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Nautical Fiction Index

Authors N

Names, Larry D.

Ironclads: Man-of-War. Avon, 1995. 374 pages

Events leading up to the siege of Ft. Sumter at the beginning of the Civil War. Focuses on the effort of a pacifist northern woman who is part of a shipping firm to head off the war, while various Sothrons -- including Rafael Semmes, and an oversexed southern belle -- attempt to spy out Union attempts to reinforce Sumter. Despite the title, ends before any ironclads appear.



Nash, N. Richard

East Wind, Rain. Atheneum, 1977. 371 pages

It is November 1941. A Navy Lieutenant in the intelligence section at Pearl Harbor is castrated, then dies under mysterious circumstances. Was this due to his liaison with the wife of an Issei or did he come too close to a secret that the IJN was trying to protect? His brother-in-law, another naval officer, seeks the answer only to be obstructed by his rabidly anti-Japanese commanding officer.



National Maritime Museum, London

Sea Stories. National Maritime Museum, 2007. 313 pages

Original anthology. Contents: The shoals / Sam Llewellyn -- Devonia / Desmond Barry -- The doldrums / John Williams -- Getting there is half the fun / James Scudamore -- The King's Daughter of Norroway / Margaret Elphinstone -- Omar's island / Robert Minhinnick -- Fresh water / Chris Cleave -- Bathyspheres / Niall Griffiths -- In time: a correspondence / Erica Wagner -- Something rich and strange / Charles Lambert -- The island / Roger Hubank -- The convalescent's handbook / Evie Wyld -- The boy / Tessa Hadley -- The anniversary / Martin Stephen -- A snow goose / Jim Perrin -- The museum of the sea / Nick Parker.



Neale, William Johnson, (1812- 1893)

The Flying Dutchman, a Legend of the High Seas. Henry Colburn, 1839. 3 volumes

West Indies in the 1760s. Lt. Ramsay, RN falls in love with Angela, his captain's daughter. The tyrannical captain resolves to accomplish Ramsay's ruin, has him dismissed the service on a trumped up charge, presses him as a common seaman, and maroons him on a desert island. Ramsay's friend, a mysterious corporal of marines, strangles the captain and drops the body overboard. The crew mutiny and elect the corporal as their leader. Another ship, carrying Angela, attacks the mutinous frigate, but loses the battle and is abandoned in sinking condition. The waterlogged wreck drifts ashore on Ramsay's island. He revives the dying girl, they marry, and live an idyllic life for a year. Meanwhile the corporal contrives a plan to disguise the frigate as the dreaded Flying Dutchman, so un-nerving their opponents and winning every battle. Eventually the Ramsays are rescued, the mutineers meet their just deserts, and the corporal's true identity is revealed. Contains two excellent court martial episodes (Neale was both a seaman and a lawyer). A brisk, technically accurate, and fast moving novel.


Paul Periwinkle, or the Pressgang. W. Tegg, 1841. 640 pages

Picaresque novel, set in England, Ireland, and Haiti. Hero Paul is tried and convicted for the murder of a man who had disappeared, having been seized by a pressgang. Paul escapes to Ireland, then to the West Indies, surviving many vicissitudes, including piracy and plank-walking and events during revolt in Haiti by blacks led by Toussaint L'Ouverture; all is well in the end, virtuous triumphant, wicked punished ("that is what is meant by fiction" - Oscar Wilde). Eveline is a startlingly forceful heroine for the time: she wields gun and sword in unsuccessful defence of her father's vicarage in Ireland when the peasantry attack, is taken and raped, later escapes and for most of the rest of the novel poses as a man and fights fiercely on sea and land. An extraordinary feature is that the pressed man is left on a storm-beaten shipwreck from page 128 to page 598, reappearing just in time to resolve the plot!


The Port Admiral : A Tale of the War. Cochrane and M'Crone, 1833. 3 volumes


Gentleman Jack : A Naval Story. J. Cochrane, 1837. 640 pages


The Naval Surgeon. J. Cochrane, 1841. 3 volumes


The Captain's Wife. T. and W. Boone, 1841. 3 volumes


The Pride of the Mess: A Naval Novel of the Crimean War. George Routledge and Sons, 1855. 268 pages


Will Watch : from the auto-biography of a British officer. J. Cochrane, 1834. 3 volumes


Cavendish: or, The Patrician at Sea. H. Colburn & R. Bentley, 1831. 3 volumes



Needle, Jan (James Albert) (1943- )

William Bentley series:

  1. A Fine Boy for Killing. HarperCollins, 1996. 371 pages

    Set in the Royal Navy in the era of the Napoleonic Wars. A dark, grim story of a brutal frigate captain, pressed crew members, and a young midshipman, the captain's nephew, who is torn in his loyalties. The ship is sailing alone once manned, so no fleet actions are involved, and no major historical events impinge on the story. This 1997 printing has an author's note that it is his unabridged original, considerably different from the previously published 1979 version (Andre Deutsch).

  2. The Wicked Trade. HarperCollins, 1998. 378 pages

    William Bentley, of the press ship BITER faces murder, corruption and poor dental health while doing the Royal Navy's dirty work at Deptford. "...The reader is up to his knees in the viscous ooze of Deptford Creek where mouldering timber hulks and mouldier specimens of humanity are engaged on His Majesty's Service, which includes duplicity, murder, the wholesale removal of young women's teeth and beating the lights out of any scrofulous wreck capable of being bullied out onto a yardarm.... Seamen are pirates, killers and thugs, all grinning toothlessly - I hate to think what dentists must have done to the author in the past. It's fly-on-the-wall, warts-and-all, fast-and-furious stuff, in which Bentley's life, like that of his more rarified ancestor Hornblower, reflects as much the time in which he has been written as the time in which he sails; the privileged are stripped bare, institutions are corrupt and money is god. But let's hear it for Deptford: its literary moment has come."

  3. The Spithead Nymph. McBooks, 2004. 287 pages

    Midshipman William Bentley awaits trial on charges of treason - until he is offered the chance to avoid prison by serving as first lieutenant to Richard Kaye, now captain of Will's old ship Biter. Will accepts and begins a harrowing journey to Jamaica, unaware that the woman he loves has been sold as an indentured servant to a depraved Jamaican planter. The brutality of Will's shipboard companions further hardens him to navy life, but nothing can prepare him for the inhumanity that fuels the slave trade.

  4. Undertaker's Wind. Broadside Press, 2006. 337 pages

    With the Biter sunk beneath the Caribbean waves, along with Captain "Slack Dickie" Kaye's corrupted dream of riches, Will Bentley is forced inexorably deeper into the brutal and rapacious world of Jamaican politics. Although he brilliantly cuts out a mysterious French brig from a secret bay, his hopes of recovering his lost honour with a triumphant return to Port Royal are blighted by the news that Deb Tomelty, his beloved "Spithead Nymph," has been held responsible for the death of a leading planter - and that William must help to hunt her to her death!



Neilson, Eric

Haakon the Dark series:

  1. The Golden Ax. Bantam, 1984. 210 pages

    Lusty, death-defying adventurer Haakon the Dark has been chosen by his gods as their avenging arm on earth. The Golden Axe is a marvelous and terrible weapon with supernatural powers that the gods have entrusted to Haakon, but is the axe truly a gift or is it a curse of evil? Only time will tell. In this series opener Haakon and his band battle against overwhelming odds as they try to save the fair Rosamund, Haakon's lady love.

  2. The Viking's Revenge. Bantam, 1984. 213 pages

    Only one mortal man has the power and wisdom to spare civilization when a treacherous deed brings bloody death to armies senseless slaughter to cities -- our hero of course. Leading the greatest army of Viking warriors ever assembled, Haakon the Dark instead scours the entire known world to find his Rosamund, in peril again, this time stolen by an evil warrior chief. No doubt civilization and Rosamund are both saved in the end.

  3. Haakon's Iron Hand. Bantam, 1984. 199 pages

  4. The War God. Bantam, 1984. 231 pages



Nelson, James L.

Revolution at Sea series:

  1. By Force of Arms. Pocket Books, 1996. 324 pages

    Nelson's hero, a smuggler in pre- Revolutionary War days, brings shipments into Long Island Sound and runs afoul of HMS ROSE, a British ship doing customs duty. Nelson also brings up the burning of a customs sloop by Rhode Islanders the year before. HMS ROSE in the novel is the real ancestor to today's "HMS" ROSE, in which the author sailed as third mate.

  2. The Maddest Idea. Pocket Books, 1997. 417 pages

    Captain Biddelcom, our hero from By Force of Arms, in command of the privateer CHARLEMAGNE is given a commission in the Continental Army and sent on a mission to steal gunpowder from the British in the Bahamas. This effort is foiled by a traitor, and Biddlecomb is captured, but he manages to escape, and complete his mission anyway. In the meantime, the aide that arranged the mission is scouring Rhode Island for the traitor.

  3. The Continental Risque. Pocket Books, 1998. 372 pages

    Still suffering the damages of their ill-fated mission to Bermuda, Isaac Biddlecomb and the brig-of-war CHARLEMAGNE are voluteered for service in the newly formed United States Navy. Sailing to Philadelphia with the irritating John Adams as a passenger, Biddlecomb et al are made part of the first American navy and marine corps action to New Providence Island. But trouble is brewing in the gunroom, as his officers find themselves at each other's throats, and below decks as sea-lawyer Amos Hacket tears the crew apart down sectional lines.

  4. Lords of the Ocean. Pocket Books, 1999. 354 pages

    At the height of the American Revolution, Captain Biddlecomb receives orders to smuggle Dr. Benjamin Franklin across the Atlantic and into France.

  5. All the Brave Fellows. Pocket Books, 2000. 395 pages

    Captain Isaac Biddlecomb is sailing along the New Jersey coast with his wife and newborn son aboard, unaware that the entire British fleet stands in his way, along with his enemy Lt. John Smeaton, a man to whom he owes a debt of blood.


The Only Life That Mattered : the Short and Merry Lives of Anne Bonny, Mary Read, and Calico Jack Rackam. McBooks, 2004. 414 pages

Based on the real-life female pirates of the West Indies, this novel of swashbuckling on the high seas in the eighteenth century finds adventure-seeking Anne Bonny teaming up with Calico Jack Rackham to raise the skull and crossbones over the Caribbean.



Newell, Charles Martin (1821- c1900)

The Voyage of the Fleetwing, a Narrative of Love, Wreck and Whaling Adventures. De Wolfe, Fiske & Co, 1886. 443 pages

Whaling voyage to Hawaii.



Nicastro, Nicholas

John Paul Jones series:

  1. The Eighteenth Captain. McBooks, 1999. 312 pages

    An action-filled novel based on John Paul Jones and his naval career, framing the fall-out of the French Revolution.

  2. Between Two Fires. McBooks, 2002. 368 pages



Nicholls, F. F. (Frederick Francis) (1926- )

The Log of the "Sardis". Heinemann, 1962. 192 pages

Damage to the navigation equipment causes problems aboard an America clipper ship.



Nicol, C. W.

Harpoon. Putnam, 1987. 506 pages

Japanese 19th century whaling epic as told from the point of view of two brothers from a Japaneses whaling village -- one who stays in the village pursuing traditional Japanese whaling practices, the second who leave to learn how the Gaijin westerners whale.



Nicole, Christopher (Andrew York) (1930- )

Operation Destruct. Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1969. 230 pages

Assigned to investigate the death of a fellow agent in the wreck of a Russian trawler, British spy Jonathan Anders must outwit the Russians, who want him dead, and the British police, who want him for murder.


Operation Neptune. Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1972. 222 pages

Jonathan Anders is sent on assignment by British Intelligence to locate notes on an invention that will enable man to move about freely underwater.


The Devil's Own. St. Martin's, 1975. 436 pages

Shipping out with Sir Henry Morgan.



Niemann, August (1839-1919)

The Coming Conquest of England. G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1904. 384 pages

Translation of Der weltkrieg, Deutsche traüme. Not a brilliant piece of work, and only fifty percent naval, but every bit as important as Erskin Childers Riddle of the Sands as a whistle blower to alert the British public to the dangers of German naval expansion.



Nordhoff, Charles (1830-1901)

Man of War Life : a boy's experience in the United States Navy, during a voyage around the world, in a ship of the line. Moore, Wilstach, Keys & Co., 1856. 286 pages

A young sailor's impressions in the mid-1800's. Forms part of his Nine years a sailor.


The Merchant Vessel: a sailor boy's voyages to see the world. Moore, Wilstach, Keys & Co., 1856. 288 pages

Also published as the second part of the author's Nine years a sailor.


Whaling & Fishing. Moore, Wilstach, Keys & Co., 1856. 383 pages

Subsequently issued as part of his Nine years a sailor.


Nine years a sailor : being sketches of personal experience in the United States Naval Service, the American and British Merchant Marine and the whaling service. Moore, Wilstach, Keys & Co., 1857. 1 volume

U.K. title: The Boys Own Sea Stories.



Nordhoff, Charles (1887-1947)

The Pearl Lagoon. Little, Brown, 1924. 224 pages

For young boys.


The Derelict : Further Adventures of Charles Selden and His Native Friends in the South Seas. Little, Brown, 1928. 284 pages

Sequel to The Pearl Lagoon.


Island Wreck. Methuen, 1929. 210 pages

For young boys.



Nordhoff, Charles (1887-1947) and Hall, James Norman (1887-1951)

The Bounty Trilogy:

  1. Mutiny on the Bounty. Little, Brown, 1932. 396 pages

    The voyage of the BOUNTY to Tahiti for breadfruit, her sojourn there, and the subsequent mutiny when she begins the voyage back to England.

  2. Men against the Sea. Little, Brown, 1934. 251 pages

    The incredible 3,600 mile voyage in an open 23 foot boat of Captain Bligh and 18 loyal members of his crew, set adrift after the mutiny.

  3. Pitcairn's Island. Little, Brown, 1934. 333 pages

    Some of the mutineers sail off in the BOUNTY with Fletcher Christian and their Tahitian wives and in-laws in search of an island where they can successfully hide from the inevitable pursuit by the Royal Navy. They find such a haven at Pitcairn's Island and settle down to their fate.


The Hurricane. Little, Brown, 1936. 257 pages

Polynesian convict escapes and returns to home atoll. Hurricane devastates island while he is evading recapture. Great tale of humans against the elements, and coping with the imposition of Western civilization at the same time. Made into a movie starring Jon Hall and Dorothy Lamour in the 1930s.


No More Gas. Little, Brown, 1940. 320 pages

The saga of a multitudinous family in Tahiti, and what happened to them when they suddenly became rich from salvaging a vessel. Made into a movie called "The Tuttles of Tahiti", starring Charles Laughton.


Botany Bay. Little, Brown, 1941. 374 pages

The story of Hugh Tallant, highwayman and the infamous penal colony established in Australia in 1788.


Men Without Country. Little, Brown, 1942. 122 pages

The war is just beginning and France has not yet surrendered to the Germans. A French vessel picks up five semi-conscious men in a canoe. All ex-convicts, they have escaped from Devil's Island to do their bit for France. The tensions aboard the Marseille-bound ship slowly build to a shattering clash of wills between the men and the ship's Nazi sympathizer. Filmed as "Passage to Marseille".


The High Barbaree. Little, Brown, 1945. 230 pages

Story of the dream of a young pilot whose plane is wrecked over the Pacific Ocean. Catalina flying boat is shot down in the South Pacific in 1943. After days of drifting, the lone survivor swims ashore on a mystic, uncharted island, where he finds his uncle and fiancee. Filmed in 1947.



Norris, Frank (1870-1902)

Moran of the "Lady Letty" : a story of adventure off the California coast. Doubleday, 1898. 203 pages

Realistic sea romance. Later reprinted under the title Shanghaied.



Norton, André (1912-2005)

Scarface, Being the story of one Justin Blade, late of the pirate isle of Tortuga, and how fate did justly deal with him, to his great profit. Harcourt, Brace, 1948. 263 pages

Teenaged pirate Scarface is part of a raid on the English colony of Barbados. He wins the King's Pardon and finds a name and family. For young adults.



Norton, Roy (1869-1942)

Drowned Gold, Being the Story of a Sailor's Life. Houghton Mifflin, 1917. 268 pages

It's not really the story of a sailor's life-- it's the story of 3 million dollars in sunken gold, deep sea diving, piracy and young love, and all of the things which go to make up a good sea yarn.



Novik, Naomi (1973- )

Temeraire series:

  1. His Majesty's Dragon. Del Rey, 2006. 384 pages

    U.K. title: Temeraire. Captain Will Laurence has been at sea since he was just twelve years old; finding a warmer berth in Nelson's navy than any he enjoyed as the youngest, least important son of Lord Allendale. Rising on merit to captain his own vessel, Laurence has earned himself a beautiful fiancee, society's esteem and a golden future. But the war is not going well. It seems Britain can only wait as Napoleon plans to overrun her shores. After a skirmish with a French ship, Laurence finds himself in charge of a rare cargo: a dragon egg bound for the Emperor himself. Dragons are much prized: properly trained, they can mount a fearsome attack from the skies. One of Laurence's men must take the beast in hand and join the aviators' cause, thus relinquishing all hope of a normal life. But when the newly-hatched dragon ignores the young midshipman Laurence chose as its keeper and decides to imprint itself on the horrified captain instead, Laurence's world falls apart. Gone is his golden future: gone his social standing, and soon his beautiful fiancee, as he is consigned to be the constant companion and trainer of the fighting dragon Temeraire!

  2. Throne of Jade. Del Rey, 2006. 432 pages

    Captain William Laurence of the British Air Corps and his dragon, Temeraire, begin their slow voyage to China, fearful that upon landing they will be forced to part by Imperial decree. Temeraire is a Celestial dragon, the most highly-prized of all draconic breeds; famed for their intelligence, agility and most of all for the Divine Wind -- their terrible roar capable of shattering the heavy timbers of war ships, shattering woodland and destroying other dragons mid-flight. Temeraire's egg was captured and claimed by the British at sea, but he was meant to be the companion of the Emperor Napoleon and not captained by a mere officer in the British Air Corps. The Chinese have demanded his return and the British cannot refuse them -- they cannot afford to provoke the asian super-power into allying themselves with the French -- even if it costs them the most powerful weapon in their arsenal and inflicts the most unimaginable pain upon Laurence and his dragon.

  3. Black Powder War. Del Rey, 2006. 400 pages

    Before Captain Will Laurence can prepare his crew for the slow voyage home from China, new orders arrive for him and his dragon, Temeraire: they must fly home immediately, stopping only in Istanbul to collect three priceless dragon eggs, purchased by the British government from the Ottoman Empire. But the cross-continental journey is fraught with danger; not only will they have to scale mountains and traverse vast hostile deserts, but a Machiavellian herald precedes them, spreading political menace in her wake. Holding Temeraire responsible for the death of her princely companion, Lien has absconded from China consumed by vengeance. If she can, she will destroy everything and everyone Temeraire loves.

  4. Empire of Ivory. Del Rey, 2007. 416 pages

    Laurence and Temeraire made a daring journey across vast and inhospitable continents to bring home a rare Turkish dragon from the treacherous Ottoman Empire. Kazilik dragons are firebreathers, and Britain is in greater need of protection than ever, for while Laurence and Temeraire were away, an epidemic struck British shores and is killing off her greatest defence -- her dragon air force is slowly dying. The dreadful truth must be kept from Napoleon at all costs. Allied with the white Chinese dragon, Lien, he would not hestitate to take advantage of Britain's weakness and launch a devasting invasion. Hope lies with the only remaining healthy dragon -- Temeraire cannot stay at home, but must once again venture into the unknown to help his friends and seek out a cure in darkest Africa.

  5. Victory of Eagles. Del Rey, 2008. 342 pages

    Laurence waits to be hanged as a traitor to the Crown, and Temeraire is confined to the breeding grounds as Napoleon invades Britain, and takes London. Laurence and Temeraire have betrayed the British. They have foiled their attempts to inflict death upon the French dragons by sharing the cure they found in Africa with their enemy. But following their conscience has a price. Laurence feels he must return to face the consequences, and as soon as they land they are taken into custody. Laurence is condemned to the gallows and Temeraire faces a life of captivity in the breeding grounds. None of their friends or allies can come to their aid, for every hand is needed elsewhere. Britain is completely unprepared for Bonaparte invasion and the advanced tactics of his own celestial dragon -- Temeraire's mortal enemy -- Lien.

  6. Tongues of Serpents. Del Rey, 2010. 288 pages

    Laurence and Temeraire have been banished from the country they've fought so hard to protect - and the friends they have made in the British Aerial Corps. Found guilty of treason, man and dragon have been deported to Australia to start a new life and many new adventures. They must navigate treacherous political waters to protect three dragon eggs.

  7. Crucible of Gold. Del Rey, 2012. 336 pages

    For Laurence and Temeraire, put out to pasture in Australia, it seems their part in the war has come to an end just when they are needed most. Newly allied with the powerful African empire of the Tswana, the French have occupied Spain and brought revolution and bloodshed to Brazil, threatening Britain's last desperate hope to defeat Napoleon. So the British government dispatches Arthur Hammond from China to enlist Laurence and Temeraire to negotiate a peace with the angry Tswana, who have besieged the Portuguese royal family in Rio—and as bait, Hammond bears an offer to reinstate Laurence to his former rank and seniority as a captain in the Aerial Corps. Temeraire is delighted by this sudden reversal of fortune, but Laurence is by no means sanguine, knowing from experience that personal honor and duty to one's country do not always run on parallel tracks.

  8. Blood of Tyrants. Del Rey, 2013. 448 pages

    Shipwrecked and cast ashore in Japan with no memory of Temeraire or his own experiences as an English aviator, Laurence finds himself tangled in deadly political intrigues that threaten not only his own life but England's already precarious position in the Far East. Age-old enmities and suspicions have turned the entire region into a powder keg ready to erupt at the slightest spark—a spark that Laurence and Temeraire may unwittingly provide, leaving Britain faced with new enemies just when they most desperately need allies instead.

  9. League of Dragons. Del Rey, 2016. 380 pages

    Napoleon's invasion of Russia has been roundly thwarted. But even as Capt. William Laurence and the dragon Temeraire pursue the retreating enemy through an unforgiving winter, Napoleon is raising a new force, and he'll soon have enough men and dragons to resume the offensive. While the emperor regroups, the allies have an opportunity to strike first and defeat him once and for all--if internal struggles and petty squabbles don't tear them apart. Aware of his weakened position, Napoleon has promised the dragons of every country--and the ferals, loyal only to themselves--vast new rights and powers if they fight under his banner. It is an offer eagerly embraced from Asia to Africa--and even by England, whose dragons have long rankled at their disrespectful treatment. But Laurence and his faithful dragon soon discover that the wily Napoleon has one more gambit at the ready--one that that may win him the war, and the world.



Nye, Robert

The Voyage of the Destiny. Putnam's, 1982. 387 pages

Fiction about Sir Walter Raleigh's voyage to South American. Tudor period piece.