Skip to Main Content

Nautical Fiction Index

Authors V

Vaczek, Louis C. [Charles] (1913-1983)

River and Empty Sea. Houghton, Mifflin, 1950. 372 pages

Even though an expedition of discovery to the Hudson Bay only results in a listless "river and empty sea", the protagonist nevertheless learns to love the wilderness and to respect his Indian companions





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.


  3. 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 (1906-1996)

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.




Vance, Marguerite (1889-1965)

Courage at Sea. E. P. Dutton, 1963. 86 pages

The sinking of the Titanic brings forth the hidden courage and heroism of a young boy






VanderMeer, Ann & Jeff (Editors)

Fast Ships, Black Sails. Night Shade, 2008. 241 pages

An anthology of original stories featuring a science fiction and fantasy romp through pirate-infested seas. The settings of these stories vary from the traditional 17th century Caribbean glory years of piracy to the frozen seas off colonial Boston to unnamed far future oceans to deep space itself. Boojum / Elizabeth Bear & Sarah Monette -- Castor on troubled waters / Rhys Hughes -- I begyn as I mean to go on / Kage Baker -- Avast, abaft! / Howard Waldrop -- Elegy to Gabrielle, patron saint of healers, whores, and righteous thieves / Kelly Barnhill -- Skillet and saber / Justin Howe -- Nymph's child / Carrie Vaughn -- 68* 07' 15" N, 31* 36' 44" W / Conrad Williams -- Ironface / Michael Moorcock -- Pirate solutions / Katherine Sparrow -- We sleep on a thousand waves beneath the stars / Brendan Connell -- Voyage of the iguana / Steve Aylett -- Pirates of the Suara Sea / David Freer & Eric Flint -- Cold day in hell / Paul Battieger -- Adventures of Captain Black Heart Wentworth / Rachel Swirsky -- Araminta, or, the wreck of the Amphidrake / Naomi Novik -- Whale below / Jayme Lynn Blaschke -- Beyond the sea gate of the scholar -- Pirates of Sarskoe / Garth Nix.



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 Innocent: February - May 1864. Old Salt Press, 2019. 336 pages

    Political folly has brought war upon Denmark. Lacking allies, the country is invaded by the forces of military superpowers Prussia and Austria. Across the Atlantic, civil war rages. It is fought not solely on American soil but also on the world’s oceans, as Confederate commerce raiders ravage Union merchant shipping as far away as the East Indies. And now a new raider, a powerful modern ironclad, is nearing completion in a British shipyard. Denmark is not wholly without sympathizers however. Britain’s heir to the throne is married to a Danish princess. With his covert backing, British volunteers are ready to fight for the Danes. And the Confederacy is willing to lease the new raider for two months if she can be armed as payment for the lease, although the Union government is determined to see her sunk


  3. Britannia's Guile: January 1877 - August 1877. Old Salt, 2021. 294 pages

    1877: He’s chosen service on the Royal Navy’s hazardous Anti-Slavery patrol off East Africa for the opportunities it brings to make his name. But a shipment of slaves has slipped through his fingers. Now his reputation and chances of promotion, are at risk. He’ll stop at nothing to save them even if the means needed are illegal . . . But greater events are underway in Europe. The Russian and Ottoman Empires are drifting ever closer to a war that could draw in other great powers. And Britain cannot stand aside – a Russian victory would spell disaster for her strategic links to India.


  5. 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.


  7. 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


  9. 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?



  11. 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.


  13. 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.



  15. Britannia's Mission: August 1883 to February 1884. Old Salt Press, 2018. 362 pages

    Two Arab sultanates on the East African coast control access to the interior. Britain is reluctant to occupy them but cannot afford to let any other European power do so either. But now the German Empire is showing interest in colonial expansion . . . For Dawlish, getting his fighting force up a shallow, fever-ridden river to the mission is only the beginning. There are obstacles to confronting the slavers, not least the missionary himself. The German presence is more contradictory and baffling than anticipated and a mysterious European is serving one of the sultans. Atrocities lie ahead, battles on land and in swamp also, and strange alliances must be made.


  17. 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.



  19. Britannia's Morass: September - December 1884. Old Salt Press, 2020. 347 pages

    Florence Dawlish remains in Britain when her husband, Captain Nicholas Dawlish, leaves for service in the Sudan. She faces months of worry about him but she’ll cope by immersing herself in welfare work for Royal Navy seamen’s families at Portsmouth. It’ll be a dull but worthy time . . . . . . until the suicide of a middle-aged widow whom Florence respects. Left wealthy by her husband, this lady died a pauper, beggared within a few months, how and by whom, is not known. But someone was responsible and there must be retribution. And for Florence to get justice will demand impersonation, guile and courage. Includes the short story "Britannia’s Collector", which tells of Nicholas Dawlish’s service as a young naval officer.


  21. Britannia’s Rule: September 1886 – April 1888. Old Salt Press, 2022. 407 pages

    Dawlish is at Trinidad when news arrives of a volcanic eruption on a West Indian island. But the volcano is just the prelude. The island's sovereignty is split – a British Crown Colony in the west, and in the east an independent republic established seven decades earlier by self-emancipated slaves. When wrenched from France through war, both seemed glittering economic prizes. Now they are impoverished backwaters where resentment seethes and old grudges fester.




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

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.




The River Devils. Doubleday, 1969. 239 pages

Set around the time of the War of 1812 and takes place along the Mississippi River and around New Orleans. Published under his Carter A. Vaughn pseudonym.




Vercel, Roger (1894-1957)

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

Translation of Sous le pied de l'archange.





Ride Out the Storm. Putnam, 1953. 470 pages

Translation of La fosse aux vents.






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)

Cruise of the Cormorant. H. Holt, 1915. 322 pages

Paul Rogers and his cousin accompany Paul's father when he delivers his yacht Cormorant to a new owner in Barbados.




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)

Joey Goes to Sea. Charles Scribner's Sons, 1939. 66 pages

Joey the ginger cat went to sea with Alan Villiers on the ship Joseph Conrad. He was a kitten of great personality and his story is full of humor.





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

Children's sea story




And Not to Yield : a story of the Outward Bound School of adventure. Charles Scribner's Sons, 1953. 183 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.





Vincent, Kitty Edith Blanche (1887-1969)

Sea-Change. Jenkins, 1934. 310 pages


Visiak, E. H. [pseud. Edward Harold Physick] (1878-1972)

The Haunted Island: Being the History of an Adventure to an Island in the Remote South Seas: Of a Wizard There: of his Pirate Gang; his Treasure; his Combustible; His Skeleton Antic Lad: Of his Wisdom; of his Poesy; his Barbarous Cruelty; his Mighty Power: Of a Volcano on the Island: And of the Ghostly Terror. Elkin Mathews, 1910. 194 pages

Original subtitle A Pirate Romance


Medusa: A Story of Mystery, and Ecstasy, & Strange Horror. Victor Gollancz, 1933. 286 pages

Begins as a normal-seeming 19th century adventure at sea that climaxes into a literal pit of fantasy - a vast circular hole occupied by the eponymous sea monster which eats sexually aware men alive.


Volk, Gordon (1885-1962)

Island Schooner. Stanley Paul, 1950. 208 pages


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.





Vondys, Horace (Editor)

Best Sea Stories from Bluebook. McBride, 1954. 359 pages

The Crowbar Captain / Joseph Patrick -- Freedom / Edwin L. Sabin -- The Yellow Ship / H. Bedford-Jones & L. B. Williams -- Offshore / Richard Howells Watkins -- Through Twelve-League Labyrinth / J. M. Reynolds & H. P. McCormack -- Owner’s Interest / Captain Dingle -- The Ship of Silence / Albert Richard Wetjen -- Thirteen Men / H. Bedford-Jones -- The Hurricane / Captain George Grant -- Prize Cargo / George Allan England -- Proved by the Sea / Jacland Marmur -- Fireboat Style / Captain Michael Gallister -- The Last Voyage of the Unsinkable “Sal” / Samuel Taylor -- The Uncertain Weapon / George Fielding Eliot



Vorhies, John Royal (1920-1993)

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.




If you experience accessibility barriers using this website, please contact 707-654-1090 or . You will receive a reply within two business days. The library is committed to remediate accessibility barriers within this website and will provide accommodations until the barriers are remediated.