Marmur, Jacland (1901-1970)
Henry Holt, 1947. 279 pages
This is the story of the gunless cargo
steamer, Andromeda, her Captain and crew of old timers who survived the last war
and reminisce back to it, the hopeless crossing she is to make from Singapore to
Frisco after war has been declared. They carry two passengers, Nancy Paget, who is
young, lovely, arrogant, and Alexander Bane, an older man; and to Nancy the war
first becomes a reality when the quartermaster is shot from the mast. She falls in
love with John Flemming, the chief mate, and admits her involvement only when the
Andromeda is spotted by a submarine, and her sinking seems a surety, though Bane,
Japanese agent, attempts to save the ship and his own
The Ransom of Peter Drake.
Saturday Evening Post, January 3,
Short story. The story about a radio
who panicked and did not get a distress call out when his ship sank,
causing the crew to spend weeks in a lifeboat before being rescued. He
signs on another ship as an ordinary seaman. Well you guessed it, the
ship starts sinking and he has a chance to redeem himself.
Marryat, Frederick (1792-1848)
The Naval Officer: or Scenes and Adventures in the
Life of Frank Mildmay. Henry Colburn,
1829. 3 volumes
Marryat's first novel. A delightful
read. The adventures of Frank
Mildmay during his service in the Royal Navy during the late Napoleonic
Wars. Many of the incidents were based on Marryat's experiences during
his early service, so the novel was often confused with an
autobiography. However, to create a more interesting tale, Marryat made
Mildmay a rake, with the disconcerting -- for Marryat -- result that
everyone assumed that everything attributed to Mildmay was really the
good captain's character. Created the Hornblower-Aubrey mold so often
The King's Own.
H. Colburn and R. Bentley, 1830. 3
The hero, not knowing himself to be the
a noble admiral, rises in the navy through his own abilities, but is
murdered when on the brink of coming into his own. Has many stirring
sea episodes, based on Marryat's wide experience.
Newton Foster; or The Merchant Service.
J. Cochrane, 1832. 3 volumes
Master of a coastal brig,
pressed, against the rules, into the Royal Navy, our hero ends up in an
East Indaman and goes into action with the Bombay Marine, rising to the
command of an Indiaman, he rescues a noble French family, and marries
Allen & Ticknor, 1833. 154
Peter Simple, fool younger son of a
is packed off to the Navy, where his mentor, the Corkman O'Brien,
Master's Mate of the DIOMEDE decides that Simple may not be a fool.
Based on the exploits of Lord Cochrane when he commanded frigates
Marryat served in.
Jacob Faithful; or The Story of a Waterman.
Saunders and Otley, 1834. 3
Faithful spends his
first decade on his father's Thames lighter and only steps foot on
shore when his mother spontaneously combusts and his father drowns
after leaping from the cabin in panic at the sight. That's a brave
enough start to a life and a novel. And there's more. The mother,
penniless in life, drew crowds as a pile of ashes and was eventually
bought by a surgeon. Proceeds from show and sale set our man up with a
47 pounds for a good start in life. With such a start, and despite
opportunities for education and clerking, Faithful continues on the
river, apprenticed first to a bargeman and then a wherryman. Finally,
over three quarters of the way through the book, our man is pressed
into the Royal navy. A picaresque account of river life, with plentiful
villains and much yarning from those who have seen service in the Navy
or the Greenland Fishery and a liberal splattering of nautical
metaphor. So if you can accept the doldrum pace of young Tom's laboured
puns, you have a fine tale of early 19th century London when the Thames
was a bustling thoroughfare.
Mr. Midshipman Easy.
Saunders and Otley, 1836. 3
His best known work. The coming-of-age
of a naive but intelligent and courageous midshipman during the Age of
Sail. Easy is said to have been inspired by the adventures of Cochrane
when he was a young midshipman.
The Pirate and The Three Cutters.
Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown, Green, & Longman,
1836. 315 pages
Two short novels, sharing a brisk
light-hearted style. "The Pirate": Twin brothers are separated in infancy. One
grows up a
member of a pirate gang, the other becomes a naval officer. The pirate
brother eschews the pirates' evil ways (as in THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE),
the brothers meet, are reconciled, defeat the pirate leader, and find
his treasure. "The Three Cutters": A noble yachtsman foolishly tries to
revenue cutter in seizing a smuggler. The gentlemanly smuggler hijacks
the yacht, assumes the identity of the yachtsman, lands his cargo, and
wins the heart of a fair (and rich) widow who is a guest on the yacht.
Must be one of the earliest fictional accounts of
Snarleyyow; or The Dog Fiend.
H. Colburn, 1837. 3 volumes
Smuggling and Jacobites in 1699,
"...in a purely literary sense [his] real masterpiece..." [The Oxford
The Phantom Ship.
H. Colburn, 1839. 122 pages
Longman, Orme, Brown, Green, and Longmans,
1840. 384 pages
Set in and around the Greenwich naval
Contains the oldest recorded lyrics to SPANISH
Masterman Ready; or, The Wreck of the
Pacific. Longman, Orme, Brown, Green &
Longmans, 1841. 3 volumes
A tale of shipwreck
and castaways for young readers.
H. Colburn, 1842. 3 volumes
The Privateersman, or One Hundred Years Ago.
Longman, Orme, Brown, Green, and Longmans,
1846. 2 volumes
Mars, Alastair (1915-1985)
Elek, 1955. 191 pages
Submarine at Bay.
Elek, 1956. 164 pages
Atomic Submarine : a story of tomorrow.
Elek, 1957. 192 pages
U.S. title: Fire in
Horwitz, 1959. 175 pages
Horwitz, 1960. 159 pages
Horwitz, 1960. 161 pages
Amber Quill, 2011. 241 pages
American privateer Captain David
Fletcher needs a surgeon for his wounded brother. But when he captures a British
merchantman in the Caribbean, what he gets is Charley Alcott, an apprentice
physician barely old enough to shave. Needs take priority over skill, and Captain
Fletcher whisks the prisoner aboard his ship with orders to do his best or he'll
be walking the plank. Charley Alcott's medical skills are being put to the test in
a life--or--death situation--Charley's life as well as the patient's. Even if
Charley can save the captain's brother, there will still be hell to pay, and maybe
a plank to walk, when Captain Fletcher learns Charley is really Charlotte
Marshall, Edison (1894-1967)
Yankee Pasha : The adventures of Jason
Starbuck. Farrar, Straus, 1947.
Adirondack frontiersman of the 1790s who loses his family in a Indian
raid, finds a great love while working the coastal fisheries of New
England, and pursues her across the Atlantic and most of the known
world. Swashbuckling adventure on land and sea, with much of it laid
among the Barbary corsairs where Starbuck more or less goes native.
Probably the only historical novel ever to include both a ship duel
in the Bight of Benin and scenes at the court of the Cham of
Farrar, Straus & Young, 1951. 380
The sea is secondary - maybe tertiary -
to this story
of a young viking's rise to power. The movie of the same name with Kirk
Douglas and Tony Curtis was loosely based on this excellent
Farrar, Straus & Young, 1954. 407
An epic tale, circa early 1800's, of
Homer Whitman, Maine seaman, a captain
of an American merchantman captured by Barbary pirates, sold into
West with the Vikings.
Doubleday, 1961. 444 pages
Lief Ericson goes exploring, discovers
new world. Written before Viking discovery of America was generally
regarded as truth rather than myth.
Martel, Yann (1963- )
Life of Pi.
Harcourt, 2001. 401 pages
Winner of the 2002 Man Booker Prize for
Fiction Pi Patel is an unusual boy. The son of a zookeeper, he has an encyclopedic
knowledge of animal behavior, a fervent love of stories, and practices not only
his native Hinduism, but also Christianity and Islam. When Pi is sixteen, his
family emigrates from India to North America aboard a Japanese cargo ship, along
with their zoo animals bound for new homes. The ship sinks. Pi finds himself alone
in a lifeboat, his only companions a hyena, an orangutan, a wounded zebra, and
Richard Parker, a 450-pound Bengal tiger. Soon the tiger has dispatched all but
Pi, whose fear, knowledge, and cunning allow him to coexist with Richard Parker
for 227 days lost at sea. When they finally reach the coast of Mexico, Richard
Parker flees to the jungle, never to be seen again. The Japanese authorities who
interrogate Pi refuse to believe his story and press him to tell them "the truth."
After hours of coercion, Pi tells a second story, a story much less fantastical,
much more conventional-but is it more true?
Martin, Geroge R. R. (1948- )
Poseidon Press, 1982. 350
Vampire novel which takes place on a
Mississippi River sidewheeler. Struggling riverboat captain Abner Marsh receives
an offer of partnership from a wealthy aristocrat,the hauntingly pale, steely-eyed
Martin, Larry Jay
Rush to Destiny.
Bantam, 1992. 390 pages
Biographical novel of Edward F. Beale
Martin, William (1950- )
Warner, 1996. 685 pages
A Naval family's saga spanning two
centuries. They are the Staffords, whose history is told by a descendant as he
prepares a TV documentary. They take part in all the major historical events, from
fighting Barbary Coast pirates to Confederate raiders, from the Battle of Midway
to the Riverine Force in Vietnam.
Martinek, Frank V. (1895-1971)
Commander Don Winslow
The famous adventures of Commander Don
Winslow, hero of countless American teenagers during WW
Martyr, Weston (1885-1966)
The £200 Millionaire.
W. Blackwood, 1931. 307 pages
Short stories: The £200 [200 pound]
Millionaire; The Lucky Bargees; The Ditch Crawlers. Idyllic
portraits of cruising in Europe before WWII. Excellent writing; perhaps
just the thing to get ones significant other interested in coastal
Masefield, John (1878-1967)
G. Richards, 1902. 122 pages
A Mainsail Haul.
Elkin Mathews, 1905. 128
18 nautical short stories from the
this world and the next. Some spooky, some pirates, and a treasure
A Tarpaulin Muster.
E.G. Richards, 1907. 227
G. Richards, 1908. 405 pages
In about 1685 Our hero sails from
Salcombe in the
West Country to Virginia to pick up primo: some tobbacco trade and
secundo: some men with whom to attempt a colonial adventure in Darien.
On the way out of Salcombe Margaret picks up his former sweetheart and
her villainous husband, knowing the villain to be wanted for forgery.
The book deals mainly with the consequences of Margaret's reluctance to
tell the lady that her feller is a bad one. The Darien enterprise fails
magnificently as one of Margaret's privateer colleagues turns nasty,
looking for short term booty on a raid and eventually turning on his
leader. Simple enough adventure stuff although the sexual machinations
are quite advanced for a work of 1908. "Masefield is at his best with
the descriptions of the sea and ships from one who really knew them.
The eventual loss of London grime from the grooves of the main-brace
falls struck a chord with me." [SA]
Wells Gardner, Darton & Co, 1911. 242
Novel about British smuggling in the
dying days of the
Napoleonic Wars as seen from the point of view of a young boy who gets
caught up in smugglers' activities. Told first person years after the
The Bird of Dawning : or, The fortune of the
sea. Macmillan, 1933. 230
"Cruiser" Tewksbury is a young junior
the tea clipper REDGAUNTLET, whose ambitious captain is in a very nervy
state from overwork. He also dislikes Cruiser and despises him for
having served in steamships. Several days out during the "race" to
England, the REDGAUNTLET is run down by another ship and sunk. Cruiser
and 5-6 of the crew find themselves in an open boat with scant food and
water. A couple of the men are sea lawyers and general no-goods, and
things look bad until the boat comes upon the clipper BIRD OF DAWNING
mysteriously abandoned in mid-ocean. He attempts to sail her back home
to England with his short-handed crew. There's a slight "Boys Own
Stories" feel to the novel, but the characterizations are good and the
various ships are described most lovingly.
The Taking of the Gry.
Macmillan, 1934. 193 pages
During a revolution in the tiny Latin
American country of Santa Ana, two foolhardy, desperate try to "kidnap"
an ammuntion ship, the GRY, from a harbor held by their enemies. An
entertaining yarn by a good storyteller.
Victorious Troy, or The Hurrying Angel.
Macmillan, 1935. 308 pages
The square-rigger THE
HURRYING ANGEL is tested by a storm in the southern
The Sea Poems.
Heinemann, 1978. 116 pages
Random House, 2002. 294
Henry Sein catches a fading distress call--a scientist is trapped alone on a melting ice floe. Assembling a motley rescue team, he heads farther north than he's ever gone, determined to save the scientist. It doesn't take long for his plans to go horribly wrong.
Mason, F. van Wyck (1901-1978)
Putnam's, 1931. 295 pages
In 1772, Lieutenant Nathaniel Andrews, a
in the Royal Navy, is framed and sentenced to be transported to
Australia. He escapes, establishes himself as a pirate, and plans his
Lippincott, 1938. 694 pages
Revolutionary War naval
Stars on the Sea.
Lippincott, 1940. 720 pages
Early American revolutionary war
Rivers of Glory.
Lippincott, 1942. 572 pages
Novel about a US Navy spy during Siege
during the Revolutionary War.
Eagle in the Sky.
Lippincott, 1948. 500 pages
Adventures of three doctors in the
Revolution, with a focus on Peter Burnham, who serves as surgeon on an
The Cutlass Empire.
Doubleday, 1949. 396 pages
Fictionalized biography of Henry
Proud New Flags.
Lippincott, 1951. 493 pages
American Civil War (Confederate) naval
adventure. Detailed picture of the efforts of the South to build a navy, efforts
which were blocked by bungling self-seekers, incompetent politicians and the
struggle for separate commands. Brunton, Scottish shipbuilder, Sam Seymour of the
U.S.N. who resigns his commission to serve his native South, his austere elder
brother, an engineer, who goes to Richmond to make his contribution,- these three
live in the intricate story of the Navy's birth and death.
Doubleday, 1953. 340 pages
Fictionalized adventures of Sir Francis
Drake and his defeat of the Spanish Armada.
Our Valiant Few.
Little, Brown, 1956. 436
The Confederate Navy's attempts to break
blockade of Charleston during the American Civil War using torpedo
boats and primitive submarines. Lots of action on shore, but minimal
Lippincott, 1957. 307 pages
Union Navy in action against the
Confederacy on the
western rivers -- sequel to PROUD NEW FLAGS. Since this book ends well
before Vicksburg, there may be more books in the series. Either that or
Mason ended the series with this one.
The Manila Galleon.
Little, Brown, 1961. 495
Commodore George Anson, "Father of the
Modern Royal Navy," sets out on his epic voyage to capture for England a fabulous
Spanish treasure ship - the Manila galleon, "Prize of all the
The Sea 'Venture.
Doubleday, 1961. 349 pages
Enroute to Jamestown, a group of
settlers, including a number of social outcasts, are shipwrecked at Bermuda. Based
on a true historical incident.
Harpoon in Eden.
Doubleday, 1969. 430 pages
The adventures and exploits of the
Paddock family of Nantucket during the great days of sperm whaling in the mid-
Log Cabin Nobel.
Doubleday, 1973. 377 pages
U.K. title: Stand Before Kings.
Despite the title log cabins do not feature much in this story of swashbuckling on
the high seas in the dying days of the Spanish Main and hopes of salvaging the
Nuestra Senora de la Concepcion and her treasure.
Armored Giants: a novel of the Civil War.
Little, Brown, 1980. 339
The battle between the Monitor and
Masselink, Ben (1919-2000)
The Danger Islands.
Little, Brown, 1964. 177
An ex-GI sailing along near Tahiti falls
to bad guys in a converted PT boat who steal his boat and papers. He
chases them all over the Pacific.
Masters, John (1914-1983)
Putnam, 1970. 383 pages
This is the history of the great
fortress-rock, Gibraltar and the surrounding seas wrapped up in one epic
Sphere, 1982. 562 pages
The fate of a shipping company depends
successful maiden voyage of their new liner ARCADIA, the greatest liner
of them all. Flappers, affairs, elegant balls, intrigue and treachery
in this 1920s tale.
The Gold of Malabar.
Scribner, 1967. 213 pages
Matteson, Stefanie (1946- )
Murder Under the Palms.
Berkley Prime Crime, 1997. 245
Former movie star Charlotte Graham has
turned sleuthing into a second career. An extended vacation to Florida turns into
a trip down memory lane when Charlotte attends a glamorous charity ball inspired
by the opulent French passenger ship, Normandie. The ship holds a special place in
Charlotte's heart. Not long before it was destroyed by fire, she had enjoyed a
tender shipboard romance on the famed luxury liner. The highlight of Charlotte's
evening is her reunion with famed band leader and balladeer Eddie Norwood--the man
she fell in love with during her 1939 voyage. The evening seems perfect until a
world-renowned jewelry designer is found stabbed to death at the party. Charlotte
knows that almost any guest could be the murderer. And she is determined to find
the killer--before he or she claims another victim.
Matthiessen, Peter (1927-2014)
Viking, 1961. 152 pages
An almost allegorical tale of a
minded son of wealth - Charlie Stark - who goes to sea "unable to answer his own
questions, and nursing
ill-defined resentments" and finds himself irresistibly drawn to Raditzer, a
weasel of a man who inspires distaste in everyone including Stark. Eventually,
Stark's revulsion turns into
responsibility as he see Raditzer as his shadow self.
Random House, 1975. 408 pages
The western Caribbean Sea and its
sailors depicted by
award-winning novelist. An outstanding book.
Crown, 1968. 217 pages
Take McHale's Navy out of uniform and
plop them into the Merchant Marines and you'll have the slapstick effect intended.
The novel is set aboard a Liberty ship during a ninety day round-trip voyage from
New Orleans to New York and across the North Atlantic in convoy to Liverpool.