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Nautical Fiction Index

Authors L - Leh

LaBarge, William M.

Sweetwater Sullivan series:

  1. Road to Gold. Harper, 1993. 327 pages

    Sweetwater Sullivan tells a first-person tale of joining the navy, going through flight school, and hunting drug smugglers. Suffers from a high improbability factor.

  2. Sweetwater Gunslinger 201 : a saga of carrier pilots who live by chance, love by choice. Aero, 1983. 190 pages

    With Robert Lawrence Holt. Adventures of fighter pilots aboard the USS KITTYHAWK during the late '70s -- early '80s told third person. Definitely pre-Tailhook, but hilarious reading, while sending a moral message that Dr. Laura would approve.

  3. Hornet's Nest. Jove, 1991. 301 pages

    Sweetwater Sullivan in F/A-18s in the Persian Gulf. Set before the Gulf War was a gleam in George Bush's eye. There are several chapters dealing with the Tanker War (US intervention in the Iran-Iraqi war) and a lot of other stuff, too.



La Farge, Oliver (1901-1963)

Long Pennant. Houghton Mifflin, 1933. 305 pages

New England nautical adventure.



Laing, Alexander Kinnan (1903-1976)

The Sea Witch: A Narrative of the Experiences of Capt. Roger Murray and Others in an American Clipper Ship During the Years 1846 to 1856. Farrar & Rinehart, 1933. 487 pages

The adventures of three brothers and their relationship with a particular clipper ship during the short heyday of the American clipper ships in the China tea trade.


Jonathan Eagle. Duell, Sloan and Pearce, 1955. 523 pages

In 1785 a runaway lad is washed up on shore, adopted by a town, and named Jonathan Eagle. He returns to the sea again and again, experiencing slavery in Algiers, the French Revolution, RN press gangs and finally the command of his own vessel.


Matthew Early. Duell, Sloan and Pearce, 1957. 372 pages

Yankee skipper's ambivalent feelings towards slavery and love lead him to drift ineffectually through life -- failing to liberate a childhood friend sold illegally into slavery, drifting into the US Navy and out again, drifting into carrying slaves, drifting into smuggling, drifting in and out of love, and eventually drifting onto a lee shore. Set in the period from 1798-1803.



Lake, James

No Ordinary Seaman. A. Barker, 1957. 223 pages

We follow the fortunes, in many cases the lack of fortunes, of the officers and men of the Royal Navy cruiser AIGRETTE as she contends with the attentions of the Italian Air Force and then the Nazi dive bombers in the Eastern Mediterranean in the desperate days of 1941, following the campaigns in Greece and Crete. This novel's intention seems to be to emphasise the role of the Boy Seamen, there were thirty in a cruiser the size of the "A-GRETTE", not yet eighteen and in training establishments and ships for nearly two years, they served alongside the men but were not allowed any adult privileges except to die. A gritty story of the unremitting hardship of the war at sea.



Lambdin, Dewey (1945- )

Alan Lewrie naval adventure series:

  1. The King's Coat. D.I. Fine, 1989. 397 pages

    In 1780, 17-year-old Alan Lewrie's father ships him off to the Royal Navy hoping never to hear from him again. But Midshipman Lewrie takes to Navy life in spite of himself.

  2. The French Admiral. D.I. Fine, 1989. 414 pages

    Lewrie is ashore at Chesapeake Bay fighting American Colonists in 1781.

  3. The King's Commission. D.I. Fine, 1991. 400 pages

    Commissioned a lieutenant in 1782, Lewrie confronts the Spanish and French in the Caribbean.

  4. The King's Privateer. D.I. Fine, 1992. 360 pages

    Lieutenant Lewrie sails for the China Seas on a secret mission to counter French and Spanish troublemakers in the region.

  5. The Gun Ketch. D.I. Fine, 1993. 312 pages

    Lewrie commands his own ship in a search for a notorious pirate in the Bahamas in 1786.

  6. H.M.S. Cockerel. D.I. Fine, 1995. 360 pages

    For Squire Lewrie, domestic life as a husband, father, and farmer is dull and boring. But renewed war with the French in 1793 sends Alan and the Royal Navy to the aid of French Royalists at the port of Toulon. Alan, as it seems to be his way, get's put aboard a Frigate, HMS COCKEREL, as first lieutenant under a mad captain out of the East India Company who has loaded the officers and midshipmen's berths with family members, and is paranoid about mutinies. In France he takes the first opportunity to get rid of the "mutineers"... including Alan of course. What follows is mostly land action. At the end it's Admiral Hood to the rescue... and a brief visit with CAPTAIN Nelson - long before he gets the VICTORY, and Alan gets acquainted with Lady Hamilton.

  7. A King's Commander. D.I. Fine, 1997. 370 pages

    Lewrie, in command of JESTER, 18, sails from England to Gibraltar with dispatches, only to get tangled up in the "Glorious First of June" battle. Following his arrival at Gibraltar he takes an old flame to Corsica, gets assigned to Horatio Nelson's team, and generally makes life miserable for the French, until two old enemies from A KING'S PRIVATEER -- one French and on British, reappear to make Lewrie's own life miserable.

  8. Jester's Fortune. Dutton, 1999. 373 pages

    A scheme by the Royal Navy to enroll Serb pirates in fighting the French during the Napoleonic Wars is opposed by Alan Lewrie, captain of a sloop in the Adriatic. But the commander of his squadron goes ahead anyway and the consequences are disastrous, the Serbs taking the opportunity for some ethnic cleansing.

  9. The King's Captain. St. Martin's Press, 2000. 358 pages

    Fresh from a stunning victory against the formidable Spanish Armada in the Battle of St. Vincent's Cape, Lewrie is promoted and rewarded with the command of an enviable new warship. Shortly after being installed as the captain of the H.M.S. Proteus, he must contend with a treasonable mass mutiny, a bitter enemy bent on revenge, and several rather complicated romantic entanglements.

  10. Sea of Grey. Thomas Dunne Books, 2002. 391 pages

    Captain Alan Lewrie witnesses a failing British intervention on the wealthy French colony of Saint Dominique, the scene of a brutal slave rebellion headed by future Haitian independence leader, Toussaint L'Ouverture.

  11. Havoc's Sword. Thomas Dunne Books, 2003. 372 pages

    Captain Alan Lewrie has rashly vowed to uphold a friend's honour in a duel to the death. Second, he faces the horridly unwelcome arrival of HM Government's Foreign Office agents (out to use him as their cat's-paw in impossibly vaunting schemes against the French). And last, he must engineer the showdown with his arch foe and nemesis, the hideous ogre of the French Revolution's Terror, Guillaume Choundas.

  12. The Captain Vengeance. Thomas Dunne Books, 2004. 336 pages

    Searching for a prize ship that has been stolen along with its crew from war-stricken 1799 Dominica, captain Alan Lewrie finds himself in the infamous pirate waters off of New Orleans and is forced to relinquish his command in order to identify the thieves.<

  13. A King's Trade. Thomas Dunne Books, 2006. 339 pages

    Royal Navy captain Alan Lewrie in hot water for "liberating" a dozen slaves from their Caribbean plantation and putting them to work on his ship, the HMS Proteus. Facing the prospect of court martial and a civil trial, Lewrie reluctantly agrees when Zachariah Twigg of the Foreign Office suggests a scheme that might save his career: recasting the incorrigible captain as an abolitionist hero.

  14. Troubled Waters. Thomas Dunne Books, 2008. 307 pages

    As Captain Lewrie prepares to lead an attack on the French coast in 1800, he is recalled to London to stand trial for a crime he didn't quite commit.

  15. The Baltic gambit. Thomas Dunne Books, 2009. 353 pages

    Captain Lewrie is headed toward Russia in Britain's last attempt to stave off war between the nations.

  16. King, ship, and sword. Thomas Dunne Books, 2010. 358 pages

    When war breaks out again in May of 1803, Lewrie has fresh orders, a new frigate, and a chance to punish and pursue the French, but it's no longer for Duty or King and Country--now it's personal.

  17. The invasion year. Thomas Dunne Books, 2011. 355 pages

    After reluctantly saving the last French citizens left on rebellious Haiti, Lewrie finds himself invited back to London to receive honors from the King and soon finds himself back at sea testing a newfangled weapon called a "torpedo" and defending England from an invasion by Napoleon.

  18. Reefs and shoals. Thomas Dunne Books, 2012. 368 pages

    New orders allow Lewrie to form a small squadron from what ships he can dredge up at Bermuda and New Providence and hoist his first broad pendant, even if it is the lesser version, and style himself a Commodore. Lewrie is to scour the shores of Cuba and Spanish Florida, the Keys and the Florida Straits in search of French and Spanish privateers which have been taking British merchantmen at an appalling rate, and call upon neutral American seaports to determine if privateers are getting aid and comfort from that quarter.

  19. Hostile Shores. Thomas Dunne Books, 2013. 354 pages

    In 1805, with news of Admiral Nelson's death fresh on his mind, Captain Lewrie's HMS Reliant joins up in the voyage that will culminate in the Battle of Cape Town, in which the British wrested control of South Africa from the Dutch. In the wake of that victory, Lewrie heads west to South America, where Britain's attacks on Buenos Aires and other Spanish colonies have not been faring as well. But the worst is yet to come, and soon Lewrie will be facing a battle at sea that will put his naval career and life at risk.

  20. The King's Marauder. Thomas Dunne Books, 2014. 368 pages

    The year 1807 starts out badly for Captain Alan Lewrie, Royal Navy. His frigate HMS Reliant has a new captain, he's living at his father's estate at Anglesgreen, among spiteful neighbors and family, and he's recovering from a wound suffered in the South Atlantic. At last, there's a bright spot. When fit, Admiralty awards him a new commission; not a frigate but a clumsy, slow two-decker Fourth Rate 50. Are his frigate days over for good?

  21. Kings and Emperors. Thomas Dunne Books, 2015. 353 pages

    Captain Alan Lewrie, Royal Navy, is still in Gibraltar, his schemes for raids along the coast of Southern Spain shot to a halt. He is reduced to commanding a clutch of harbor defense gunboats in the bay while his ship, HMS Sapphire, slowly grounds herself on a reef of beef bones! Until Napoleon Bonaparte's invasion of peaceful Portugal and his so-called collaborative march into Spain change everything, freeing Sapphire to roam against the King's enemies once more.

  22. A Hard Cruel Shore. Thomas Dunne Books, 2016. 339 pages

    Admiralty needs troopships, not slow, old 4th Rate two-deckers, so Lewrie must beg, borrow, steal, and gild the facts most glibly if he wishes to keep her and her skilled crew together. Just when he imagines he's succeeded, new orders come appointing him a Commodore over a wee squadron assigned to prey upon French seaborne supply convoys off the treacherous North coast of Spain, better known as the "Costa da Morte," the Coast of Death, where the sea may be more dangerous to him and his ships than the French Navy!

  23. A Fine Retribution. Thomas Dunne Books, 2017. 352 pages

    Summer, 1809, and Captain Alan Lewrie, RN, wins fame, glory, and prize-money leading his squadron to victory over four French frigates. Battle damage, though, costs Lewrie his command, ship, and crew. He returns to London a hero, but, as weeks on half-pay turn to months, and no new command is offered, he’s forced to lease a house and furnish it, unsure if he will ever go to sea again!

  24. An Onshore Storm. Thomas Dunne Books, 2018. 368 pages

    Lewrie is looking for a new transport and a new crew, and this time he doesn't have the aid of the Admiralty


What Lies Buried : a Novel of Old Cape Fear. McBooks, 2005. 282 pages

A well-respected political leader is found dead on a road in pre-revolutionary Cape Fear, North Carolina, and the subsequent murder investigation uncovers oceans of ill will across the socio-economic spectrum.



L'Amour, Louis (1908-1988)

Fair Blows the Wind. Dutton, 1978. 282 pages

The master western writer tells the tale of Captain Chantry, abandoned on coast of North Carolina in the 1580s, and his battles against pirates, Spaniards, British and Indians.


Night Over the Solomons. Bantam, 1986. 175 pages

Collection of stories set in the Pacific or South America in WW II or just after. Only one, Mission to Siberut, is primarily nautical. It deals with an attempt by the Germans to smuggle a set of Me 110s to the Japanese in December 1941.


West From Singapore. Bantam, 1987. 160 ppages

"Ponga Jim Mayo" and his tramp steamer SEMIRAMIS range the South Seas in search of a fast buck and adventure in the period between 1939 and 1941. Along the way they help British Intelligence put down German and Italian efforts to smuggle in subs, arm the natives, or other nasty Germanic activities.



Lancaster, Bruce (1896-1963)

Blind Journey. Little, Brown, 1953. 303 pages

Soldier takes to sea to get messages to Franklin in France, and then back to the Colonies during the American Revolution. Lots of soldier learning about the sea scenes. Only nautical book in this land-centered series.


Venture in the East. Little, Brown, 1951. 317 pages

A Dutch pilot gets involved with the Shimabara Revolution that results in Japanese ports being closed to all Westerners but the Dutch for 200 years.



Land, Jon (1960- )

The Eighth Trumpet. Ballentine, 1989. 400 pages

A madman with an army of goons tries to destroy the world by attacking a vulnerable area of Antarctica. A submarine is commandeered for its valuable cargo and the hero, Jared Kimberlain, must stop them.



Lane, Carl Daniel (1899-1995)

The Fleet in the Forest. Coward-McCann, 1943. 369 pages

Fiction about the Battle of Lake Erie in 1813.


The Fire Raft. Little, Brown, 1951. 210 pages

On the first trip from Pittsburgh to New Orleans a steamboat on the Ohio encounter a comet, an earthquake, a flood, river pirates and a fight with Chickasaws.



Langdon, John [pseud. Franklin Coasten Langdon] (1913-1980)

S.S. Silverspray. Macmillan, 1958. 279 pages

A freighter out of San Francisco with a sloppily loaded cargo, a crew with individual troubles and crises, and a captain whose need for power is a bleak revelation to the bride he brings on the run.



Langley, Bob

Avenge the Belgrano. Walker, 1988. 237 pages

The British sub CONQUEROR sinks the Argentine cruiser GENERAL BELGRANO during the Falkland Islands War. A group of Anglo-Argentine terrorists vow revenge, set out to blow up the sub at its base in Scotland. Later reprinted with the title: Conqueror down!.



Langsford, A. E. (1959- )

HMS Marathon. Barrie & Jenkins, 1989. 228 pages

WW II, RN cruiser captain, Med/Malta convoy ops, details pretty good, but not the best read.



Largent, R. Karl

Red Tide. Leisure, 1992. 442 pages

A secret meeting between the former Soviet Union and the United States is sabotaged by top-ranking, ex-Soviet government officials who plan to overthrow the heirs of Gorbachev and Yeltsin by launching from submarines a nuclear attack.


The Sea. Leisure, 1999. 362 pages

A salvage expert learns that a sunken German U-boat contains more than the Nazi gold he has been hired to retrieve.



Larrouy, Maurice (1882-1939)

The Odyssey of a Torpedoed Transport. Houghton Mifflin, 1918. 216 pages

Translation of L'Odyssée d'un transport torpillé.



Larsson, Bjorn (1953- )

The Celtic Ring. Seafarer, 1997. 388 pages

The appearance of a log-book recounting a series of bizarre events prompts Ulf and his friend Torben to make a journey that draws them into a deadly duel with arms smugglers and members of a Druidic cult. Translation of Den keltiska ringen.


Long John Silver : the true and eventful history of my life of liberty and adventure as a gentleman of fortune & enemy to mankind. Harvill, 1999. 389 pages

Published in Swedish in 1985. The entertaining "autobiography" of literature’s best known pirate.



Laskier, Frank (1912-1949)

Log Book. Allen & Unwin, 1942. 109 pages

A fictionalized account of merchant service, WW II German attack, and harrowing survival by a British mechant seaman who in real life survived the sinking of a tanker in 1940, came back for training as a Merchant Seaman Gunner, and was one of a handful of survivors when his next ship was sunk by the ADMIRAL SCHEER early in 1941; he lost part of a leg as a result, and while in England waiting for a prosthesis told his story on the BBC. He shipped out once more, and apparently wrote the book in Halifax in 1942. The protagonist is named simply Jack, and his full seagoing career is set down briefly: he runs away to sea at twelve, learns his trade on a variety of vessels on various oceans (meeting several of his seagoing brothers along the way), suffers various adventures and misadventures and finally survives the sinking of the COURAGEOUS by a nameless surface raider - the only truly convincing part of the narrative - and the book ends with Jack in his mother's parlor, new wife Betty at his side along with four brothers, about to tell his story into a radio microphone.



Laumer, Keith (1925-1993)

The Drowned Queen (The Avengers #6). Berkley, 1968. 127 pages

A combination luxury liner / submarine is sabotaged on its maiden voyage. Mr. Steed and Emma Peel's sucessor Tara King save the day.



Laurie-Long, E.

The Trials of the Phideas. Ward Lock, 1944. 224 pages

A novel about the delivery voyage of a paddle steamer from the UK to South America.



Latham, Jean Lee

Carry on, Mr. Bowditch. Houghton Mifflin, 1955. 251 pages

Fictionalized biography of Nathaniel Bowditch. A young boy joins the privateer HENRY, works his way up to captain. For young readers. Newberry Award winner. A classic.


Man of the Monitor; the story of John Ericsson. Harper, 1962. 231 pages

Novel about John Ericsson, creator of the Civil War ironclad MONITOR. For young readers.



Lavallee, David

Event 1000. Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1971. 279 pages

A submarine sunk by a collision is trapped 1,300 ft down while everyone tries to help. Made into the movie "Grey Lady Down".



Lawrence, Alan

The Continuing Voyages of HMS Surprise:

  1. The Massacre of Innocents. Mainsail Voyages Press, 2014. 464 pages

    Captain Pat O'Connor, Lieutenant Duncan Macleod and Doctor Simon Ferguson return from half-pay to command the frigate HMS Surprise, returned to service after long years 'in ordinary' at Plymouth Dock. HMS Surprise escorts Lord Byron to Cephalonia and then aids the fledgling Greek navy against the crushing Ottoman fleet superiority.

  2. Freedom or Death. Mainsail Voyages Press, 2015. 322 pages

    HMS Surprise, aiding the fledgling Greek navy as a letter-of-marque, is vastly outnumbered and so runs before before brutal Turk invasions ravage the defenceless islands of Psara and Kasos. Doctor Simon Ferguson, left ashore, his fleeting study of island flora rudely shattered, flees across the mountainous interior pursued by Turk beserkers intent on his capture and death.

  3. The Fireships of Gerontas. Mainsail Voyages Press, 2016. 321 pages

    Captain Patrick O’Connor leads HMS Surprise and her battle-weary crew of tired veterans once more into the fray to support their Greek brothers-in-arms. Doctor Simon Ferguson, traumatised by an intense summer of conflict and casualties, struggles valiantly to cope with the rising and bloody burden of killed and wounded shipmates.

  4. The Aftermath of Devastation. Mainsail Voyages Press, 2017. 322 pages

    After two years of bloody fighting and heavy losses, after enduring the hurricane of 1824, HMS Surprise struggles to make Falmouth port in a dreadful state, very severely damaged and sinking, dozens of her crew wounded and injured, all her officers and men utterly exhausted. Will she be hulked or even broken up? Doctor Simon Ferguson, traumatised by so many deaths, has had enough and leaves for his home in the Isles. The First Lord ponders the frigate's future as her men are paid off. Battered and broken, HMS Surprise's very existence is in doubt.



Lawhead, Steve

Howard had a Submarine. Lion, 1988. 1 volume

Howard's exploration of the underwater world in his uncle's submarine leads him to the discovery that God has made a world full of color and variety.



Lawrence, Iain (1955- )

The Wreckers. Delacorte, 1998. 196 pages

An adventure yarn set on the Cornish coast in the 18th century when ships were lured onto the rocks. Shipwrecked after a vicious storm, fourteen-year-old John Spencer attempts to save his father and himself while also dealing with an evil secret about the coastal town where they are stranded.


The Smugglers. Delacorte, 1999. 183 pages

A sequel to The Wreckers. In eighteenth-century England, after his father buys a schooner called the DRAGON, sixteen year old John sets out to sail it from Kent to London and becomes involved in a dangerous smuggling scheme.



Lawrence, Steven C. [pseud. Lawrence A. Murphy]

A Northern Saga. Playboy, 1976. 286 pages

Story of the Liberty Ship JOHN MASON and its crew as the ship accompanies a Murmansk convoy in May 1942, and returns to Iceland during the sailing of PQ17. Convoy tale with the focus on the merchant marine.



Lawson, L. M. (Lori M.)

Green Flash. Paradise Cay Pub., 2000. 256 pages

In Zihuatanejo, Mexico, a couple discovers a woman's body floating in the ocean. Ordered to turn in a video camera found on the body to authorities as evidence, they become involved with several of the members of the seafaring community.



Lawson, Robert (1892-1957)

Captain Kidd's Cat; being the true and dolorous chronicle of Wm. Kidd, gent. & merchant of New York, late captain of the Adventure Galley; of the vicissitudes attending his unfortunate cruise in eastern waters, of his incarceration in Newgate Prison, of his unjust trial and execution, as narrated by his faithful cat, McDermot, who ought to know. Set down and illuminated by Robert Lawson. Little, Brown, 1956. 151 pages

For young readers.



Lear, Edward (1812-1888)

The Owl and the Pussy Cat. first published in "Nonsense songs, stories, botany, and alphabets". Robert John Bush, 1871.

Fatuous poem from the Nonsense man.



Leasor, James (1923-2007)

Mandarin Gold. Heinemann, 1973. 251 pages

English trader finds fun and fortune running opium into China during the 1830s. James Leasor, who writes stranger-than-fiction history, tries his hand at historical fiction.



Lederer, William J. (1912-2009)

Ensign O'Toole and Me. Norton, 1957. 247 pages

Basically a series of didactic tall-tales, the book purports to be about a brilliant, spunky, eccentric yet strangely normal friend of Lederer's from the Naval Academy who serves on the China Station before WW II, in Washington after the war and fighting commies later. Starts out light, but unfortunately the later chapters degenerate into a thinly disguised and strident anti-communist diatribe. Basically, the same message as in The Ugly American: ordinary Americans are oblivious to the desperate struggle of the unsung heroes who battle communism. Includes a semi-autobiographical account of the author's own time serving as XO of a gunboat in China.



Le Guin, Ursula K. (1929- )

Sur : A summary report of the Yelcho expedition to the Antarctic, 1909-1910. The New Yorker, February 1, 1982

Fantasy account of an all South American female expedition to Antarctica, the first ever to reach the South Pole.



Lehman, Ernest (1915-2005)

The French Atlantic Affair. Atheneum, 1977. 468 pages

Two rocket scientists, unemployed after the Apollo downsizing decide to recoup their fortunes. They plan and carry out a hijacking of a luxury liner in the Atlantic.



Lehnhoff, Joachim

The Homeward Run : A story of German sailors, their battles and their loves under the shadow of defeat. Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1957. 224 pages

Translation of Die Heimfahrt.



Lennep, David van

Ironclad. Poseidon, 1994. 131 pages

This novel in an attempt to bring to life the raison d'etre for the ironclad HMS WARRIOR. The time is 1862, a year after she was first commissioned, and British relations with the French have deteriorated to such an extent that a French squadron is steaming towards the Thames to emulate Admiral de Ruyter's feat of two centuries previously. The Royal Navy is alerted, gives chase and the French are brought to action amongst the shoals and shifting sands of the Thames estuary. The technical aspects of WARRIOR's innovativeness are woven in as the drama unfolds.



Lenz, Siegfried (1926-2014)

The Lightship. Hill and Wang, 1962. 125 pages

The captain of a lightship on its last shift before it is taken out of service, must confront three killers who board the ship when their boat breaks down. Originally published in German as Das Feureschiffe in 1960.