The Last Mayday.
Doubleday, 1968. 333 pages
A novel about an American nuclear
submarine, a former Russian Premier, and an international crisis.
White, James Dillon [pseud. Stanley
Heinemann, 1954. 229 pages
Novelization of the film comedy of same name (U.S. title High and Dry).
The Tall Ship.
Heinemann, 1958. 271 pages
A battered old sailing ship attempts to
run the blockade of the Royal Navy.
Kelso joins the East Indiaman Shropshire
as fourth mate, with a brutal, drunken captain who terrorises the crew and brings
the ship to a state of mutiny.
Commander Kelso commands the frigate
Paragon of the Honourable East India Company's Marine during the Seven Years
In this readable stand-alone story an
India Company Marine ship is wrecked off the Amirantes. Kelso picks
up dying survivors and hopes to keep secret that there was treasure
in the ship. There is little chance of doing this in Bombay in the
1750s. His search for the treasure attracts the unwelcome attentions
of a notorious French pirate who, with his Angrian allies, shadow
Kelso in his frigate, the PARAGON, hoping he will lead them to it.
Kelso's young Indian mistress has stowed herself onboard and helps
him alleviate the hardships of the voyage. A giant stranger has
joined the ship as a seaman in peculiar circumstances and somebody is
helping the pirates.
Kelso commands the frigate PARAGON of
the Bombay Marine. Off the Malabar coast Kelso retakes an East India
Company ship from pirates and although he rescues the Commodore's
young daughter, who falls hopelessly in love with him, and falls foul
of a sadistic major of marines, the worst of his problems stem from
his love of Margaret Clive - his friend's wife - when the East India
Company with the assistance of the Royal Navy embarks on a strategy
to eliminate the pirate menace. Rear-Admiral Charles Watson, the
Royal Navy C-in-C, was a real person as of course was Robert Clive
and it appears that the author now starts to follow the events of
British Indian history.
This story opens with Calcutta being
seized by the Nawab of Bengal in 1756. It was he who placed his
British captives in the Black Hole. Kelso is still obsessed by
Margaret Clive - and she still hates Kelso for encouraging her
husband in his military undertakings. In spite of the presence of the
Royal Navy and units of the British Army it is Kelso's intuition and
initiative which enables the British to soundly defeat the errant
Nawab and at the same time frustrate the French. The author avoids
being bogged down with excessive detail in this readable adventure
set against the backdrop of Anglo-Indian history at the start of the
Seven Years War (1756-1763).
After a fierce battle with the French
ship of the line Lyon, Captain Kelso and his frigate Paragon arrive at Bombay.
There is already a new order waiting for him, and on behalf of the East India
Trading Company that wants to build another British base, he sails toward Iran -
just like the Lyon.
It is the late 1750's and Roger Kelso is
made Commodore of the Bombay Marine, much to the chagrin of a rival
captain who has married his friend Lady Susan Verity. This means he
must leave his beloved PARAGON and raise his pennant in PROTECTOR
(44). To make matters worse Kelso falls in love with Lady Susan, his
rival's wife, and the French and the Dutch want to dislodge the
British and possess India themselves. Clive with the assistance of
his friend Kelso must thwart their enemies without and
This story begins in 1760 with Kelso
marrying Lady Susan (he is her third husband!) in Bombay during a
lull in the war with France. The honeymoon is brought to an abrupt
end when from his marriage bed Kelso spots an attacking pirate fleet.
Kelso is captured but he is released because of his new wife's
ability to turn a fate worse than death to an advantage. Lady Susan
wants to make money out of India, much to her husbands disgust, so
while she exploits the natives he attempts to eliminate the pirate
After the defeat of France and Holland
two French warships ally themselves to the Mahrattan pirates and
threaten the prosperity of India. Commodore Kelso of the Bombay
Marine has to deal with this threat. To aggravate the situation,
Kelso's wife Susan, on her way to England in disgrace, has been
captured by the pirates.
White, Leslie Turner (1903-1967)
Crown, 1949. 308 pages
Leader of London's underworld in the
hanging, goes to sea as pirate, captures ship and heads for New York.
Sword of the North.
Pegma, 1983. 400 pages
Scots/Norse voyage to New England in the
White, Robb (1909-1990)
Three Against the Sea.
Harper & Bros., 1940. 416
Sea stories for children set in the West
The Lion's Paw.
Doubleday, 1946. 243 pages
The story of two runaway orphans who
help a teenage boy
sail his father's sailboat from Brunswick, Georgia to Sanibel Island,
Florida to prevent it from being sold by an uncle who believes the
father dead after being MIA in the Pacific at the close of WW II. The
boy believes that if he finds a particular sea shell, a lion's paw, his
father will come back to him. "It was a great boy's story to read
growing up in the '50s." [AW]
Doubleday, 1947. 243 pages
Young naval officer seeks SANTA YBEL, a
treasure ship with the aid of a waterfront urchin. For young
Doubleday, 1956. 251 pages
How Ken Braden, lieutenant junior grade,
and the submarine 'Shark' went 3,000 miles through Japanese-infested Pacific
waters to steal a code from an enemy-held island. For young
Doubleday, 1961. 215 pages
Young American naval officer serves as a
pilot at Midway, then following injuries that take him off flight
status, becomes a coastwatcher during the Solomons campaign. For Young
Torpedo Run: Mutiny and Adventure Aboard a Navy PT
Boat During World
War II. Doubleday, 1962. 183
A tightly knit torpedo boat team
operating off the New Guinea coast faces splintering loyalties and possible mutiny
when their captain is killed and his replacement turns out to be an ignorant
martinette fresh from stateside officers' school. For young
Silent Ship, Silent Sea.
Doubleday, 1967. 232 pages
USN destroyer CANON, desperately wounded
in opening battles off Guadacanal faces a 1000 mile voyage through
enemy-controlled waters to reach safety. Based loosely on the events
surrounding the loss of the JARVIS.
Doubleday, 1973. 239 pages
Four misfits from the navy UDT school
sent to the Pacific for a priority, secret mission. They are to aid a
Nissei graduate of the USNA solve the mystery of Japanese mines
blocking access to an invasion beach days before the invasion is set to
take place. Occurs 1944-45. Young adult book.
Captain Jethro Cockerill ("Cocky") Penhaligon
The year is 1800. "Cocky" Penhaligon is
given command of the 32-gun frigate AVENGER by Horatio Nelson.
Penhaligon is assigned the task of destroying the French 74 GIRONDE,
which is preying on British shipping in the Med.
The daughter of the admiral commanding
Minorca elopes with Penhaligon. The admiral, angered, orders the
AVENGER to the Western Med to harass French shipping. To eliminate
the nuisance, the French send a squadron after him.
Captain Penhaligon and AVENGER escort
a convoy of East Indiamen to Madeira, fight French and Spanish.
White, Stewart Edward (1873-1946)
Doubleday, Page, 1925. 286
A novel about a weathy disillusioned
young veteran who discovered a man who calls himself a Healer of Souls. They make
an agreement in which the veteran must do everything the Healer of Souls tells him
to do without question, unless he is morally opposed, for a period of three
months. If he is not "cured" by then, he will owe the Healer of Souls $10,000.00.
If he is "cured", he will owe him nothing. They set out on an adventure from
Vancouver in the Healer's yacht.
War of 1812 Trilogy (Isaac
Isaac Biggs of Marblehead,
Massachusetts, sails from Boston as captain of the foretop aboard the bark Anne,
bound for St. Barts in the West Indies in the fall of 1810. When the Anne is
stopped by a British Royal Navy frigate, Isaac and several shipmates are forcibly
pressed into service on the Orpheus, actively engaged in England's long-running
war with France. The young Isaac faces the harsh life of a Royal Navy seaman and a
harrowing war at sea. His new life is hard, with strange rules, floggings, and new
dangers. Then the United States declares war on England and Isaac finds himself in
an untenable position, facing the possibility of fighting his own
Isaac Biggs ships as Third Mate on the
Salem privateer General Washington in February 1813. At the same time, his friends
from the British frigate Orpheus and the Baltimore schooner Glory find berths on
the American warship USS Constellation and, eventually, they wind up on the USS
Chesapeake in Boston just in time for her disastrous meeting with HMS Shannon.
Throughout the spring of 1813, Isaac and the General Washington roam the waters
between Massachusetts and Nova Scotia, taking prizes and harassing the British.
When the American survivors of the Chesapeake / Shannon battle are confined in
Melville Island Prison in Halifax, the General Washington and Isaac play an
important role in securing their freedom.
The year is 1814, the final year of the
War of 1812. With the Atlantic seaboard closed by the blockade, the action shifts
to Joshua Barney's gunboats where Isaac and Jack Clements find themselves
commanding sloop rigged raiders assisting the effort in Maryland. They witness the
British landing at Benedict MD and the burning of our capital. Sent to Baltimore
to assist with the preparations for the expected British invasion, they witness
the bombardment of that city and the writing of the Star Spangled
14 year-old midshipman Oliver Baldwin
tells the story of fighting with the corsairs of the Barbary Coast from the deck
of Captain Stephen Decatur's ship as the young man, like the young nation he
represents, struggles to find his way on the course to manhood. Gunboat battles,
duels, and storms encourage his personal growth and challenge his maturity as he
learns his role as an officer-in-training of the United States
Oliver Baldwin, recently back from the
Barbary Wars, sets sail in the U.S. frigate Chesapeake on a routine patrol. The
patrol becomes anything but routine when the ship is confronted by the 50-gun HMS
Leopard outside the Virginia Capes. Commodore James Barron refuses the British
captain's orders to produce Royal Navy deserters, and the Leopard fires into the
American frigate with disastrous results. Following the ensuing court-martial, a
new captain takes command of Chesapeake to enforce the Jeffersonian Embargoes on
the Atlantic seaboard, with Oliver Baldwin still in his crew. Baldwin’s adventures
continue, encountering more ships of the Royal Navy, going to battle with the HMS
Macedonian, and, ultimately, witnessing the actual beginnings of the War of
Most people are aware of the story of
the Mutiny on the Bounty. Few, however, know what happened to the mutineers. They
did not all sail to Pitcairn Island; indeed only nine of them did, leaving sixteen
in Tahiti by their own choice. The Royal Navy was not about to let them remain at
large and sent an armed frigate, HMS Pandora, to the Pacific to capture
them and return them to England for trial.
In February 1794 ten ships, nine
merchants and a Royal Navy frigate, wrecked on the reef at the east end of Grand
Cayman Island. They were part of a convoy of fifty-eight ships that had left
Jamaica only a few days prior and were bound for North America and England. Edward
Ballantyne returns to tell the story of this disastrous event, still well-known in
Cayman lore and, while the bones of the wrecked ships are no longer visible,
several cannon from the Royal Navy frigate, HMS Convert can be found in the
front yards of homes along the bluff above Gun Bay.
Wibberley, Leonard (1915-1983)
In 1769, just after his pro-Royalist
father has sailed for England on business, 11 year-old Peter Treegate of Boston
unwittingly becomes involved in a dock murder. Fleeing arrest he takes refuge on
an American cargo ship which is subsequently wrecked off the the South Carolina
coast. Peter is rescued by a Scotsman who, in 1775, helps him rejoin his father,
now an embattled American patriot, ready to fight at Bunker
Peter attempts to resolve the conflict
between his loyalty to his real father and the Scottish clansman who has fostered
Peace of God Manly, now in France
with the brig-rigged sloop-of-war HORNET, takes to the seas against
Perfidious Albion in 1777-78, to attack sink, and capture all British
vessels found -- except fishing smacks -- as part of Franklin's
efforts to encourage the French to enter the war on the side of the
Colonials. The book has numerous historical innaccuracies -- e.g., a
Royal Navy Captain "purchasing" his commission -- but is a fun read,
Peter Treegate and the sea captain,
Peace of God Manly, finish out the war at Yorktown and return to Salem,
Massachusetts, and a reunion with the sea captain's daughter.
Manly Treegate accompanies his uncle on
trip to Norfolk, and is captured and pressed into service as a
powderboy on HMS LEOPARD. Presumably takes place in period between
1806 and 1812. Young adult.
Peter Treegate, now in his sixties, and
shipowner, goes to England in period immediately preceeding War of
1812 for economic and political talks aimed at averting the war.
Meanwhile, his nephew Manly strikes out for the Northwest Territory
where he becomes involved in the fighting involving Tecumseh. Young
adult. Not primarily nautical, but part of a nautical
Manly Treegate commands USN brig WILD
the War of 1812. With his brother Peter as a member of his crew, they
act against British shipping in the West Indies, and join uncle Peter
Treegate -- that 's right there are two Peter Treegates in this novel
-- a US Army major to help Andrew Jackson repulse the British at the
Battle of New Orleans. Concluding novel in series.
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1972. 165
Inspired by, and somewhat a sequel to,
TREASURE ISLAND. The New England brig JANE stops at an island to repair
storm damage. The island turns out to be Treasure Island, and they find
Long John Silver, who has found Captain Flint's buried treasure. Mutiny
and murder follow. For younger readers.
The Coast of Loneliness.
Deutsch, 1971. 236 pages
Set in 1950. An attempt to board a Second
World War freighter aground off the Skeleton Coast of South West Africa
to retrieve hidden valuables makes this a nautical novel, although the
ship is boarded from the shore by a line attached to the ship, by
dropping a grapple from an old Junkers aircraft.
Wilkins, Vaughan (1890-1959)
Being Met Together.
Macmillan, 1944. 510 pages
"Even Napoleon didn't believe it--but it was
true! The British held Napoleon a prisoner on St. Helena... If only
someone could invent a boat that would sail under the sea-- Then the
Emperor could be rescued. So someone did! The most unusual escape story
of all time." Reprinted under the title Napoleon's Submarine.
Willans, Geoffrey (1911-1958)
Admiral on Horseback.
Michael Joseph, 1954. 256
In three parts; the middle part has the
Stangeways Foxe-Forsyth, (Yes its that sort of book!) as a commander
having his ships war damage repaired in the States in 1941. In the
first section (1952) he is the admiral in command of a British carrier
strike group having trouble with his own government, SHAPE and the
Americans. The last part (1952-1954) finds him sharing the
Mediterranean with a giant American fleet under his US admiral friend.
A story of changing times.
Williams, Ben Ames (1889-1953)
The Strumpet Sea.
Houghton Mifflin, 1938. 338
Three men seek one woman aboard the
VENTURER in the South Seas.
Thread of Scarlet.
Houghton Mifflin, 1939. 374
"Lusty saga of one man against angry
War of 1812.
Williams, Charles (1909-1975)
The Sailcloth Shroud.
Viking, 1960 188 pages
Charter boat skipper finds himself in a
when one of his crew dies of a heart attack off Central America and the
other is murdered in a Texas port. Raymond Chandleresque
Viking, 1963. 188 pages
A young couple alone on their honeymoon
yacht in mid
Pacific rescue another voyager from his sinking yacht after burying his
wife and another couple dead from food poisoning, leading to unexpected
consequences. This thriller was filmed in 1989.
And the Deep Blue Sea.
New American Library, 1971. 191
A shipwrecked sailor is picked up by a
mystery cruise ship up to no good.
Cassell, 1979. 304 pages
Convoy HX-114 assembles off the east
begin its dash to Britain. Aboard one of the Liberty ships the radio
operator is a German agent who has on his person the American battle
order for Operation Torch (The invasion of North Africa). Meanwhile in
London at the Admiralty Tracking Station, from where the Battle of the
Atlantic is controlled, the civil service trade union is working to
rule because of the introduction of a WREN onto the staff. At the
U-boat Operations Centre in Paris an intelligence windfall ensures that
a trap will be set.
Dell, 1964. 189 pages
Sequel to Mr. Roberts featuring
Novelization of the movie by the same name.
Williams, Jon [pseud. Walter Jon
Williams] (1953- )
Privateers and Gentlemen
Malachi, Jehu, and Josiah Markham as
privateers in the Revolution. Original title: To Glory
Josiah's son Gideon Markham's adventures
privateer in the ship MALACHI'S REVENGE at the begining of the War of
1812. Original title: The Tern Schooner.
The exploits of Favian Markham -- Jehu
son -- as a midshipman and officer aboard Decatur's frigate UNITED
STATES and commanding the brig EXPERIMENT in British home waters.
Original title: Brig of War.
Favian Markham, now a captain, USN,
MACEDONIAN -- the frigate he helped capture -- on a cruise against
the British in 1814.
Gideon and Favian Markham battle the
New Orleans and The Gulf of Mexico at the end of the War of 1812.
Williams, Naomi J. (1964- )
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2015. 315
Reimagines the historical Lapérouse
expedition, a voyage of exploration that left Brest in 1785 with two frigates,
more than two hundred men, and overblown Enlightenment ideals and expectations, in
a brave attempt to circumnavigate the globe for science and the glory of France.
Each chapter is told from a different point of view and is set in a different part
of the world, ranging from London to Tenerife, from Alaska to remote South Pacific
islands to Siberia, and eventually back to France.
The Shenandoah Affair.
Hodder & Stoughton, 1992. 394
A maritime historical romance based on
factual visit of the successful Confederate raider SHENANDOAH (James
Waddell) to the port of Melbourne, Australia for repairs during the
Civil War. A bodice-ripper complete with embossed title and a purple
cover that matches the prose within, featuring a Scarlet O'Hara-like
character abducted from one of the Union ships Waddell sinks.
Williams, Walter Jon (1953- )
Saga Press 2017. 530
The picaresque adventures of the eponymous protagonist in a vaguely Elizabethan fantasy universe. There are a few sections covering Quillifer's career as a privateer. First of a planned six book series.
Houghton Mifflin, 1951. 314
Four-piper destroyer is assigned to
Hunter-Killer carrier group in the Atlantic during 1943. Told first
person from point of view of one officer.
Willis, Connie (1945- )
Passage. Bantam, 2001. 594 pages
How the biologcal purpose of near death
experiences (NDEs) is just like the sinking of the Titanic.
Daedalus and the Deep.
Fireship Press, 2013. 262
For Midshipman Colyer of the corvette
HMS Daedalus, life is a constant struggle: savage pirates in the South
China Sea, an erratic Captain, and a First Lieutenant guarding a personal secret.
But the voyage of the Daedalus takes a stranger turn when the ship
encounters a giant sea-serpent in the South Atlantic, and is plunged into a
headlong pursuit of the creature in the name of science, personal glory, and the
promise of fortune. But as the quest leads further into the cold wastes of the
Southern Ocean, becoming ever more dangerous, Colyer begins to wonder just who is
hunting whom? The sea-serpent's purpose could turn out to be more sinister than
anyone on board the Daedalus imagined.
Willoughby, Lee Davis (Group
Dell, 1983. 285 pages
Life among New England whalers and
whaling families. Making of America no.37.
Dell, 1983. 319 pages
Confederate captain and crew of
become fugitives at end of the Civil War, flee to the Caribbean for
love and adventure. Making of America no.42.
Dell, 1984. 317 pages
Confederate captain aboard steam/sail
DANCER harasses Union shipping, gets pursued by new armored
paddlewheeler. Making of America no.52.