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Nautical Fiction Index

Authors Pes - Pre

Pesci, David

Amistad : the thunder of freedom. Marlowe, 1997. 292 pages

Historical fiction based on the case of the Spanish coastal schooner AMISTAD ("friendship" in Spanish) which was carrying illegally-taken Africans from Havana to Puerto Principe when the slaves on board rebelled and took control of the ship, killing all but three of their captors. The Africans sailed eastward toward home during the day, but at night the Spaniards - the only ones on board who new any type of celestial navigation-sailed northward. AMISTAD eventually ended up off the coast of New York, where she was picked up by an American warship and taken to Connecticut. The subsequent salvage trial became a battle between abolitionists who wanted the Africans freed and returned to their homeland and the survivors of the AMISTAD's crew who wanted their ship and "cargo" returned. Steven Spielberg's movie is based on the same events.



Peyton, K. M. [Pseud. Kathleen Wendy Herald Peyton] (1929- )

Windfall. Oxford University Press, 1962. 201 pages

US title: Sea Fever. Sixteen year old boy becomes the sole breadwinner for his family after his father dies in a fishing accident, and the family's savings disappear overboard with dad. Through hard work, luck, and the newfangled sport of yatch racing he is able to redeem his family's finances, and defeat the individual who stole the family's fortune. Set in coastal England in the mid to late 1800s. A fun read.


North to Adventure. Collins, 1959. 192 pages

Boy accompanies his uncle on an Arctic expedition seeking a lost ship off the Greenland coast and uranium deposits in Greenland. During the course of this post-WW II adventure, they encounter pirates and find a lost treasure of gold. Treasure Island meets Sgt. Preston of the Yukon.



Pickering, Edgar

In Press-gang Days. Blackie & Son, 1893. 288 pages

Press gang abducts young gentleman in time for the Nore Mutiny and the Battle of the Nile.



Pilpel, Robert H. (1943- )

To the Honour of the Fleet. Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1979. 459 pages

Two men, one rich & cynical, the other guileless and honourable, are involved in the dramatic events leading up to the greatest sea battle in history: Jutland, 1916.



Plagemann, Bentz

All For the Best. Simon and Schuster, 1946. 226 pages

First person account of a doctor on a US Navy ship.


The Steel Cocoon. Viking, 1958. 246 pages

Life aboard the WW II destroyer AJAX whose routine is flawed by an officer-enlisted man gulf, autocratic actions, fatal accidents, and men going "Asiatic," even psychotic.



Poe, Edgar Allan (1809-1849)

The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket, ca. 1840.

Mutiny and murder.


A Descent into the Maelström. Graham's Magazine, May 1841.

Short story: A Norwegian fisherman relates how he got caught in the notorious whirlpool and survived. Collected in Prose Tales (1843).



Ponce de León, Napoléon Baccino

Five Black Ships: A Novel of The Discoverers. Harcourt Brace, 1994. 347 pages

Translation of: Maluco : la novela de los descubridores. This talented Uruguayan writer has created in this book a wonderful tale of ships and men using rich prose, earthly humor, and striking poetry. He looks into the lives of the real men and real events behind what the history books say, and he follows, like an artist, the marvelous story of the first circumnavigation of the globe. The epic is narrated by the fool of the fleet, Juanillo, a Jewish jester converted to Christianity during the Spanish inquisition.



Ponicsan, Darryl (1938- )

The Last Detail. Dial Press, 1970. 182 pages

Two SPs take sailor to Portsmouth Naval Prison, stop off for some fun on the way. Made into movie with Jack Nicholson and Randy Quaid.


Cinderella Liberty. Harper & Row, 1973. 179 pages

Classic Navy snafu: seaman's records are lost, so officially he doesn't exist. Made into movie with James Caan and Marsha Mason.


Last Flag Flying. Wright Press, 2005. 178 pages

Sequel to The Last Detail. The boy Billy and Mule escorted to prison has come back into their lives, now a grieving man of 52, with a gut-wrenching request they cannot deny. What follows is a retracing of their steps from 34 years before, a journey from Norfolk, Virginia, to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, on a mission as heart-breaking - and as exhilarating - as the first.



Pope, Dudley (1925-1997)

Nicholas Ramage series:

  1. Ramage. Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1965. 301 pages

    In 1796 third lieutenant Ramage of the frigate SIBELLA must complete a mission after the attack of a French 74 kills all the other officers.

  2. Ramage and the Drum Beat. Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1967. 270 pages

    U.S. title: Drumbeat. Lt. Ramage in command of KATHLEEN, cutter, captures a dismasted Spanish frigate, gets the KATHLEEN captured in turn, becomes a spy in Cadiz, then, escaping, is restored to command of the recaptured KATHLEEN, and helps Captain Nelson win the battle of Cape St. Vincent.

  3. Ramage and the Freebooters. Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1969. 384pages

    U.S. title: The Triton Brig. Ramage, given command of the 10-gun brig TRITON, must overcome a crew that has joined the Spithead Mutiny to take dispatches to the Caribbean. Once on station, he is given the task of finding why coastal freighters are disappearing as they sail from Grenada -- a puzzle whose solution has eluded two post captains.

  4. Governor Ramage R.N. Alison, 1973. 340 pages

    Ramage, aboard TRITON on convoy duty, thwarts sneaky French attack, encounters hellacious hurricane.

  5. Ramage's Prize. Alison, 1974. 344 pages

    Lieutenant Ramage is sent to find out what is happening to His Majesty's mail packets in 1798. Based on true incidents.

  6. Ramage and the Guillotine. Alison, 1975. 285 pages

    French-speaking Lt. Ramage, now 25, is off to France spy on Napoleon and the impending invasion of England.

  7. Ramage's Diamond. Alison, 1976. 307 pages

    Captain Ramage in the frigate JUNO attacks a French convoy off Martinique in 1802. Possibly the most fun of the series.

  8. Ramage's Mutiny. Alison, 1977. 232 pages

    Captain Ramage, now commanding the frigate CALYPSO, is given the impossible assignment to cut out a captured British frigate from a Spanish stronghold.

  9. Ramage and the Rebels. Alison, 1978. 287 pages

    Ramage and the CALYPSO pursue a ruthless, butchering French privateer in the West Indies.

  10. The Ramage Touch. Alison, 1979. 266 pages

    Ramage and the CALYPSO are sent into the Mediterranean to wreak havoc, but stumble onto a French invasion fleet.

  11. Ramage's Signal. Alison, 1980. 255 pages

    Ramage and CALYPSO continue their solo mission into the Mediterranean to confuse the French.

  12. Ramage and the Renegades. Alison, 1981. 285 pages

    Ramage and CALYPSO are off to the Caribbean to claim an island.

  13. Ramage's Devil. Alison, 1982. 255 pages

    Ramage is on his honeymoon in France when war breaks out again in 1803. He steals a ship and escapes.

  14. Ramage's Trial. Alison, 1984. 284 pages

    Ramage is assigned convoy duty, is attacked by another British ship, and then is accused of nasty crimes.

  15. Ramage's Challenge. Alison, 1985. 224 pages

    Ramage is back in the Mediterranean to rescue a group of influential British prisoners being held hostage by Napoleon.

  16. Ramage at Trafalgar. Alison, 1986. 214 pages

    Ramage and CALYPSO participate in the Battle of Trafalgar, where frigates aren't supposed to mix it up with the big boys.

  17. Ramage and the Saracens. Alison, 1988. 258 pages

    Ramage is off to Sicily in 1806 to deal with some Barbary Pirates.

  18. Ramage and the Dido. Alison, 1989. 243 pages

    Ramage is given command of the DIDO, 74, and sent to the West Indies. He racks up enemy warships like billiard balls, and is sent to Martinique, scene of his triumph's in Ramage's Diamond.


Buccaneer Ned Yorke series:

  1. Buccaneer. Secker & Warburg, 1981. 277 pages

    Because his family are Royalists, Ned Yorke is forced to flee his Barbados plantation with such retainers as choose to come with him. This includes the wife of the Parliamentarian planter who wants Yorke's estate. After trying his hand as a smuggler, Yorke joins forces with Cromwell's Royalist nephew as a buccaneer, goes to Jamaica, and helps the Parliamentarian governor of the island retain it from the Spanish.

  2. Admiral. Secker & Warburg, 1982. 309 pages

    Yorke returns to Jamaica following the death of Oliver Cromwell, becomes elected as Admiral of the Brethren of the Coast in Tortuga, leads the ships to Jamaica, and in an effort to forestall a Spanish invasion of Jamaica, leads highly successful raids on Provencia and Portobello.

  3. Galleon. Secker & Warburg, 1986. 257 pages

    A new, Royalist governor of Jamaica suspends the buccaneers' licenses. Yorke rescues his partner from the Spanish, and assists the French governor of St. Martin's to capture a Spanish treasure galleon which ran ashore and threatened the colony's chief town, but is unable to convince the new governor of the buccaneers' importance to Jamaica's safety

  4. Corsair. Secker & Warburg, 1987. 256 pages

    Yorke uncovers evidence of Spanish plans to invade Jamaica, but cannot convince Governor Luce of the threat until it is at hand. In the rare instances where the governor seeks assistance of the buccaneers, York leads reprisal raids against Cuba and the Spanish Main.


Convoy. Secker & Warburg, 1979. 355 pages

A Yorke in action against the German's in WW II. He unravels the secret of how the Germans are secretly attacking convoy ships from the inside of the convoy.


Decoy. Secker & Warburg, 1983. 265 pages

Yorke rides again to capture a German U-Boat for the new Enigma coding/decoding machine that the Germans are deploying.



Porter, Katherine Anne (1890-1980)

Ship of Fools. Little, Brown, 1962. 497 pages

On board the North German Lloyd S. A. VERA between Veracruz, Mexico and Bremenhaven, Germany August 22 to September 17, 1933. The 48 first-class passengers and the 900 Spaniards in steerage on a passenger-freighter crossing from Mexico to Germany in 1931 are traveling on a voyage of life.



Porter, William Ogilvie, MD (1774- 1850)

Sir Edward Seaward's Narrative of his Shipwreck and Consequent Discovery of Certain Island in the Caribbean Seas with a detail of many extraordinary and highly interesting events in his life, from the year 1733 to 1749, as written in his own diary. Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown, and Green, 1831. 3 volumes

Newly-wed Edward Seaward and his bride are shipwrecked on a desert island in the eastern Caribbean. Animated by devoutly Christian and anti-slavery ideals they found a flourishing colony, engage in high politics in London, participate in the conquest of Portobello, and repel Spanish attacks.



Porteous, R. S. (Richard Sydney) ("Standby") (1896-1963)

Little Known of these Waters. Dymock's Book Arcade, 1945. 250 pages


Sailing Orders. Dymock's Book Arcade, 1949. 205 pages

The Australian merchant ship HAICHOW carries troops and cargoes to combat areas during WW II. "Their crews risked their lives daily and took their ships without question wherever they were ordered. If they were killed, their dependents received no pension. If they survived they received no credit when they returned.... For were they not civilians? Men of peaceful occupations who wore no uniform and had taken no part in the fighting."


Close to the Wind and other stories. Angus and Robertson, 1955. 240 pages

Mostly set along the Queensland coast.


Tambai Island. Angus and Robertson, 1955. 178 pages

Children's book.


The Tambai Treasure. Angus and Robertson, 1958. 169 pages

Chidren's book.


Salvage and Other Stories. Harrap, 1963. 189 pages

Salvage; A deal with father; Finito; Shaggy Dodgson's Hour of Glory; Ebb tide; Fear; The Bad Bargain; Conscience; The Contest; Settled Out of Court; The Hard Way; Last Voyage.


The Silent Isles. Angus and Robertson, 1963. 160 pages

Children's book.



Posse, Abel (1934- )

The Dogs of Paradise. Atheneum, 1989. 301 pages

Cosmic novel with a surreal vision about the end of the 15th century, Columbus, Ferdinand & Isabella, Aztecs, Incas, and discovery of the Americas. Argentine author, translated from the Spanish: "Los perros del paraíso".



Pournelle, Jerry (1933-2017)

Paul Crane series

Set in the Seattle area - specifically in the college atmosphere. The protagonist is Paul Crane, a young consulting engineer drawn into CIA domestic operations by the twin lures of patriotism and a long-stemmed blond. Small boat sailing through the Straits of Juan de Fuca, north to Victoria and south to California along the Pacific Coast constitutes an important part of the plot. Originally published under the pseudonym "Wade Curtis."


  1. Red Heroin. Berkley, 1969. 160 pages
  2. Red Dragon. Berkley, 1971. 176 pages


King David's Spaceship. Simon and Schuster, 1980. 283 pages

Revised edition of A Spaceship for the King (1971). Middle section features a long stern chase between a sailing ship and a pirate galley.



Powers, Tim (1952- )

On Stranger Tides. Ace, 1987. 325 pages

Magic, voodoo, Blackbeard and the Fountain of Youth in this early 18th century pirate adventure by the author of the SF award winning The Anubis Gate. In 1718, John Chandagnac, a bookkeeper and puppeteer, unwittingly sails into the company of Blackbeard the pirate, encounters zombie-crewed wrecks, and is caught up in a search for the Fountain of Youth. Basis of the fourth "Pirates of the Caribbian" movie



Poyer, David C. (1949- )

"Tiller" Galloway series:

  1. Hatteras Blue. St. Martin's, 1989. 227 pages

    Tiller Galloway, ex-navy diver and ex- drug smuggler, takes on a job from a mysterious stranger to dive on the wreck of a WW II German sub. The original reason given was for the stranger to write about the adventure, the real reason was for the cargo... millions in gold headed to Argentina for the new Fatherland.

  2. Bahamas Blue. St. Martin's, 1991. 289 pages

    A job is offered to Tiller by the drug lord he used to smuggle for before he went to prison. The job was supposed to be to retreive cocaine from one of their boats sunk in 300 feet of water. When Tiller refuses, the cartel destroys his business, making him an offer he can't refuse.

  3. Louisianna Blue. St. Martin's, 1994. 309 pages

    Tiller, broke, heads to the Gulf with his partner to try to earn enough money to get his business going again, after its destruction by the drug lord in Bahamas Blue. He lands a job with an oil company, where everything is not as it seems.

  4. Down to a Sunless Sea. St. Martin's, 1996. 306 pages

    In Florida, diver Tiller Galloway probes the death of a friend, killed in an underwater cave dive. He discovers an operation by drug smugglers and gains a small fortune after a shootout.


Dan Lenson series:

  1. The Med. St. Martin's, 1988. 419 pages

    Dan Lenson, officer in USN faces personal crises as an incompetent admiral bungles rescue of American hostages held in Lebanon. The hostages include Lenson's wife and child.

  2. The Gulf. St. Martin's, 1990. 442 pages

    Dan Lenson, is the executive officer on a frigate in the Persian Gulf, assigned to convoy a succession of oil tankers through perilous waters. Lenson's shipmates include hard-living helicopter pilots, minor crooks, and idealistic young officers. Not far away, a group of divers, naval reservists, must battle the hostility of "real" sailors as they undertake a dangerous mission of their own. Lenson's physical and mental courage are sorely tried in the climactic scenes, where he battles enemies and the ocean itself.

  3. The Circle. St. Martin's, 1992. 432 pages

    For four years at Annapolis he prepared for this, pledging his youth, his ambition, and even his life. But when junior officer Dan Lenson finally gets his commission, it's the Ryan, an aging World War II destroyer. Now, with a mix of pride and fear, he heads into the world's most dangerous seas. As the Ryan plunges into the dark waters of the Arctic Circle at the height of storm season, Lenson and the crew pursue a mysterious and menacing enemy. But he soon discovers a foe even more dangerous within the Ryan, advancing a shocking agenda that drives the ship closer and closer to disaster. Preceeds events in The Med and The Gulf.

  4. The Passage. St. Martin's, 1994. 516 pages

    Dan Lenson, as a lieutenant, in action against a Soviet submarine, during the Cold War. Reporting to a destroyer based in Guantanamo Bay, Navy lieutenant Dan Lenson is caught up in a spy's plans and finds his destiny joined with those of a gay Commander, a right-wing patriot, and a pregnant Cuban.

  5. Tomahawk. St. Martin's, 1998. 384 pages

    In the wake of a collapsed marriage and three stressful tours at sea, Lieutenant-Commander Lenson is ordered to shore duty in Washington, D.C. There he finds he's been handpicked for a high-priority, top- secret assignment: design, test, and deploy Tomahawk missiles armed with nuclear warheads. But as Dan moves into the thick of top-level Pentagon politics, he realizes that the trouble-prone new missile has powerful enemies, determined to destroy it and him. Troubling leaks from the program seem to suggest a spy is at work, and Dan comes under suspicion.

  6. China Sea. St. Martin's, 2000. 368 pages

    The navy, ready to discard the U.S.S. GADDIS, asked Dan Lenson to ready the ship for a final voyage. Accompanied by a crew of misfits and brigrats, Lenson endures a journey filled with bungling allies, hurricanes, a cronic supply problem, and piracy. THe crew is ready to mutiny - the vagueness of his orders and a disgruntled executive officer have undermined Lenson's authority. And to top it all off, Lenson soon realizes that one of his crew is committing murders in every port.

  7. Black Storm. St. Martin's, 2002. 384 pages

    It is the eve of America's invasion of Iraq, and Saddam Hussein has threatened to attack Tel Aviv if a single tank enters his country. Though the United States has no intelligence on the type of location of the weapon, Naval Lieutenant-Commander Dan Lenson and a recon team of Marines and military professionals are ordered to eliminate the threat. After a crippling trek into the Iraqi desert, the team successfully locates the weapon in the underground tunnels of Baghdad, only to find that destroying it would unleash a horror more terrifying than anyone could have imagined.

  8. The Command. St. Martin's, 2004. 400 pages

    Stung by the recent Tailhook scandal, the Navy is accelerating its integration of women into all aspects of service, and the Horn will be the first warship laboratory to test this experiment. Entrenched opposition spans all ranks, although there are also plenty of sailors, like Lenson, who see this integration as the logical next step.

  9. The Threat. St. Martin's, 2006. 320 pages

    Medal of Honor winner Commander Dan Lenson wonders who proposed that he be assigned to the White House military staff. It's a dubious honor---serving a president the Joint Chiefs hate more than any other in modern history. Lenson reports to the West Wing to direct a multiservice team working to interdict the flow of drugs from Latin America. Never one to just warm a chair, he sets out to help destroy the Cartel - and uncovers a troubling thread of clues that link cunning and ruthless drug lord Don Juan Nuez to an assault on a nuclear power plant in Mexico, an obscure Islamic relief agency in Los Angeles, and an air cargo company's imminent flight plan across the United States.

  10. Korea Strait. St. Martin's, 2007. 336 pages

    After refusing a request that he take a medical retirement (after his political hot-potato adventures saving the president from assassination), Dan is less than pleased when he's put on the shelf and ordered to oversee a small crew of U.S. civilians and retired military personnel who will participate in an international training exercise off the Korean peninsula. But even before he comes aboard the South Korean frigate on which he and his team will be stationed, the discovery of a disabled North Korean submarine off the coast - and the lethal response of the survivors, trapped within - is the first clue he has that North Korea may have decided to plunge the world into nuclear war.

  11. The Weapon. St. Martin's, 2008. 368 pages

    When a new Russian rocket torpedo-a nuclear warhead that is fast and unstoppable-is tested at a Russian international arms conference, Dan and his team try to buy the weapon's engineering plans, but narrowly escape with their lives as their mission is betrayed. After Iran acquires the weapon for its dangerous military build up, the team is sent to steal it from the submarine that hides it.

  12. The Crisis. St. Martin's, 2009. 416 pages

    Dan and his team are assigned to 'transform' a patrol craft squadron in the Red Sea into a leaner, meaner Navy. Mean - while, in northern Africa, drought and famine have brought a nation to the brink of civil war. When the United States decides on intervention to stabilize the region, Dan and his team become the point people for the humanitarian mission. When a charismatic young jihadist coordinates a ferocious insur gency against the U.S. presence, Dan and his team must kill him in order to save thousands of lives.

  13. The Towers. St. Martin's, 2011. 320 pages

    After surviving the attacks on September 11, 2001, Dan Lenson finds himself quickly drawn into a covert SEAL team in search of the terrorists responsible. Their mission: kill Osama Bin Laden.


Civil War at Sea series:

  1. Fire on the Waters. Simon & Schuster, 2001. 445 pages

    The naval beginnings of the Civil War, with the focus on the efforts of the U.S.S. Owanee to provide support and relief as the union crumbles.

  2. A Country of Our Own. Simon & Schuster, 2003. 448 pages

    After fighting on the shores of the Potomac alongside the hastily mustered Army of Virginia, Lt. Ker Custis Claiborne, formerly of the United States Navy, runs the blockade out of New Orleans aboard a converted sidewheeler-turned-Confederate raider. He and his saturnine mentor, Captain Parker Trezevant, burn, sink, and destroy across the Caribbean, to undermine the Union's financial might and force a truce favorable to the Confeder

  3. That Anvil of our Souls : a novel of the Monitor and the Merrimack. Simon & Schuster, 2005. 414 pages

    Union naval engineer Theodorus Hubbard works on the Monitor and fire-eater Lomax Minter searched for spies working on the rival Merrimack, with the climactic March 1862 battle of the two ironclads (off Hampton Roads, Va.) looming.



Prechtl, Robert [pseud. Robert Friedlænder] (1874-1950)

Titanic. E.P. Dutton, 1940. 368 pages

Translation of Titanensturz : Roman eines Zeitalters. Prechtl's story has two overlapping strands. One focuses on the Titanic, the new wonder ship on her maiden voyage, Captain Smith and his officers, as well as a meddling J. Bruce Ismay. In the centre of the second strand of the novel is John Jacob Astor, who finds himself at a cross-road: Should he continue to amass riches just for their own sake, or employ his money and energy to create a better world? These two strands come together as Astor attempts to exploit Ismay's financial difficulties by forcing a further devaluation of shares of the shipping line, just 'White Star' here, and then acquiring a majority of them. With his novel Prechtl only uses those facts in his story that fitted with his concept and ignored the rest. Sometimes Prechtl's narrative is so far from the despised historical facts that it bears no resemblance to the story of the Titanic at all.



Preston, Douglas J. (1956- ) and Child, Lincoln (1957- )

Riptide. Warner, 1998. 417 pages

A high-tech search for a vast pirate treasure on an island off the coast of Maine. The island is owned by a doctor who fearfully joins with an exploration group in the quest to end centuries of mystery and uncover the supposed treasure, which is believed to lie in a watery pit on the small storm swept island. Many have previously ventured to the island to delve into the mystery of the water pit, with disasterous results in a number of instances.