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Nautical Fiction Index

Authors K - Ke

Karig, Walter, (1898-1956)

Don't Tread on Me : a novel of the historic exploits, military and gallant, of Commodore John Paul Jones with eye-witness accounts of his many engagements related by the then Midshipman Manesseh Fisher. Bantam, 1954. 311 pages



Katcha, Vahé (1928-2003)

The Sea Duel. Avon, 1970. 234 pages

During WW II a Japanese captain and US surgeon hold power of life and death over each other, neither will give an inch.



Katz, William (1940- )

North Star Crusade. Putnam, 1976. 287 pages

Executive officer of US nuclear missile submarine takes over his boat and tries to start WW III by sinking a Russian ship and lobbing missiles at the US.



Kavanaugh, Patrick

Gaff Topsails. Cormorant, 1996. 431 pages

A Newfoundland fishing village reflects the souls of its colorful inhabitants.



Kay, Ross

Dodging the North Sea Mines : the adventures of an American boy. Barse & Hopkins, 1915. 249 pages

WW I tale.


The Go-Ahead Boys and the Racing Motor-Boat. Barse & Hopkins, 1920. 254 pages

The boys embark on an innocent expedition, a race from Yonkers, New York to the Saint Lawrence Valley, but soon run afoul of evil-doers; in this case crude canal-boat men, apparently a less desirable element around this time. Kay also uses this as an opportunity to impart some useful information about canals around the world.



Keating, Mark

Patrick Devlin series:

  1. The Pirate Devlin. Grand Central, 2010. 343 pages

    U.K. title: Fight for Freedom. Sold by his father as a child for four guineas, captain's servant Patrick Devlin knows how cheap a man's life can be. But his instinct for survival is strong, and when his master's ship is sunk by pirates, Devlin makes his choice – to trade his servile existence for a life of dangerous liberty. As he learns to adapt to his brutal new world, he watches men who would once have been his masters fall dead at his feet. Eventually, he finds himself captain of the very ship that took down the vessel of the man he once served – Captain John Coxon – who, disgraced and dissatisfied, hungers to return to the sea and take his revenge. And when His Majesty's Government and the East India Company hear of the Pirate Devlin, and that he is in pursuit of a secret French cargo of gold bullion, it is Coxon they send to bring his former dog to heel.

  2. Hunt for White Gold. Hodder & Stoughton, 2011. 436 pages

    The early 18th Century is obsessed with the flavours of the New World - coffee and chocolate. And only one material enables the kings, queens and rising middle classes of Europe to drink without burning their fingers on the handles of their cups - Chinese porcelain. In a brilliant conspiracy story reaching from the unknown empires of the East to the restless new colonies of America, a letter has gone missing. In the letter lies the formula for the manufacture of Chinese porcelain, and whoever can find the letter can name his price - and even change the course of history, by enriching the nation that owns the secret. Valentim Mendes, a Portugese noble who has crossed swords with Devlin before, now seeks to blackmail him into finding the letter. And wherever Devlin goes, his nemesis Coxon is never far behind.

  3. Blood Diamond. Hodder & Stoughton, 2012. 334 pages

    Fearles pirate captain Devlin is invited to London by the Prince of Wales, no less, and offered an amnesty if he will carry out a daring crime. Devlin is tasked with going to Paris to steal the biggest, most valuable diamond ever found - the Pitt Diamond - now in the possession of the French Prince Regent.

  4. Cross of Fire. Hodder & Stoughton, 2013. 420 pages

    The pirate Olivier Levasseur, 'the Buzzard', has captured the greatest ship ever to sail the high seas, the Virgin of the Cape, a Portuguese ship carring a solid gold cross seven feet long: The Fiery Cross of Goa. Levasseur is hiding somewhere in the Indian Ocean, but Patrick Devlin is on his tail. However, Devlin's former master, and bitter enemy, John Coxon, has been sent to kill him. Devlin traverses Guinea and the slave coasts of Africa and the pirate islands of the Seychelles with the Royal Navy blocking his path, his old pirate enemies hunting him and his murderous former master hot on his heels.



Keegan, Mel

Fortunes of War. Gay Men's Press, 1995. 347 pages

In the spring of 1588, two young men fell in love: an Irish mercenary, Dermot Channon, serving the Spanish ambassador in London, and the son of an English earl, Robin Armagh. After Dermot had to leave England due to impending war with Spain, Robin despaired of hearing from him again. But when Sir Francis Drake leads a fleet bound for Panama, Robin sails with him to ransom a kidnapped brother. His ship is attacked by privateers, commanded by Dermot Channon. The couple's adventures together on the Spanish Main make a swashbuckling romance in the best gay pirate tradition.



Keene, Brian

Dead Sea. Leisure Books, 2007. 337 pages

As zombies, driven by the need to kill and feed off human flesh, terrorize the streets, a small group of survivors finds a safe haven in an old Coast Guard ship out at sea where their isolation soon becomes their downfall. The shorter, self-published sequel, (Entombed: Deadite Press, 2011) has no maritime component.



Kei, M.

Pirates of the Narrow Seas series:

  1. The Sallee Rovers. Keibooks, 2011. 280 pages

    Lt. Peter Thorton of the 18th century British navy must struggle to come out gay while surviving storms at sea, ship to ship battles, duels, kidnapping, and more in his quest for true love and honor.

  2. Men of Honor. Keibooks, 2011. 290 pages

    Peter Thorton and his lover set out on a quest to rescue a captive duke who is the pretender to the throne of Portugal. Thorton is arrested and placed on trial for desertion and sodomy.

  3. Iron Men. Keibooks, 2011. 252 pages

    Back in service with the British navy, Lt. Peter Thorton suffers misfortunes in love and war. Temporarily placed in charge of His Britannic Majesty's frigate Ajax, he is badly outnumbered by the vengeful Spanish and must fight his way free with the assistance of the dishonored HMS Resolute. On the way back to England he must ferret out mutiny and balance friendship against honor, only to be arrested once again, and face a final showdown with his old nemesis, Captain Bishop.

  4. Heart of Oak. Keibooks, 2011. 248 pages

    Lt. Peter Thorton's divided loyalties are tested in the crucibles of love and war. A pawn in the war for Portuguese independence, he is marked for revenge by the Spanish, and comes perilously close to losing both his life and ship. Discarded by friends and lovers, his health wrecked, and at the nadir of his career, he discovers what really matters and must make a choice that will seal his fate.

  5. Man in the Crescent Moon. Keibooks, 2013. 232 pages

    Isam Tangueli is a gangly youth of nineteen, longing to leave home and become a famous corsair, and trying to understand his attraction to men. He joins the crew of the Grey Wolf and fights the Spanish on land, at sea, and under water. Under the command of the short but feisty Rajet Rais, young Isam learns the skills of navigation and leadership necessary to become "Captain Tangle," the most notorious corsair of the age.

  6. The Sea Leopard. Keibooks, 2014. 280 pages

    Isam Rais, captain of the xebec, Sea Leopard, is on a swashbuckling adventure in the Mediterranean Sea. Battling unfriendly allies as much as his enemies, he plays a deadly game of cat and mouse with a much more powerful frigate, only to see victory snatched from his grasp by the resolution of the opposing captain. In debt and needing to repair his fortunes, he accepts a dangerous commission from the Dey of the Sallee Republic to hunt pirates—Muslim pirates—disloyal to the country that gives them refuge.



Keith, Bill [pseud. William H. Keith, Jr.] (1950- )

Sharuq. HarperCollins, 1993. 313 pages

Arabs buy Soviet Oscar-class SSGN, and use it to torpedo US supertankers in the Carribean. The US responds by hunting down the sub with a "carrier submarine" that hosts mini-sub "fighter" craft.


Stingray. HarperCollins, 1994. 314 pages

Second and final novel of this abortive series.



Kellogg, Rev. Elijah (1813-1901)

Elm Island series:

  1. The Young Ship-Builders of Elm Island. Lee and Shepard, 1870. 304 pages

    A fine story of a youngster who, in love with boats of all kinds, teaches himself the art of building them. In spite of an early set-back with his first effort (a sailing log canoe) he finally masters the difficulties and succeeds in becoming a much sought-after young boat-builder and shipwright. "Kellogg's descriptions of life in a small coastal fishing and farming community at the turn of the 18th & 19th centuries are nothing less than luminous and his portraits of some of the characters are uplifting to be sure. Reverend Kellogg has a very lyrical style. His descriptions of the surroundings of Elm Island are hard to resist. " [DG]

  2. The Hard-Scrabble of Elm island. Lee and Shepard, 1870. 320 pages

  3. The Ark of Elm Island. Lee and Shepard, 1869. 288 pages

  4. The Boy Farmers of Elm Island. Lee and Shepard, 1869. 300 pages

  5. Lion Ben of Elm Island. Lee and Shepard, 1869. 265 pages



Kenney, Susan (1941- )

Sailing. Viking, 1988. 320 pages

The story of a relationship which turns into a marriage. The husband, dying long-term from cancer, finds his peace in sailing, and the author uses sailing as an extended metaphor for life. Really well done.


One Fell Sloop. Viking, 1990. 294 pages

English professor/sleuth Roz Howard solves murder while on holiday sailing in Penobscot Bay.



Kent, Alexander (Douglas Reeman) (1924-2017)

Richard Bolitho series:

  1. Richard Bolitho, Midshipman. Hutchinson, 1975. 159 pages

    1772. Bolitho, a midshipman with 4 years experience, joins the GORGON, 74, and sees service off the Bight of Benin, hunting slavers and pirates.

  2. Midshipman Bolitho and the Avenger. Hutchinson, 1978. 143 pages

    1773. Bolitho serves under the command of his older brother, Hugh aboard the sloop AVENGER. Home from the sea on leave in Cornwall, the 17-year-old midshipman becomes involved with smuggling, murder, and "wrecking."

  3. Band of Brothers. Heinemann, 2006. 124 pages

    1774. The new year seems to offer Richard Bolitho and his friend Martyn Dancer the culmination of a dream. Both have been recommended for promotion, although they have not yet gained the coveted lieutenant's commission. But a routine passage from Plymouth to Guernsey in an untried schooner becomes, for Bolitho, a passage from midshipman to King's officer, tempering the promise of the future with the bitter price of maturity.

  4. Stand into Danger. Hutchinson, 1980. 296 pages

    1774. Bolitho is the junior lieutenant of HMS DESTINY, 28, as she sets forth on a mission to the South Atlantic and Carribean to recover the lost treasure of a Spanish quota ship captured in the War of Jenkin's Ear.

  5. In Gallant Company. Hutchinson, 1977. 287 pages

    1777-78. Lt. Bolitho serves on HMS TROJAN during the opening phases of the War of American Independence, seeing action against American privateers and smugglers.

  6. Sloop of War. Hutchinson, 1972. 319 pages

    1778-81. Bolitho, promoted, takes charge of the sloop SPARROW, 20, seeing action in North American and West Indies waters. The first half, set in 1778 covers Bolitho's tenure as Commander. The second half, in 1781, has Bolitho as a Captain, and climaxes at the Battle of the Chesapeake.

  7. To Glory We Steer. Hutchinson, 1968. 328 pages

    1782-83. Bolitho commands the mutinous PHALAROPE, 32, in the closing stage of the Wars of American Independence. Sent to the West Indies, he fights, and destroys a frigate commanded by his turncoat brother, Hugh, and plays a decisive role at the Battle of the Saintes.

  8. Command a King's Ship. Hutchinson, 1973. 320 pages

    1784-85. Bolitho is given command of the UNDINE, 32, and sent to the East Indies to counter French assistance to a local prince.

  9. Passage to Mutiny. Hutchinson, 1976. 319 pages

    1789-91. Commanding TEMPEST, 36, Bolitho's search for the BOUNTY mutineers is interrupted as the first ripples of the French Revolution wash across the Great South Sea. TEMPEST is called to action against the pirate Tuke, who successively captures a British pay ship, and a mutinying French frigate, the ARGUS.

  10. With All Dispatch. Heinemann, 1988. 256 pages

    1792. Bolitho, in recovery from the fever contracted in the Great South Sea, is given a recruiting assignment in the Nore, with three cutters to assist him. Complicating the situation is corruption in local government and naval officals.

  11. Form Line of Battle! Hutchinson, 1969. 320 pages

    1793. Given command of the HYPERION, 74, in the Mediterranean, Bolitho is part of an expedition to capture Cozar and St. Clar. Under command of the man whom he relieved in PHALAROPE, the St. Clar effort fails along with the Toulon, leaving Bolitho to salvage the disaster.

  12. Enemy in Sight! Hutchinson, 1970. 320 pages

    1794-95. Still on the refitted HYPERION, Bolitho joins the blockade of the Biscay coast, just as his incompetent commander lets the French escape. The British pursue the French force to the West Indies, where the French plan is revealed: capture the Spanish Flota ship to force Spain to enter the war as French allies.

  13. The Flag Captain. Hutchinson, 1971. 384 pages

    1797. The squadron in which Bolitho has served as flag captain for the last two years is reassigned to the Western Mediterranean, in the first British action there since the sea was abandoned in 1796.

  14. Signal, Close Action! Hutchinson, 1974. 320 pages

    1798. Bolitho, a Commodore, is given charge of a small squadron serving as Nelson's vanguard in the Mediterranean. Overcoming treacherous and incompetent captains, Bolitho tracks down and destroys the French siege train at Corfu, allowing Nelson to fight Battle of the Nile without fear of shore batteries.

  15. The Inshore Squadron. Putnam, 1977. 256 pages

    1800. Promoted to Rear Admiral, Bolitho is sent to Denmark on a diplomatic mission, then given command of the inshore squadron supporting the British expedition in the Baltic in 1800.

  16. A Tradition of Victory. Hutchinson, 1981. 296 pages

    1801. Following actions in the Baltic, Bolitho is reassigned to the Bay of Biscay, with his squadron assigned the task of destroying the French invasion fleet. Bolitho ends up captured, escapes, then faces his captor in the climactic battle concluding the novel.

  17. Success to the Brave. Hutchinson, 1983. 284 pages

    1802. During the Peace of Amiens, Vice Admiral Bolitho is sent on a diplomatic mission to the United States and the West Indies. Bolitho must enforce treaty provision to turn over a British colony to the French. Both the colonists and the US resist the transfer, but the French wars break out again, giving Bolitho an opportunity to again capture his French opposite.

  18. Colors Aloft! Hutchinson, 1986. 286 pages

    1803. Sir Richard Bolitho's squadron is reconstituted, and sent to the Mediterranean, where Bolitho must contend with a political attempt to smear him and his flag captain, and a French squadron commanded by the admiral he captured in Success to the Brave.<

  19. Honour This Day. Heinemann, 1987. 287 pages

    1804-05. As the war spins up again, Bolitho's squadron is sent first to the West Indies, with the task of intercepting a Spanish quota ship. Then in 1805 it is sent to the Mediterranean, where it prevents reinforcements from reaching the Combined Fleet at Trafalgar.

  20. The Only Victor. Heinemann, 1990. 340 pages

    1806. Bolitho is sent first to South Africa, where he assists efforts to capture the Dutch colony, then to Denmark, where he fights a battle in the North Sea against a force containing the ship that sank HYPERION in HONOR THIS DAY.

  21. Beyond the Reef. Hutchinson, 1992. 296 pages

    1808. Bolitho is again sent to South Africa to establish a permanent base, but is shipwrecked. After an epic open boat voyage, he is rescued. Then he is put in charge of a force sent to Martinique.

  22. The Darkening Sea. Heinemann, 1993. 305 pages

    1809-10. Increasing tensions with the Americans give rise to fears of the United States allying with France. Bolitho is sent to the Indian Ocean to contain the harrasment of British merchant shipping.

  23. For My Country's Freedom. Heinemann, 1995. 245 pages

    The War of 1812 from Admiral Bolitho's POV. It talks about the big frigates that the Americans used to demolish the smaller Brit ships.

  24. Cross of St. George. Heinemann, 1996. 275 pages

    Bolitho attempts to stem an American invasion of Canada, while Admiral Herrick is sent to preside over a mutiny court martial that the Admiralty intends will ruin Bolitho's reputation. That plot is foiled by Herrick's rigid integrity.

  25. Sword of Honour. Heinemann, 1998. 278 pages

    The Napoleonic Wars wind down as Richard Bolitho takes command at Malta, and Adam Bolitho commands a frigate off the American coast during the attack on Washington. Equality Dick exits, stage left, at the end of the novel, dying in a final skirmish, with Adam taking the estate as the last Bolitho. This may be setting up additional novels in the late 'teens and early 1820s centered around Adam Bolitho.

  26. Second to None. Heinemann, 1999. 309 pages

    1815. On the eve of Waterloo, a sense of finality and cautious hope pervade a nation wearied by decades of war. But peace will present its own challenges to Adam Bolitho, captain of His Majesty's Ship Unrivalled, as many of his contemporaries face the prospect of discharge.

  27. Relentless Pursuit. Heinemann, 2001. 323 pages

    December 1815. Adam Bolitho's orders are unequivocal. As captain of His Majesty's frigate Unrivalled of forty-six guns, he is required to 'repair in the first instance to Freetown, Sierra Leone, and reasonably assist the senior officer of the patrolling squadron'. But all efforts of the British anti-slavery patrols to curb a flourishing trade in human life are hampered by unsuitable ships, by the indifference of a government more concerned with old enemies made distrustful allies, and by the continuing belligerence of the Dey of Algiers, which threatens to ignite a full-scale war.

  28. Man of War. Heinemann, 2003. 276 pages

    Antigua, 1817 and every harbour and estuary is filled with ghostly ships, the famous and the legendary now redundant in the aftermath of war. In this uneasy peace, Adam Bolitho is fortunate to be offered the seventy-four gun Athena, and as flag captain to Vice-Admiral Sir Graham Bethune once more follows his destiny to the Caribbean.

  29. Heart of Oak. Heinemann, 2007. 253 pages

    It is February 1818, and Adam Bolitho longs for marriage and a safe personal harbour. But with so much of Britain's fleet redundant, he knows he is fortunate to be offered HMS Onward, a new 38-gun frigate whose first mission is not war but diplomacy, as consort to the French frigate Nautilus.

  30. In the King's Name. Century, 2011. 293 pages

    It is 1819, and Captain Adam Bolitho is ordered once again to Freetown in West Africa with secret orders for the senior officer there. The slave trade has been outlawed by many nations, but a hundred thousand slaves are still shipped out annually, the profit for slavers considered worth the risk of interception by the Royal Navy.



Kenyon, Charles M.

First Voyage Out. Four Winds, 1967. 173 pages

A young Rhode Island boy, determined to rescue his father who is reportedly held as a slave on a Pacific island, signs with his father's old ship for his first whaling voyage.



Kenyon, F. W.

Emma. Crowell, 1955. 314 pages

Fictionalized biography of Emma Hart, aka Emma Hamilton, who became Horatio Nelson's mistress. The novel adds more nautical connections than actually existed.



Keogh, S. K. (Susan K.)

The Jack Mallory Chronicles

  1. The Prodigal. Fireship Press, 2012. 270 pages

    When Jack Mallory was a young boy, James Logan and his pirates murders his father and abducts his mother. Falsely accused of piracy Jack survives seven years in London's notorious Newgate prison and emerges a hardened man seeking revenge. His obsession with finding his mother's kidnapper drives Jack to the West Indies where he becomes entangled with a fiery young woman named Maria Cordero. With a score of her own to settle with James Logan, she disguises her gender and blackmails Jack into taking her aboard his pirate brig, Prodigal, in his desperate search for Logan. First of a planned series.

  2. The Alliance. CreateSpace, 2013. 320 pages

    Two pirates; sworn enemies. An alliance forged by blood... Jack Mallory sailed into Carolina waters seeking vengeance upon fellow pirate James Logan, the man responsible for his father's murder and his mother's kidnapping. But Jack never expected his well-laid plans to be foiled by a mere child: Logan's precocious six-year-old daughter...and half-sister to Jack. A deathbed promise to their mother inexorably binds Jack to the child and robs him— at least temporarily—of his revenge against her father. But the two pirates' tenuous truce will be tested when a mysterious privateer sets sail to end Logan's devastation of Carolina's lucrative sea trade.



Kerr, Mark (1864-1944)

The Destroyer : and A Cargo of Notions. Hatchard, 1909. 43 pages

Verse from the navy of the beginning of the century by a serving officer who rose to become an admiral. Poetry is an important naval tradition as fans of O'Brian will know.



Kessler, Leo [pseud. Charles Henry Whiting] (1926-2007)

Sea Wolves

  1. Sink the Scharnhorst! Macdonald Futura, 1981. 286 pages

    In 1937 two naval cadets meet at the Kiel Regatta and become firm friends. In 1942 the two meet again, as enemies, when the Royal Navy makes a determined onslaught to destroy the battle cruiser SCHARNHORST. Published under the name Charles Whiting.

  2. Death to the Deutschland. Macdonald Futura, 1982. 219 pages