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Nautical Fiction Index

Authors Mar - Mau

Marmur, Jacland (1901-1970)

Andromeda. 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 life.


The Ransom of Peter Drake. Saturday Evening Post, January 3, 1948

Short story. The story about a radio operator 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 copied.


The King's Own. H. Colburn and R. Bentley, 1830. 3 volumes

The hero, not knowing himself to be the grandson of 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 their daughter.


Peter Simple. Allen & Ticknor, 1833. 154 pages

Peter Simple, fool younger son of a younger son 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 volumes

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 volumes

His best known work. The coming-of-age story 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 assist a 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 yachting.


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 Companion...].


The Phantom Ship. H. Colburn, 1839. 122 pages

The "Flying Dutchman."


Poor Jack. Longman, Orme, Brown, Green, and Longmans, 1840. 384 pages

Set in and around the Greenwich naval pensioners' hospital. Contains the oldest recorded lyrics to SPANISH LADIES.


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.


Percival Keene. H. Colburn, 1842. 3 volumes

Napoleonic naval warfare.


The Privateersman, or One Hundred Years Ago. Longman, Orme, Brown, Green, and Longmans, 1846. 2 volumes



Mars, Alastair (1915-1985)

Arctic Submarine. 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 Anger.


Submarine Attack. Horwitz, 1959. 175 pages


Mediterranean Wolfpack. Horwitz, 1960. 159 pages


Deep Escape. Horwitz, 1960. 161 pages



Marshall, Darlene

Sea Change. 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 Alcott.



Marshall, Edison (1894-1967)

Yankee Pasha : The adventures of Jason Starbuck. Farrar, Straus, 1947. 439 pages

A doughty 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 Tartary.


The Viking. Farrar, Straus & Young, 1951. 380 pages

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 novel.


American Captain. Farrar, Straus & Young, 1954. 407 pages

An epic tale, circa early 1800's, of Homer Whitman, Maine seaman, a captain of an American merchantman captured by Barbary pirates, sold into captivity, etc.


West with the Vikings. Doubleday, 1961. 444 pages

Lief Ericson goes exploring, discovers the 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- )

Fevre Dream. Poseidon Press, 1982. 350 pages

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 Joshua York.



Martin, Larry Jay

Rush to Destiny. Bantam, 1992. 390 pages

Biographical novel of Edward F. Beale "naval hero, soldier, adventurer..."



Martin, William (1950- )

Annapolis. 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 series:

  1. Don Winslow, USN, in Ceylon With Kwang, celebrated Chinese detective. Rosenow, 1934. 258 pages

  2. Don Winslow USN. Whitman, 1935. 427 pages

  3. Don Winslow of the Navy vs. the Scorpian Gang. Whitman, 1938. 1 volumes

  4. Don Winslow of the U.S. Navy and the Missing Admiral. Whitman, 1938. 32 pages

  5. Don Winslow of the Navy. Grosset & Dunlap, 1940. 214 pages

    The famous adventures of Commander Don Winslow, hero of countless American teenagers during WW II.

  6. Don Winslow Face to Face With the Scorpion. Grosset & Dunlap, 1940. 215 pages

  7. Don Winslow of the Navy and the Great War Plot. Whitman, 1940. 424 pages

  8. Don Winslow Breaks the Spy Net. Grosset & Dunlap, 1941. 211 pages

  9. Don Winslow Saves the Secret Formula. Grosset & Dunlap, 1941. 218 pages

  10. Don Winslow. Navy Intelligence Ace. Whitman, 1942. 1 volume

  11. Don Winslow of the Navy and the Secret Enemy Base. Whitman, 1943. 345 pages

  12. Don Winslow and the Giant Girl Spy. Whitman, 1946. 348 pages

  13. Don Winslow and the Scorpion's Stronghold. Whitman, 1956. 228 pages



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 cruising.



Masefield, John (1878-1967)

Salt-Water Ballads. G. Richards, 1902. 122 pages


A Mainsail Haul. Elkin Mathews, 1905. 128 pages

18 nautical short stories from the master, covering this world and the next. Some spooky, some pirates, and a treasure hunt.


A Tarpaulin Muster. E.G. Richards, 1907. 227 pages

24 short stories.


Captain Margaret. 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]


Jim Davis. Wells Gardner, Darton & Co, 1911. 242 pages

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 events related.


The Bird of Dawning : or, The fortune of the sea. Macmillan, 1933. 230 pages

"Cruiser" Tewksbury is a young junior mate in 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 ocean.


The Sea Poems. Heinemann, 1978. 116 pages



Masiel, David

2182 kHz. Random House, 2002. 294 pages

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)

Captain Nemesis. Putnam's, 1931. 295 pages

In 1772, Lieutenant Nathaniel Andrews, a colonial in the Royal Navy, is framed and sentenced to be transported to Australia. He escapes, establishes himself as a pirate, and plans his revenge.


Three Harbours. Lippincott, 1938. 694 pages

Revolutionary War naval action.


Stars on the Sea. Lippincott, 1940. 720 pages

Early American revolutionary war adventure.


Rivers of Glory. Lippincott, 1942. 572 pages

Novel about a US Navy spy during Siege of Savannah during the Revolutionary War.


Eagle in the Sky. Lippincott, 1948. 500 pages

Adventures of three doctors in the American Revolution, with a focus on Peter Burnham, who serves as surgeon on an American privateer.


The Cutlass Empire. Doubleday, 1949. 396 pages

Fictionalized biography of Henry Morgan


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.


Golden Admiral. Doubleday, 1953. 340 pages

Fictionalized adventures of Sir Francis Drake and his defeat of the Spanish Armada.


Our Valiant Few. Little, Brown, 1956. 436 pages

The Confederate Navy's attempts to break the blockade of Charleston during the American Civil War using torpedo boats and primitive submarines. Lots of action on shore, but minimal naval action.


Blue Hurricane. 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 pages

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 Oceans."


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- nineteenth century.


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 pages

The battle between the Monitor and Merrimack.



Masselink, Ben (1919-2000)

The Danger Islands. Little, Brown, 1964. 177 pages

An ex-GI sailing along near Tahiti falls victim 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)

The Rock. Putnam, 1970. 383 pages

This is the history of the great fortress-rock, Gibraltar and the surrounding seas wrapped up in one epic novel.



Masterton, Graham

Maiden Voyage. Sphere, 1982. 562 pages

The fate of a shipping company depends upon the 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.



Mather, Berkeley

The Gold of Malabar. Scribner, 1967. 213 pages



Matteson, Stefanie (1946- )

Murder Under the Palms. Berkley Prime Crime, 1997. 245 pages

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)

Raditzer. Viking, 1961. 152 pages

An almost allegorical tale of a restless, artistically 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.


Far Tortuga. Random House, 1975. 408 pages

The western Caribbean Sea and its sailors depicted by award-winning novelist. An outstanding book.



Maule, Hamilton

Rub-a-Dub-Dub. 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.