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Nautical Fiction Index

Authors V

Vail, Jason

Lone Star Rising series:

  1. Lone Star Rising: The Voyage of the Wasp. Fireship, 2012. 304 pages

    The American rebellion has failed. George Washington is dead. The few surviving revolutionaries, led by Andrew Jackson, have fled to Spanish territories and the wasteland called Texas. But Jackson is not content to be a Spanish subject. He dreams large. Texas must be free and independent from the corrupt old empires of Europe. But with no army other than the Texas Rangers, and no navy, Texas has no hope of opposing the mighty forces of Spain. No hope, that is, until David Crockett meets an unemployed, sardonic naval officer named John Paul Jones II on the wharves at Baltimore. Together they buy and refit a broken down warship to become the first ship of the Texas Navy. With a handful of Crockett's men, the blessing of a voodoo queen, and a dubious crew of French pirates, they set sail to seize Spanish treasure and remake history in a ship called the Wasp.

  2. Lone Star Rising: T.S. Wasp and the Heart of Texas. Hawk, 2013. 328 pages

    British forces spread across the rebellious colonies, crushing all resistance now that George Washington is dead and the American army is dispersed. But defeat is merely a reckoning postponed. A few die-hards flee west into the Tennessee and the unsettled wilderness beyond the frontiers of British control, where after many years a leader arises among them, Andrew Jackson. Yet the British cannot ignore these upstarts, and Banastre Tarleton eventually arrives to crush them as well. Those who survive, lead by Jackson, escape into the Spanish Empire — to Texas. Still, even within the Empire the fugitives are not safe and free, for Spanish tyranny bears upon them. So Jackson and his friends pool their resources to buy a warship. Renamed the T.S. Wasp, they dispatch her to acquire guns for the Texas Army. On the way, Wasp finds more than they expected.



Vail, Philip, (1914-1988) [pseud. Noel B. Gerson]

The Sea Panther : a novel about the Commander of the U.S.S. Constitution. Dodd, Mead, 1962. 302 pages

William Bainbridge's exploits, from 1797 through his capture of the JAVA in 1812, interpreted in fiction of dubious accuracy. Bainbridge is given the capabilities of a comic book superhero -- regularly besting Royal Navy warships with a merchantman. Additionally, all American frigates are 44s -- including PHILADELPHIA, ESSEX, and CONSTELLATION -- and the Royal Navy frigate JAVA is transformed into a 64-gun ship of the line.



Van der Post, Laurens

The Hunter and the Whale : a tale of Africa. W. Morrow, 1967. 350 pages

Big game hunter and whaling captain trade pot shots at an elephant and a whale.



Van der Rol, Greta

Die a Dry Death. Dragon International Independent Arts, 2010. 338 pages

June 1629. Laden with treasure and the riches of Europe, the merchantman Batavia, flagship of the Dutch East India Company, sails on her maiden voyage from Amsterdam bound for the East Indies. But thirty miles off the coast of Terra Incognita Australis-the unknown south land-she smashes into an uncharted reef. The survivors-women and children, sailors, soldiers and merchants-are washed ashore on a pair of uninhabited, hostile islands, with little food or fresh water. Desperately seeking help, the ship's officers set out in an open boat to make a two-thousand-mile journey to the nearest trading post. While they are gone, from the struggle for survival on the islands, there emerges a tyrant whose brutal lust for power is even deadlier than the reef which wrecked the Batavia.



Van Zwienen, John

Pivot. Jove, 1980. 246 pages

Germans mount an effort to hit the Empire State Building with a V-2 launched from a U-Boat. The expedition experiences difficulties due to production bottlenecks, denial of reality by the senior leaders in 1944-45, cronyism, and mysticism -- a combination which makes allied forces trivial by comparison.


China Clipper. Paradise, 1983. 319 pages

Potboiler set in the 1840s-1860s centering on the exploits of an American seafaring and shipbuilding family, a renegade Englishman, and a nymphomaniac who starts out the novel as the wife of a clipper captain, then becomes acting captain when her husband falls ill. Between bedroom scenes, the story has lots of seagoing action examining the impact of the introduction of the clipper and the steamship in commercial shipping.



Vane, Conrad

Foreign spies : Doctor Doom and the ghost submarine, an international spy story. Whitman, 1939. 424 pages

A Better Little Book: half text, half pictures.



Vanner, Antoine

The Dawlish Chronicles:

  1. Britannia's Wolf: September 1877 - February 1878. CreateSpace, 2013. 414 pages

    1877 and the Russo-Turkish War is reaching its climax. A Russian victory will pose a threat for Britain's strategic interests. To protect them an ambitious British naval officer, Nicholas Dawlish, is assigned to the Ottoman Navy to ravage Russian supply-lines in the Black Sea. In the depths of a savage winter, as Turkish forces face defeat on all fronts, Dawlish confronts enemy ironclads, Cossack lances and merciless Kurdish irregulars and finds himself a pawn in the rivalry of the Sultan's half-brothers for control of the collapsing empire.

  2. Britannia's Reach: November 1879 - April 1880. CreateSpace, 2014. 346 pages

    In 1880, on a broad river in the heart of South America, a flotilla of paddle steamers thrashes slowly upstream, laden with troops, horses and artillery, intent on conquest and revenge. Ahead lies a commercial empire that was wrested from a British consortium in a bloody revolution. Now the investors are determined to recoup their losses and are funding a vicious war to do so. Nicholas Dawlish, an ambitious British naval officer, is playing a leading role in the expedition. And Dawlish finds himself forced to make a terrible ethical choice if he is to return to Britain with some shreds of integrity remaining

  3. Britannia's Shark: April - September 1881. Old Salt Press, 2014. 354 pages

    A personal tragedy has drawn Dawlish yet closer to his beloved wife Florence and in its aftermath they welcome the opportunity to combine his duty to observe trials of a new weapon in the Adriatic with an idyllic holiday together. Neither suspects that they are about to be drawn into a nightmare. Daring and initiative have already bought Dawlish rapid advancement in the Royal Navy and he hungers for more. But can the price be too high, not just for himself but for the woman he loves?

  4. Britannia's Spartan: June 1859. April - August 1882. Old Salt Press, 2015. 354 pages

    A new balance of power is emerging in the Far East. Imperial China, weak and corrupt, is challenged by a rapidly modernising Japan, while Russia threatens from the north. They all need to control Korea, a kingdom frozen in time and reluctant to emerge from centuries of isolation. Dawlish finds himself a critical player in a complex political powder keg. He must take account of a weak Korean king and his shrewd queen, of murderous palace intrigue, of a powerbroker who seems more American than Chinese and a Japanese naval captain whom he will come to despise and admire in equal measure.

  5. Britannia's Amazon: April - August 1882. Old Salt Press, 2016. 284 pages

    An unexpected incident brings Florence Dawlish into brutal contact with the squalid underside of complacent Victorian society. With her personal loyalties challenged to the limit, and conscious that her persistence in seeking justice may damage her ambitious husband’s career, not to mention the possibility of prison for herself, Florence is drawn ever deeper into a maelstrom of corruption and violence. The enemies she faces are merciless and vicious, their identities protected by guile, power and influence.

  6. Britannia's Gamble: March 1884 - February 1885. Old Salt Press, 2017. 318 pages

    1884 - a fanatical Islamist revolt is sweeping all before it in the vast wastes of the Sudan and establishing a rule of persecution and terror. Only the city of Khartoum holds out, its defence masterminded by a British national hero, General Charles Gordon. His position is weakening by the day and a relief force, crawling up the Nile from Egypt, may not reach him in time to avert disaster. But there is one other way of reaching Gordon.



Vaughan, Carter A. (1914-1988) [pseud. Noel B. Gerson]

The Yankee Brig. Doubleday, 1960. 258 pages

Seven Years War adventure. Boston skipper takes a brig to sea as a privateer fighting the French while facing the opposition of the Royal Navy commodore in command in Boston.


Dragon Cove. Doubleday, 1964. 248 pages

Probably written earlier. A band of Providence, RI, rebels led by Captain Jonathan Sherwood, strike at the British from their secret base in Dragon Cove. Among other adventures, they blow up a British 74 in port, steal a merchantman, use that as springboard to steal a British sloop-of-war, then take to the seas around Providence to give the British grief.



Vercel, Roger (1894-1957)

Tides of Mont St.-Michel. Random House, 1938. 305 pages

Translation of "Sous le pied de l'archange".



Verne, Jules (1828-1905)

Jules Verne's Twenty thousand leagues under the sea : the definitive unabridged edition based on the original French texts. Naval Institute Press, 1993. 392 pages

A new translation which corrects the many errors, mistranslations, and bogus additions of the English versions previously available and restores nearly a quarter of Verne's original text that was cut from that version of the adventures of Captain Nemo and his marvelous submarine NAUTILUS.


The Mysterious Island. Modern Library, 2001. 629 pages

A new translation. Five Union prisoners escaping in a balloon from the siege of Richmond set down on the shores of an uncharted island.


Captain Grant's Children or, In search of the castaways. Gloria Mundi, 2009. 379 pages

Lord Glenarvan, Scots aristocrat, liberal and owner of the big steam/sail yacht DUNCAN, finds in the sea a bottle with a document telling about a shipwreck that mentions the name of the ship's captain - Grant. Unfortunately, part of information related to the location of shipwreck was destroyed by the sea water and Glenarvan only could get the latitude: 37 degrees and some minutes. He also knew that it was the Southern Hemisphere. He gets familiar with the two children of the captain and decides to search their father, having many adventures on the way, including meeting a character who later plays a part in Verne's The Mysterious Island.


The extraordinary journeys : the adventures of Captain Hatteras. Oxford University Press, 2005. 402 pages

The novel, set in 1861, described adventures of British expedition led by Captain John Hatteras to the North Pole. Hatteras is convinced that the sea around the pole is not frozen and his obsession is to reach the place no matter what. Mutiny by the crew results in destruction of their ship but Hatteras, with a few men, continues on the expedition. On the shore of the island of "New America" he discovers the remains of a ship used by the previous expedition from the United States.


The Blockade Runners. Sampson Low, Marston & Co, 1891. 120 pages

The exploits of James Playfair who must break the Union blockade of the harbour of Charleston in South Carolina to trade supplies for cotton and, later in the book, to rescue the father of a young girl held prisoner by the Confederates. Verne's tale was inspired by reality as many ships were actually lost while acting as blockade runners in and around Charleston in the early eighteen sixties.



Verrill, Alpheus Hyatt (1871-1954)

The Deep Sea Hunters. D. Appleton, 1922. 241 pages

The old derelict sailing ship HECTOR is repaired and fitted out for a voyage to South Shetlands to obtain sea-elephant oil for the WW I war effort.


The Deep Sea Hunters in the frozen seas. D. Appleton, 1923. 262 pages


The Deep Sea Hunters in the South Seas. D. Appleton, 1924. 265 pages



Vidal, Gore (1925-2012)

Williwaw. E.P. Dutton, 1946. 222 pages

Storm in the Aleutian islands takes a tremendous physical and mental toll on a ship's company.



Villars, Elizabeth

The Normandie affair. Doubleday, 1982. 319 pages

Life at sea on a 1935 sailing from New York to Southampton aboard the Normandie, most glamorous of the luxury liners.



Villiers, Alan (1903-1982)

Whalers of the Midnight Sun : a story of modern whaling in the Antarctic. Charles Scribner's Sons, 1934. 285 pages

Children's sea story


Great Sea Stories: A Seaman's Selection of Great Sea Stories. Dell, 1959. 255 pages

Contents: Youth / Joseph Conrad -- The reluctant hero / William Mcfee -- "Seventy-two days without a port" / Joshua Slocum -- Easting down / F.C. Hendry -- The captain of the Ullswater / Morley Roberts -- Ordeal / Angus Macdonald -- The boat journey / Sir Ernest Shackleton --The captains from Ilhavo / Alan Villiers -- A frigid reception / Sir James Bisset -- Christmas day on the high seas / Felix Riesenberg -- Skipper next to God /Jan de Hartog -- The advantages of seafaring / Kenneth Hardman -- First deck landing / Hugh Popham -- The character of the foe / Joseph Conrad.



Vignoles, Keith H.

Dick Burgess of Bosham. I. Harrap, 1976. 144 pages

Young Dick works for his father who mixes a bit of smuggling in with his fishing. They are ambushed by Custom officers but Dick manages to evade capture. French agents assisted by some locals are preparing for Napoleon's imminent invasion and Dick, at great risk, is able to help in unmasking traitors amongst the local community in 1803.


A Prisoner of Portchester. I. Harrap, 1977. 127 pages

Two French POWs escape from Portchester Castle (situated at the north end of Portsmouth Harbour) in 1808 and hope to use the long established escape route to return to France. Two young lads become involved when they discover a wounded man near their home.


Portsmouth Point. I. Harrap, 1984. 95 pages

A naval adventure set in 1814 with plenty of local interest thrown in - a young lad has no future ashore in Portsmouth and finds himself aboard a Royal Navy schooner, Dick Burgess (from the first novel) is a leading hand, and they are involved in an action against an American schooner off Ireland.



Vollmann, William T. (1959- )

The Rifles. Viking, 1994. 411 pages

Fictionalized recreation of the disastrous last voyage of Sir John Franklin with the bomb ketches EREBUS and TERROR in 1845 searching for the Northwest Passage. Volume six of the author's series "Seven Dreams: A Book of North American Landscapes" about the settlement of North America and the conflicts between natives and settlers.



Vorhies, John Royal

Pre-empt. H. Regnery, 1967. 220 pages

Done up in a series of reports, articles, tapes, letters and editorials, it traces the events leading to the impeachment of the President of the U.S. It all starts with a message from the S.S. Nathan Hale, a submarine with enough bombs aboard to make it the sixth nuclear power. Captain Hawk of the Hale, demands that all nations with atomic weapons turn them over to the control of an international committee and he emphasizes his point by launching first a bomb into a relatively unpopulated area in the U.S. hinterlands, then ditto into Russia. The hot lines sizzle as the world tries to track down the renegade sub.