Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Nautical Fiction Index

Authers Len - Lu

Lennep, David van

Ironclad. Poseidon, 1994. 131 pages

This novel in an attempt to bring to life the raison d'etre for the ironclad HMS WARRIOR. The time is 1862, a year after she was first commissioned, and British relations with the French have deteriorated to such an extent that a French squadron is steaming towards the Thames to emulate Admiral de Ruyter's feat of two centuries previously. The Royal Navy is alerted, gives chase and the French are brought to action amongst the shoals and shifting sands of the Thames estuary. The technical aspects of WARRIOR's innovativeness are woven in as the drama unfolds.

Lenz, Siegfried (1926-2014)

The Lightship. Hill and Wang, 1962. 125 pages

The captain of a lightship on its last shift before it is taken out of service, must confront three killers who board the ship when their boat breaks down. Originally published in German as Das Feureschiffe in 1960.

Leroux, Gaston (1868-1927)

The Floating Prison. T.W. Laurie, 1923. 254 pages

Originally in French. Entered for the sake of completeness. A nautical novel only because it is set aboard a French Naval Transport taking convicts to Devils Island. They take over the ship.

Leslie, Peter

Silent Squadron. Pinnacle, 1972. 188 pages

The Nazis are operating a secret submarine base in Ireland, so British commandos set forth on a mission to secretly destroy it.

Lesterman, John

A Sailor of Napoleon; a tale of the sea. Harcourt, Brace and Co, 1927. 314 pages

This is the story of a young man who carries out several important missions for Napoleon. In the process he goes from Midshipman to Captain. There are several interesting battle scenes. This is what might be called a boy's book. Not much attempt is made to capture the language of the period. The author was probably influenced by G. A. Henty who is far superior. The illustrations are very nice.

Lewis, C. S. (1898-1963)

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader : a story for children. Geoffrey Bles, 1952. 223 pages

In the third book of Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia Prince Caspian sails through magical waters to the End of the World. Fantasy for young readers.

Lewin, Bruce L.

Greyfox Underway 1944 : a good Atlantic submarine sea story. Premier Books on Demand, 1992. 323 pages

Leyland, Eric (1911-2001)

Crash Dive : the Story of a Submarine. E. Ward, 1961. 128 pages

For young readers.

Lincoln, Joseph Crosby (1870-1944)

Cap'n Eri: A Story of the Coast. Burt, 1904. 397 pages

Fishing off the New England coast at the turn of the century.

Rugged Water. D. Appleton, 1924. 385 pages

Classic novel about the US Lifesaving Service.

Out of the Fog. D. Appleton-Century, 1940. 360 pages

Captain Mark comes across a dead body in the fog off Cape Cod in this mystery by the noted sea author.

Lincoln, Joseph Crosby (1870-1944) and Lincoln, Freeman

The New Hope. Coward-McCann, 1941. 407 pages

It's August of the year 1814 in the Cape Cod town of Trumet and the British have bottled up both harbors, the one on the Massachusetts Bay side and the one on the ocean side, until not even a small fishing boat can get through the blockade. Under the leadership of Captain Dole and his young companion, Jonathon Bangs, the townspeople have invested their money and their labor in outfitting a merchant vessel and manning her with a crew. They have encouraged gossip around the Cape, which they know the British blockaders will hear, that they are simply overhauling the craft, to be used as a coastwise trader when the war is over. But the real purpose of the New Hope, as the privateer is named, is to try to slip out some dark night after a store of powder has been smuggled aboard and to. run through the blockade at the risk of every life aboard and every cent invested in her.

Liston, Robert A.

The Seraphim Code. Tom Doherty, 1988. 343 pages

Sloane had left the Central Security Agency and made it clear to everyone that he was out of it. Completely. Until a KGB agent dies on Sloane's suburban doorstep, and someone takes a shot at him. Now Sloane's running again, a target of both U.S. and Soviet intelligence services. The dying man had told him something, whispered the words Seraphim Code to him, and those are words no one was supposed to hear, words known only to The Committee. While the retired spy runs for his life on land, helped only by his wife Freddy, a Russian submarine, carrying a full load of nuclear missiles, runs silently beneath the waters of the Atlantic, cruising toward an unexpected rendezvous with disaster.

Littell, Robert

Sweet Reason. Houghton Mifflin, 1974. 210 pages

Vietnam era dark comedy. Describes the first three days that the EUGENE EBERSOLE, a superannuated WWII-era destroyer, spends off Yankee Station during the Vietnam conflict. Naturally, the ship has an incompetent, glory-seeking captain, misfit officers and crew, and orders incompatible with its capabilities. Would be funnier if it did not try so hard.

Litvig, Irving

Commodore Levy: A Novel of Early America in the Age of Sail. Texas Tech University Press, 2014. 672 pages

This richly detailed historical novel closely follows the actual events of Levy's life: running away from his Philadelphia home to serve as a cabin boy at age ten; his service during the War of 1812 aboard the Argus and internment at the notorious British prison at Dartmoor; his campaign for the abolition of flogging in the Navy; and his purchase and restoration of Monticello as a tribute to his personal hero, Thomas Jefferson.

Llywelyn, Morgan

Grania: She-King of the Irish Seas. Crown, 1986. 437 pages

Fictionalized story of Grace of Umhall, notorious pirate of Connaught, as she rules the Irish Sea, fights English ships, and preserves Irish independence.

Llewellyn, Sam (1948- )

George le Fanu Gurney series:

  1. Gurney's Revenge. Arlington Books, 1977. 235 pages

    George LeFanu Gurney is disgraced by the machinations of an enemy, Ottway. He is forced to resign his commission as a lieutenant in the Royal Navy. Seeking to rehabilitate his reputation and destroy his accuser he embarks on nautical adventures from the Mediterranean to the South China Sea, and back to England. Takes place 1820-22. Llewellyn's first novel. US title: Sea Devil.

  2. Gurney's Reward. Arlington Books, 1978. 269 pages

    Gurney, reputation restored, now married and running a shipyard is forced by the Admiralty to take to the seas once more to rescue a Dervish that aided him in SEA DEVIL. Numerous nautical adventures in Greece during the War of Greek Independence. US title: Devil's Reward.

  3. Gurney's Release. Arlington Books, 1979. 320 pages

    On returning home to Sea Dalling, Gurney becomes involved in a duel - the outcome is death, and with it news of an old enemy. The blood spilled that day was the first of a long trail stretching across the Atlantic to the Jamaican plantation-house at Silverwood, and on by the old slave routes to the fever-swamps of the unexplored Niger delta, And as the trail grew longer it became clearer, until it bore the unmistakable mark of one Mathias Otway, merchant, hypocrite and thief, making a final desperate bid for power and riches, while teetering on the brink of insanity.

Blood Orange. Summit, 1986. 255 pages

Blackmail, corruption and lethal accidents beset a high-tech catamaran crew in the Round Britain race.

Sea Story. St. Martin's, 1987. 396 pages

UK title: Great Circle. A cast of thousands sort of book about an around the world sailing race. Exciting, fast reading.

Dead Reckoning. Summit, 1987. 229 pages

A boat of his own design takes down Charlie Agutter's own brother. Now he sets sail on a personal mission: to track down a murderous saboteur.

Death Roll. Michael Joseph, 1989. 246 pages

A pretty convoluted plot. English sailor fights kidnappers, saboteurs, and real estate speculators on and off the water. Features exciting storm while delivering a yacht and match races between the hero and his nemesis. Great.

Hell Bay. Arlington, 1980. 465 pages

Irish doctor, fleeing a murder charge, gets wrecked on the Scilly islands. He falls in with the wreckers and smugglers on Tresco, is forced to flee to America, where he becomes rich through mining gold. Returning to the Scillys he confronts his past and learns the secret of his ancestry. Purportedly based on actual events. Marginally nautical.

Blood Knot. Michael Joseph, 1991. 307 pages

A former reporter plans a quiet retirement fixing up his wooden cutter and living on it with a crew of troubled kids, but a murder followed by attempts on his life lead him to the Baltic on a race against death in an open boat.

Deadeye. Summit, 1991. 281 pages

British yachtsman on his way to compete in the "Three Bens" sailing/climbing race on the west coast of Scotland bumps into an old fishing boat and finds love, murder and a deadly secret.

The Rope School. Walker, 1991. 176 pages

It's 1813 and, like many children, Kate Griffiths has a hard life. Then things get much harder. She stows away on a Royal Navy ship, is mistaken for one of the crew, and finds herself chasing an American man-o-war. Revised by the author in 1995. US title: Eye of the Cannon.

Riptide. Michael Joseph, 1992. 310 pages

Mike Savage builds a boat for his French sailing star friend. The boat is wrecked, his daughter threatened, friend disappears and he tries to solve all these problems.

Clawhammer. Pocket, 1993. 373 pages

"..thriller set in a world where everyone professes the best of intentions and no one is quite what they seem. Where a warlord is a democratic leader and food stolen from the starving is legitimate currency. Where a poet has to turn a lost cause into a violent crusade -if he wants to stay alive." (from the jacket blurb) Oh, and it seems to involve sailing a boat across the Atlantic.

Maelstrom. Pocket, 1994. 402 pages

A former anti-whaling activist gets involved with ex-Nazis, ex-KGB agents, Mideast terrorists in a deal to get art objects out of Russia. The plot takes he and his yacht to the Norwegian coast on a whaling expedition.

Iron Hotel. Michael Joseph, 1996. 346 pages

Dire circumstances force a ship's captain to take a cargo of illegal Chinese immigrants across the ocean in an ancient rustbucket named GLORY OF SAIPAN.

Lockridge, Richard (1899-1982)

Inspector's Holiday. Lippincott, 1971. 192 pages

Inspector M. L. Heimrich's wife, Susan, contracts pneumonia during a bad winter. Because of her slow convalescence, the doctor recommends a holiday in a warmer climate, so they take a cruise on an Italian vessel leaving New York for the Mediterranean. The accommodations and food are superb, and the other passengers interesting -- until Sir Ronald Grimes disappears. Grimes and his lovely young wife are returning to England on his retirement from the British Embassy. Unfortunately he is fated not to "raise roses -- or cabbages" as he had planned. The ship's captain calls on Heimrich for help and they discover a British Special Branch agent strangled in his cabin. Cruise ship routine forms a background while Heimrich tries to untangle a web of international intrigue.

Lodwick, John (1916-1959)

The Cradle Of Neptune. Heinemann, 1951. 285 pages

Set at the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth between the world wars, this novel, is a study of young people from all walks of life, but all of a certain class, and their interaction as they are moulded into potential naval officers.

Lomask, Milton

Ship's Boy with Magellan. Doubleday, 1960. 185 pages

Orphaned Pedro Molino ships out on Magellan's circumnavigation as a cabin boy to avoid getting killed by his Uncle, who wishes to steal the boy's estate. Young readers, written as part of a fiction series featuring Catholic world history.

London, Jack (1876-1916)

The Cruise of the Dazzler. Century, 1902. 250 pages

For young readers. 15 yr. old boy runs away and inadvertently joins crew of a "Bay Pirate" sloop. Simplistic plot and characters, but great descriptions of small boat sailing on and just outside of San Francisco Bay.

The Sea-Wolf. Macmillan, 1904. 366 pages

Effite college boy vs. Nietchzian superman.

Tales of the Fish Patrol. Macmillan, 1905. 243 pages

Oyster pirates, illegal fishing and other shenanigans on SF bay, lots of small boat sailing, much of it in "Columbia River salmon boats."

A Son of the Sun. Grosset & Dunlap, 1912. 333 pages

The adventures of Captain David Grief in the Solomons Islands.

The Mutiny of the Elsinore. Macmillan, 1914. 392 pages

Passion and mutiny aboard a windjammer rounding the Horn with a hard-bitten male crew and one woman passenger.

South Sea Tales. Macmillan, 1911. 321 pages

The House of Mapuhi, The Whale Tooth, Muki, "Yah! Yah! Yah!", The Heathen, The Terrible Solomons, The Inevitable White Man, The Seed of McCoy

Longstreet, Stephen (1907-2002)

Masts to Spear the Stars. Doubleday, 1967. 364 pages

China clipper tale.

Storm Watch. Putnam, 1979. 309 pages

A broken captain takes over command of a supertanker, gets involved in an international conspiracy and with a bunch of religious fanatics.

Lord, Earle N.

The Last cruise of the Hermann Maru. [self published], 2000. 311 pages

In wartime South Pacific, the seemingly sole survivor of a Liberty Ship is drifting in a lifeboat. Flashbacks detail the author's personal experience of shipboard life and interactions of the vessel's crew.

Lovejoy, William H

Ultra Deep. Zebra, 1992. 382 pages

A Soviet rocket with a nuclear payload sinks deep into the ocean, where it will melt down and poison the seas unless our hero with his robot submersibles can find and disable it in time.

Lowden, Desmond

Bandersnatch. Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1969. 264 pages

Ex-RN officer, unable to adjust to peacetime following heroic adventures in Med during WW II relives his glory days by buying and living aboard the MTB that he commanded in the war, which 20 years later is a clapped-out relic. Chased out of the Spanish port in which he was harbored by a Greek shipping tycoon, he gets revenge by hijacking the magnate aboard his yatch, and holding him and his party for ransom.

Cry Havoc. Macmillan, 1984. 256 pages

International yacht racing (Cowes & Admirals Cup) with a vivid reconstruction of the disastrous '79 Fastnet Race, make a fascinating background for this thriller.

Lucas, Jeremy

The Longest Flight. J. Cape, 1982. 151 pages

Perhaps unique, about an arctic tern on its trans-ocean flight

Lüddecke, Werner Jörg (1911-1986)

Morituri. Fawcett, 1965. 192 pages

German blockade runner leaves Japan in 1943-44, with a cargo of valuable war material, a crew full of misfits that -- facing charges and execution in Germany -- want the ship captured, a British spy whose mission it is to keep the Germans from scuttling the ship, a fanatic Nazi who is convinced that the captain wants the ship to get captured -- and a humanistic captain who is determined to get back to Germany despite his crew, the British spy, and the "aid" of his Nazi first officer. En route they collect a beautiful German Jewish woman who aided a British liner to fight a German raider. Great fun. Turned into a movie starring Yul Brynner and Marlon Brando. Original German language edition is over 500 pages long. Revised edition: "Blockadebrecher" (1970).

Lunn, Jonathan [pseud. Daniel Hall]

Kit Killigrew RN series:

  1. Killigrew R. N.. Headline, 2000. 437 pages

    1847: Forty years after its abolition, the Transatlantic slave trade is more lucrative than ever, and only one man is ruthless enough to beat the slavers at their own game. Risking death, Lieutenant Kit Killigrew infiltrates the crew of a slave ship. From the smoke-filled clubs of London to the steamy jungles of the Guinea Coast, young Killigrew finds himself on a journey fraught with murder and betrayal.

  2. Killigrew and the Golden Dragon. Headline, 2001. 352 pages

    1849: Reckless acts of bravery are not uncharacteristic of Lieutenant Kit Killigrew. So when he's instrumental in capturing the infamous Chinese pirate, Zhai Jimng-mu, en route to Hong Kong, and releasing his beautiful hostage, Peri Dadabhoy, no one is surprised. But, for Killigrew, the stakes grow impossibly high--love, professional integrity, and, ultimately, his life.

  3. Killigrew and the Incorrigibles. Headline, 2002. 472 pages

    1850: South Pacific: The Tisiphone sails the south seas with Killigrew trying to drink himself to perdition to forget past events. During a stopover in Hobart Killigrew kills a man in self defence earning the emnity of his brother. The Tisiphone then sails for Norfolk Island and finds itself involved in an escape attempt by a group of "incorrigibles".

  4. Killigrew and the North-West Passage. Headline, 2003. 384 pages

    1852: Arctic Ocean: Killigrew has volunteered for Arctic duty on the Venturer, part of Sir Edward Belcher's expedition to find Sir John Franklin's missing ships and the North-West Passage. Venturer becomes separated from the rest of the squadron and her glory-hunting captain decides to press on alone, deeper into the icebound bays of the Arctic seas. When the ship is trapped, the captain's hold on sanity begins to slip.

  5. Killigrew's Run. Headline, 2004. 416 pages

    1854: Viscount Bullivant has a peculiar notion of a family holiday-spectating at the Crimean War. But when the influential viscount and his family become prisoners of the Russian secret police, Killigrew, who has more important things to worry about, is ordered to rescue them. Soon they are being pursued by the Russian ship Atalanta; and in her dashing Captain Pechorin, Killigrew may finally have met his match.

  6. Killigrew and the Sea Devil. Headline, 2005. 416 pages

    When commander Kit Killigrew of the Royal Navy is framed for murder by his old foe, the Russian Colonel Nekrasoff, he must plunge into the murky depths of the Victorian underworld in a desperate attempt to escape the hangman' s noose. Before long, he is thrust on an undercover mission to St. Petersburg to track down a missing British engineer and to discover the whereabouts of his secret weapon, the Sea Devil. But in the world of espionage, nothing is ever what it seems, and Killigrew must pit his wits against ruthless secret policemen and beautiful but treacherous women before the trail leads him to a final confrontation.

Lunnon-Wood, Mike

Let Not the Deep. HarperCoolins, 1994. 344 pages

This Atlantic-set adventure-thriller carries you through its pages on waves: A ship with engine failure calls out distress and the crew of the MAEVE CORRIGAN, a superbly designed lifeboat, set out to the rescue through stormy seas. A story of courage and testing and suspense.

King’s Shilling. HarperCollins, 1998. 352 pages

While making her way home, HMS BEAUFORT, a Royal Navy Type 23 frigate, is diverted to Liberia, where civil war has broken out. We follow her deployment to rescue Westerners caught up in the carnage. A fast moving yarn of how the men and women who crew today’s Navy cope with a fast deteriorating, potentially likely scenario.

California State University Maritime Academy

Cal Maritime Library
200 Maritime Academy Drive
Vallejo, CA 94590 

If you experience problems using this website, please email us. We are working to remediate accessibility barriers and will provide accommodations upon request.