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Nautical Fiction Index

Authors Wh - Will

Wheeler, Keith

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 White] (1913-1978)

The Maggie. 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.


Roger Kelso series:

  1. Young Mister Kelso. Hutchinson, 1963. 255 pages

    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.

  2. Kelso of the 'Paragon'. Hutchinson, 1969. 224 pages

    Commander Kelso commands the frigate Paragon of the Honourable East India Company's Marine during the Seven Years War.

  3. A Spread of Sail. Hutchinson, 1975. 192 pages

    In this readable stand-alone story an East 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.

  4. Brave Captain Kelso. Hutchinson, 1959. 223 pages

    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.

  5. Captain of Marine. Hutchinson, 1960. 208 pages

    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).

  6. The Princess of Persia. Hutchinson, 1961. 223 pages

    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.

  7. Commodore Kelso. Hutchinson, 1967. 223 pages

    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 within.

  8. A Wind in the Rigging. Hutchinson, 1973. 256 pages

    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 threat.

  9. Fair Wind to Malabar. Hutchinson, 1978. 194 pages

    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)

Lord Johnnie. Crown, 1949. 308 pages

Leader of London's underworld in the 1750s escapes hanging, goes to sea as pirate, captures ship and heads for New York.



White, Richard

Sword of the North. Pegma, 1983. 400 pages

Scots/Norse voyage to New England in the 13th century.



White, Robb (1909-1990)

Three Against the Sea. Harper & Bros., 1940. 416 pages

Sea stories for children set in the West Indies.


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]


Secret Sea. Doubleday, 1947. 243 pages

Young naval officer seeks SANTA YBEL, a sunken Spanish treasure ship with the aid of a waterfront urchin. For young readers.


Up Periscope. 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 readers.


Flight Deck. Doubleday, 1961. 215 pages

Young American naval officer serves as a dive bomber pilot at Midway, then following injuries that take him off flight status, becomes a coastwatcher during the Solomons campaign. For Young readers.


Torpedo Run: Mutiny and Adventure Aboard a Navy PT Boat During World War II. Doubleday, 1962. 183 pages

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 readers.


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.


The Frogmen. Doubleday, 1973. 239 pages

Four misfits from the navy UDT school are accidently 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.



White, Simon

Captain Jethro Cockerill ("Cocky") Penhaligon series:

  1. The English Captain. St. Martin's, 1977. 203 pages

    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.

  2. Clear for Action! St. Martin's, 1978. 188 pages

    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.

  3. His Majesty's Frigate. St. Martin's, 1979. 223 pages

    Captain Penhaligon and AVENGER escort a convoy of East Indiamen to Madeira, fight French and Spanish.



White, Stewart Edward (1873-1946)

Skookum Chuck. Doubleday, Page, 1925. 286 pages

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.



White, William H.

War of 1812 Trilogy (Isaac Biggs):

  1. A Press of Canvas. Tiller, 2000. 256 pages

    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 countrymen.

  2. A Fine Tops'l Breeze. Tiller, 2001. 288 pages

    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.

  3. The Evening Gun. Tiller, 2001. 288 pages

    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 Banner.


Oliver Baldwin series:

  1. The Greater the Honor : a novel of the Barbary Wars. Tiller, 2003. 287 pages

    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 Navy.

  2. In Pursuit of Glory. Tiller, 2006. 352 pages

    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 1812.


Edward Ballantyne series:

  1. When Fortune Frowns. Tiller, 2008. 343 pages

    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.

  2. Gun Bay. CreateSpace, 2013. 248 pages

    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)

Treegate Family series:

  1. John Treegate's Musket. Ariel, 1959. 188 pages

    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 Hill.

  2. Peter Treegate's War. Ariel, 1960. 156 pages

    Peter attempts to resolve the conflict between his loyalty to his real father and the Scottish clansman who has fostered him.

  3. Sea Captain from Salem. Ariel, 1961. 186 pages

    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, nevertheless.

  4. Treegate's Raiders. Ariel, 1962. 218 pages

    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.

  5. Leopard's Prey. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1971. 183 pages

    Manly Treegate accompanies his uncle on a routine 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.

  6. Red Pawns. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1973. 183 pages

    Peter Treegate, now in his sixties, and a wealthy 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 series.

  7. The Last Battle. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1976. 197 pages

    Manly Treegate commands USN brig WILD DUCK in 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.


Flint's Island. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1972. 165 pages

Inspired by, and somewhat a sequel to, Stevenson's 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.



Wilcox, Colin

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 pages

In three parts; the middle part has the hero; 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 pages

Three men seek one woman aboard the whaler VENTURER in the South Seas.


Thread of Scarlet. Houghton Mifflin, 1939. 374 pages

"Lusty saga of one man against angry sea" during War of 1812.



Williams, Charles (1909-1975)

The Sailcloth Shroud. Viking, 1960 188 pages

Charter boat skipper finds himself in a fix when one of his crew dies of a heart attack off Central America and the other is murdered in a Texas port. Raymond Chandleresque mystery.


Dead Calm. 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 pages

A shipwrecked sailor is picked up by a mystery cruise ship up to no good.



Williams, David

Atlantic Convoy. Cassell, 1979. 304 pages

Convoy HX-114 assembles off the east coast to 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.



Williams, Henry

Ensign Pulver. Dell, 1964. 189 pages

Sequel to Mr. Roberts featuring Ensign Pulver. Novelization of the movie by the same name.



Williams, Jon [pseud. Walter Jon Williams] (1953- )

Privateers and Gentlemen series:

  1. The Privateer. Dell, 1981. 448 pages

    Malachi, Jehu, and Josiah Markham as American privateers in the Revolution. Original title: To Glory Arise.

  2. The Yankee. Dell, 1981. 368 pages

    Josiah's son Gideon Markham's adventures as a privateer in the ship MALACHI'S REVENGE at the begining of the War of 1812. Original title: The Tern Schooner.

  3. The Raider. Dell, 1981. 428 pages

    The exploits of Favian Markham -- Jehu Markham's 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.

  4. The Macedonian. Dell, 1984. 253 pages

    Favian Markham, now a captain, USN, takes the MACEDONIAN -- the frigate he helped capture -- on a cruise against the British in 1814.

  5. Cat Island. Dell, 1984. 333 pages

    Gideon and Favian Markham battle the British at New Orleans and The Gulf of Mexico at the end of the War of 1812.



Williams, Naomi J. (1964- )

Landfalls. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2015. 315 pages

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.



Williams, Paul

The Shenandoah Affair. Hodder & Stoughton, 1992. 394 pages

A maritime historical romance based on the 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- )

Quillifer. Saga Press 2017. 530 pages

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.



Williams, Wirt

The Enemy. Houghton Mifflin, 1951. 314 pages

Four-piper destroyer is assigned to second ASW 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.



Willis, Matthew

Daedalus and the Deep. Fireship Press, 2013. 262 pages

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 pseudonym)

The Whalers. Dell, 1983. 285 pages

Life among New England whalers and whaling families. Making of America no.37.


The Caribbeans. Dell, 1983. 319 pages

Confederate captain and crew of blockade-runner become fugitives at end of the Civil War, flee to the Caribbean for love and adventure. Making of America no.42.


The Raiders. Dell, 1984. 317 pages

Confederate captain aboard steam/sail sloop DELTA DANCER harasses Union shipping, gets pursued by new armored paddlewheeler. Making of America no.52.