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Nautical Fiction Index

Authors O

O'Brian, Frank [pseud. B.W. Garfield]

Act of Piracy. Dell, 1975. 256 pages

A crazy captain takes steamboat from New York to California around Cape Horn in the 1850s.



O'Brian, Patrick (1914-2000)

The Golden Ocean. Norton, 1957. 285 pages

Based on Commodore Anson's voyage around the world in the 1740s.


The Unknown Shore. Norton, 1959. 313 pages

Companion to The Golden Ocean. The adventures of future admiral (then midshipman) John "Foulweather Jack" Byron and the surgeon of the storeship WAGER of Anson's fleet after she was wrecked off southern Chile.


The Jack Aubrey - Steven Maturin series:

  1. Master and Commander. Norton, 1969. 384 pages

    The first of the Jack Aubrey novels, establishes the friendship between Captain Aubrey, R.N., and Stephen Maturin, ship's surgeon and intelligence agent, against a thrilling backdrop of the Napoleonic wars. Life aboard a man-of-war is detailed: the conversational idiom of the officers in the ward room and the men on the lower deck, the food, the floggings, the mysteries of the wind and the rigging, and the roar of broadsides as the great ships close in battle.

  2. Post Captain. Norton, 1972. 496 pages

    "We've beat them before and we'll beat them again." In 1803 Napoleon smashes the Peace of Amiens, and Captain Jack Aubrey, R. N., taking refuge in France from his creditors, is interned. He escapes from France, from debtor's Prison, from a possible mutiny, and pursues his quarry straight into the mouth of a French-held harbor.

  3. H.M.S. Surprise. Norton, 1973. 379 pages

    Third in the series of Aubrey/Maturin adventures, this book is set among the strange sights and smells of the Indian subcontinent, and in the distant waters ploughed by the ships of the East India Company. Aubrey is on the defensive, pitting wits and seamanship against an enemy enjoying overwhelming local superiority. But somewhere in the Indian Ocean lies the prize that could make him rich beyond his wildest dream: the ships sent by Napoleon to attack the China Fleet.

  4. Mauritius Command. Norton, 1977. 348 pages

    Captain Jack Aubrey is ashore on half pay without a command—until Stephen Maturin arrives with secret orders for Aubrey to take a frigate to the Cape of Good Hope under a commodore's pennant, there to mount an expedition against the French-held islands of Mauritius and La Réunion. But the difficulties of carrying out his orders are compounded by two of his own captains—Lord Clonfert, a pleasure-seeking dilettante, and Captain Corbett, whose severity pushes his crew to the verge of mutiny.

  5. Desolation Island. Norton, 1978. 325 pages

    Commissioned to rescue Governor Bligh of Bounty fame, Captain Jack Aubrey and his friend and surgeon Stephen Maturin sail the Leopard to Australia with a hold full of convicts. Among them is a beautiful and dangerous spy and a treacherous disease that decimates the crew. With a Dutch man-of-war to windward, the undermanned, outgunned Leopard sails for her life into the freezing waters of the Antarctic, where, in mountain seas, the Dutchman closes.

  6. The Fortune of War. Norton, 1979. 329 pages

    Captain Jack Aubrey, R. N., arrives in the Dutch East Indies to find himself appointed to the command of the fastest and best-armed frigate in the Navy. He and his friend Stephen Maturin take passage for England in a dispatch vessel. But the War of 1812 breaks out while they are en route. Bloody actions precipitate them both into new and unexpected scenes where Stephen's past activities as a secret agent return on him with a vengeance.

  7. The Surgeon's Mate. Norton, 1980. 382 pages

    Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin are ordered home by dispatch vessel to bring the news of their latest victory to the government. But Maturin is a marked man for the havoc he has wrought in the French intelligence network in the New World, and the attention of two privateers soon becomes menacing. The chase that follows through the fogs and shallows of the Grand Banks is as tense, and as unexpected in its culmination, as anything Patrick O'Brian has written.

  8. The Ionian Mission. Norton, 1981. 367 pages

    Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin, veterans now of many battles, return in this novel to the seas where they first sailed as shipmates. But Jack is now a senior captain commanding a line-of-battle ship in the Royal Navy's blockade of Toulon, and this is a longer, harder, colder war than the dashing frigate actions of his early days. A sudden turn of events takes him and Stephen off on a hazardous mission to the Greek Islands, where all his old skills of seamanship and his proverbial luck when fighting against odds come triumphantly into their own.

  9. Treason's Harbor. Norton, 1983. 334 pages

    A novel of action and intrigue, set partly in Malta, partly in the treacherous, pirate-infested waters of the Red Sea. While Captain Aubrey worries about repairs to his ship, Stephen Maturin assumes the center stage for the dockyards and salons of Malta are alive with Napoleon's agents, and the admiralty's intelligence network is compromised. Maturin's cunning is the sole bulwark against sabotage of Aubrey's daring mission.

  10. The Far Side of the World. Norton, 1984. 366 pages

    The war of 1812 continues, and Jack Aubrey sets course for Cape Horn on a mission after his own heart: intercepting a powerful American frigate outward bound to play havoc with the British whaling trade. Stephen Maturin has fish of his own to fry in the world of secret intelligence. Disaster in various guises awaits them in the Great South Sea and in the far reaches of the Pacific: typhoons, castaways, shipwrecks, murder, and criminal insanity.

  11. The Reverse of the Medal. Norton, 1986. 287 pages

    Captain Jack Aubrey, R. N., ashore after a successful cruise, is persuaded by a casual acquaintance to make certain investments in the City. This innocent decision ensnares him in the London criminal underground and in government espionage - the province of his friend Stephen Maturin. Is Aubrey's humiliation and the threatened ruin of his career a deliberate plot?

  12. The Letter of Marque. Norton, 1988. 284 pages

    Captain Jack Aubrey, a brilliant and experienced officer, has been struck off the list of post-captains for a crime he did not commit. His old friend Stephen Maturin, usually cast as a ship's surgeon to mask his discreet activities on behalf of British Intelligence, has bought for Aubrey his former ship the Surprise to command as a privateer, more politely termed a letter of marque. Together they sail on a desperate mission against the French, which, if successful, may redeem Aubrey from the private hell of his disgrace.

  13. The Thirteen Gun Salute. Norton, 1989. 319 pages

    Captain Jack Aubrey shepherds Stephen Maturin - his friend, ship's surgeon, and sometimes intelligence agent - on a diplomatic mission to prevent links between Bonaparte and the Malay princes which would put English merchant shipping at risk.

  14. The Nutmeg of Consolation. Norton, 1991. 315 pages

    Shipwrecked on a remote island in the Dutch East Indies, Captain Aubrey, surgeon and secret intelligence agent Stephen Maturin, and the crew of the Diane fashion a schooner from the wreck. A vicious attack by Malay pirates is repulsed, but the makeshift vessel burns, and they are truly marooned.

  15. The Truelove. Norton, 1992. 256 pages

    UK title: Clarissa Oakes. A British whaler has been captured by an ambitious chief in the sandwich islands at French instigation, and Captain Aubrey, R. N., Is dispatched with the Surprise to restore order. But stowed away in the cable-tier is an escaped female convict. To the officers, Clarissa Harvill is an object of awkward courtliness and dangerous jealousies. Aubrey himself is won over and indeed strongly attracted to this woman who will not speak of her past. But only Aubrey's friend, Dr. Stephen Maturin, can fathom Clarissa's secrets: her crime, her personality, and a clue identifying a highly placed English spy in the pay of Napoleon's intelligence service.

  16. The Wine-Dark Sea. Norton, 1993. 261 pages

    Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin pursue an American privateer through the Great South Sea. Their ship, the Surprise, is now also a privateer, the better to escape diplomatic complications from Stephen's mission, which is to ignite the revolutionary tinder of South America.

  17. The Commodore. Norton, 1994. 282 pages

    Having survived a long and desperate adventure in the Great South Sea, Captain Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin return to England to very different circumstances. For Jack it is a happy homecoming, at least initially, but for Stephen it is disastrous: his little daughter appears to be autistic, incapable of speech or contact, while his wife, Diana, unable to bear this situation, has disappeared, her house being looked after by the widowed Clarissa Oakes.

  18. The Yellow Admiral. Norton, 1996. 262 pages

    In the spring of 1814, peace breaks out. Stephen Maturin returns from a mission in France with the news that the Chileans, to secure their independence, require a navy, and the service of English officers. Jack is savoring this apparent reprieve for his career, when he receives an urgent dispatch ordering him to Gibraltar: Napoleon has escaped from Elba.

  19. The Hundred Days. Norton, 1998. 281 pages

    On the high seas, Captain Jack Aubrey of the Royal Navy and his co-adventurer, Dr. Stephen Maturin, chase a shipment of gold destined for Napoleon. The emperor has escaped from Elba and the gold would enable him to raise more troops.

  20. Blue in the Mizzen. Norton, 1999. 261 pages

    Napoleon has been defeated at Waterloo, and the ensuing peace brings with it both the desertion of nearly half of Captain Aubrey's crew and the sudden dimming of Aubrey's career prospects in a peacetime navy. When the Surprise is nearly sunk on her way to South America—where Aubrey and Stephen Maturin are to help Chile assert her independence from Spain—the delay occasioned by repairs reaps a harvest of strange consequences. The South American expedition is a desperate affair; and in the end Jack's bold initiative to strike at the vastly superior Spanish fleet precipitates a spectacular naval action that will determine both Chile's fate and his own.

  21. 21 : The Unfinished Twenty-First Novel. Norton, 2001. 141 pages

    Incommplete at O'Brian's death. The typescript of the third chapter ends mid-sentence, but the handwritten manuscript continues on to include a duel between Maturin and a romantic rival.


The Rendezvous. Norton, 1994. 247 pages

Twenty-seven short stories (1970-74) from the humorous to the dramatic, often providing a glimpse of savage, destructive forces through the fragile shell of human civilization. Contents: The return -- The happy despatch -- The dawn flighting -- Not liking to pass the road again -- The slope of the high mountain -- The little death -- The Passeur -- The tunnel at the frontier -- The path -- The walker -- The soul -- Lying in the sun -- Billabillian -- The rendezvous -- The stag at bay -- Samphire -- The clockmender -- The Chian wine -- The virtuous Peleg -- A passage of the frontier -- The voluntary patient -- The long day running -- On the bog -- The lemon -- The last pool -- The handmaiden -- On the Wolfsberg.



O'Connor, Patrick (1930- )

Across the Western. Houghton Mifflin, 1976. 182 pages

Novel, told in first-person format, of a merchant marine sailor's adventures aboard a clapped-out rustbucket, from its crossing to North America with a convoy in 1941, through its numerous breakdowns, requiring long port stays, to a climatic battle with a German surface raider on its voyage back to Britain.



O'Dell, Scott (1898-1989)

The Dark Canoe. Houghton Mifflin, 1968. 165 pages

Salvage and the novel Moby Dick merge as Queequeg's coffin is found by the younger brother, Nathan in the lagoon where his two older brothers, Jeremy and Caleb, are trying to salvage the sunken cargo of a whaler wrecked by the incompetence of one of the two, -- but which one? Young adult.



O'Hara, Patrick

The Luck of the Lonely Sea. D. McKay, 1965. 411 pages

UK title: The Wake of the Gertrude Lüth. Beached German finds himself in command of an ancient cargo steamer in the China Sea, survives fire, typhoon, stranding, commies, Nationalists, and beautiful girl.



Olsen, Robert I.

Torpedoes Away! Dodd, Mead, 1957. 247 pages

WW II in the Java Sea.



Olsen, T. V.

Brothers of the Sword. Berkley, 1962. 224 pages

Adventures of two viking brothers, pursued by the wolf-like Halfdan.



Olson, Sheree-Lee (1954- )

Sailor Girl. Porcupine's Quill, 2008. 285 pages

The Great Lakes serve as the setting for a story about the men and women who work upon them. 19 year old Kate, belying her contemporary suburban origins and current career as an art student, takes a summer job as porter / steward / galley assistant on a freighter. She proves equal to the challenge of life aboard the Lakers.



O'Neil, Davis

Distant Gunfire. Argus Better Book, 2013. 378 pages

Robert Graham, rising from the ranks to become the Captain of a British battleship by virtue of his dauntless leadership, displayed under enemy fire, finds himself a wealthy man as the capture of enemy ships resulted in rich rewards.


Captain Sir Martin Forest-Bowers KB series:

  1. Sailing Orders. W & B Publishers, 2013. 340 pages

    A mysterious spy(call me merely Mr. Smith)involves Martin in more activity in the shadowy world of spies and secret agents. Mainly a question of infiltrating and extricating agents, his involvement becomes more complex as time goes on. Why does the spymaster require of him, and what lies ahead?

  2. Quarterdeck. W & B Publishers, 2014. 372 pages

    Martin returns to work for 'plain Mr. Smith' with clandestine excursions and undercover trips to France. At sea once more, he is involved not only with preventing treasure ships from falling into French hands, but also with events on the east coast of America in the run-up to the war of 1812. .



O'Neill, Edward

The Rotterdam Delivery. Coward, McCann & Geoghegan, 1975. 285 pages

Diplomatic relations between Holland and her main Middle Eastern oil supplier "Al Tufiyah" are strained enough that when the Dutch naval attach in Dublin is approached by an Irish terrorist, at odds with his murderous colleagues for not being too happy about bombing innocent children, he agrees in the name of the Dutch Government to help seize an "Al Tufiyahn" super tanker as she makes her approach to the oil terminal at Bantry Bay and deliver the ship and her cargo to Rotterdam.



O'Neill, Eugene (1888-1953)

The Long Voyage Home : Seven Plays of the Sea. Random House, 1923. 217 pages

Collection of one acts from early in the playwright's career. The Moon of the Caribbees -- Bound east for Cardiff -- The Long Voyage Home -- In the Zone -- Ile -- Where the Cross is Made -- The Rope. The first four plays all take place on the merchant ship Glencairn


The Hairy Ape, a play in 8 scenes. 1922.

A brutal ship's stoker cannot relate to human or beast.


Children of the Sea, a play in one act. 1914.



Optic, Oliver [pseud. William T. Adams] (1822-1897)

The Boat Club, or, The Bunkers of Rippleton : a tale for boys. Lee and Shepard, 1854. 252 pages

The author uses a 12-oared gig; a boat which requires absolute coordination and cooperation from the rowers, to make the point that that groups in society need discipline. The Bunkers of the sub-title are a bunch of rebellious boys who make life miserable for many on the shores of an upstate New York Lake. After his son Frank has a run-in with the Bunker's, Captain Sedley, a retired and well-to do shipmaster, decides to form a boat club for his son and his friends. In the course of learning to row the boat, they learn cooperation, discipline and courage and, of course, manage to outdo the Bunker's with their undisciplined and rebellious ways. For young readers.


All aboard; or, Life on the lake. A sequel to "The boat club". Brown, Bazin, 1855. 256 pages

For young readers.


Outward Bound, or, Young America Afloat : a story of travel and adventure. Lee and Shepard, 1867. 336 pages

A local nabob decides that a school ship is just the thing for bringing discipline and order into the lives of some of the scions of rich families who have a contempt for authority. The ship is built and sets sail manned entirely by the boys with some veteran sailors for supervision. In something akin to The Lord of the Flies much of society's ills become manifested during the voyage; lies, deceit, treachery, even a planned mutiny! As he describes the machinations of the characters, one gains a truly detailed insight into the mind of the manipulator and the politician. For young readers.


The Yacht Club, or, The Young Boat-Builder. Lee and Shepard, 1874. 340 pages

A ripping good who-dun-it, taking place on Penobscot Bay. A really good introduction to sailing, boat-building and yacht racing for the young reader. And an excellent moral into the bargain. For young readers.



O'Rourke, Andrew P.

The Red Banner Mutiny. Bantam, 1986. 209 pages

Novel based on the true story of Soviet navy officer who steals the destroyer STOROZHEVOY and sails it toward Sweden and safety. Set in the 1970s.



Osborne, Anne (Joy Gould Boyum, Heather Barbash) (1934- )

Wind From the Main. Sandlapper Press, 1972. 261 pages

Novel based on the true story of pirate Anne Bonny.



O'Steen, Joseph L.(1950-2012)

Nathan Beauchamp of the Royal Navy series:

  1. Falcon's Revenge. Neetso in Association with Trafford, 2003. 231 pages

    The Peace of Amiens has ended, The Napoleonic Wars at Sea have begun and Lieutenant Nathan Beauchamp of the Royal Navy is ordered home for reassignment to the rebuilding fleet. As temporary first officer of the Brig HMS Sampson, Beauchamp captures the privateer cutter Bateuse, as the Sampson sinks beneath him. Now he must stop the French Pirate/Privateer Roseau from taking British merchant ships. Originally published on an Internet pirate role-playing site.

  2. Pursuit of Honor. JADA Press, 2004. 262 pages

    A former Dutch merchantman is taken into the Royal Navy, armed, and outfitted as a pirate raider. Commander Nathan Beauchamp is given command and ordered to the Spanish Florida Keys to prevent the San Pedro's treasure from falling into Irish hands.



Otis, James (1848-1912)

A Cruise With Paul Jones; a Story of Naval Warfare in 1778. A.L. Burt, 1898. 214 pages

Young David Carlton is picked up from a wreck at sea by the American sloop RANGER and becomes a powder monkey under the command of John Paul Jones and the friendly tutelage of boatswain Reuben Rollins. Jones harasses English shipping in the English Channel, burns the merchant fleet at Whitehaven and defeats the English sloop of war, DRAKE in the battle at Carrickfergus, all of which events are described here from young David's point of view.



Ott, Wolfgang (1923-2013)

Sharks and Little Fish. Pantheon, 1957. 451 pages

Translation of: Haie und Kleine fische. WW II novel set in German minesweepers and U-Boats.



Owen, John

The Shadow in the Sea. E. P. Dutton, 1972. 188 pages

British secret service vs. a Russian submarine.



Oxley, James Macdonald (1855-1907)

Diamond Rock : or, on the right track. T. Nelson, 1894. 302 pages

In this story for older boys His Majesty's frigate GRYPHON sails for the West Indies in 1804 with fourteen year old Dick Holden as a newly appointed midshipman. The fictional frigate puts British tars and guns on to the Diamond Rock to harass the French fleet off Martinique, a task in real life undertaken by HMS CENTAUR. Although they have eventually to surrender, Dick is a hero and as a compliment is chosen to serve with Nelson in HMS VICTORY and is present at Trafalgar.