expedition.



Barrington, E. [pseud. Elizabeth Louisa Moresby] (1862- 1931)

The Divine Lady : a romance of Nelson and Emma Hamilton. Dodd, Mead, 1924. 417 pages

Made into an Oscar willing film in 1929.



Barth, John (1930-)

Sabbatical. Putnam, 1982. 366 pages

A charming book. A couple take a last sailing cruise around the Chesapeake before their child is born; sort of a sabbatical from all sorts of responsibilities, disputes, complications. Including, will they stay together? Much less convoluted than Barth's other fiction.


Tidewater Tales. Putnam, 1987. 655 pages

About a writer who's muse has gone mute due to being privy to secrets from a spook friend and not being able to talk about them. Much of the action takes place on the Chesapeake Bay.


The Last Voyage of Somebody the Sailor. Little, Brown, 1991. 573 pages

About a guy on a sailboat charter vacation who somehow gets transported to the time and place of Sinbad and the 1001 Nights. The book is quite interesting, though the sailing takes a backseat to the story-telling.


Once Upon a Time: A Floating Opera. Little, Brown, 1994. 398 pages

About a guy and his wife passing through some strange time/space warp in a squall on the Chesapeake Bay.



Bartimeus, pseud. [Lewis Anselm DaCosta Ricci] (1883-1967)

Naval Occasions : and some Traits of the Sailor-man. William Blackwood, 1914. 295 pages

Stort stories about naval life in peace and war.


A Tall Ship On Other Naval Occasions. Cassell, 1915. 190 pages

Ten additional short stories about naval life in peace and war: Crab-Pots; The Drum; A Captain's Forenoon; The Seven Bell Boat; The King's Pardon; An Off-Shore Wind; The Day; The Mummers; Chummy-Ships; The Higher Claim.


Action Stations. Little, Brown and Co., 1941. 262 pages

Factual and fictional sketches of naval events during WW II, including the exploits of ORZEL, ALTMARK, minesweepers and the BISMARCK.



Barton, A. F.

Those Who Serve. John Spencer & Co., 1958. 161 pages

The story of the Royal Navy submarine TAMARANTH during WW II, from the beginning of the war until the sinking of the sub, as told from the point of view of a man who served on her as First Lieutenant and Captain.



Bartram, George

Under the Freeze. Pinnacle, 1984. 404 pages

US secret agent chases madman with stolen plutonium from Buenos Aires to London, Paris, Moscow and finally aboard subs under the Arctic ice pack.