This is primarily my future reading lists, authors who I've little of, and who may be hard to get, but who I will be following up. I have listed them by the main era of the series, though some will have overlaps. If and when I read them I will add comments. There are probably many other series around which I have never even heard of, let alone read. If anyone has read them and wants to send me some information, or if you know of another series you think I should include, please email me.


Mr Midshipman Easy by F Marryat, image courtesy of Pan Macmillan (Pan Books, 1967).Captain Frederick Marryat

Not a series writer, but the fountainhead of Naval authors, Frederick Marryat wrote from his own experiences as a naval officer during the Napoleonic wars. His first experiences at sea were in Cochrane's Imperieuse as she annoyed the French and Spanish in the Western Mediterranean. Readers of O'Brians work will find his adventures familiar. Of Marryat's naval works I have read only Mr Midshipman Easy. (Image courtesy of Pan Macmillan.)

Another Ship, again. Image by Sue LawGEORGE ABERCROMBIE FOX
Adam Hardy

Introduction: I'd only seen these advertised in the backs of other books and thought they looked rather pulp fictiony. But Mark emailed to me to say that they are a good exciting read, but too short. Out of print and hard to get, especially the later ones. Look at the internet second hand book cooperatives like ABE and Alibris where you can see the combined stock of many specialist dealers. I managed to pick up a few at a reasonable price from an Australian dealer. (Images courtesy of Hodder Headline Books.)

Press Gang ©1972 Adam Hardy, image courtesy Hodder Headline Books (NEL, 1972).1. (The) Press Gang
Pub: 1972, Set: 1800
"The Press Gang" on the cover, "Press Gang inside and in promotions.
Promotional Blurb: "George Abercrombie Fox: Born London, 29th September, 1765. Second child in a family of ten. Named after his uncle, who was hanged at Tyburn. Joined navy as a 'powder-monkey' in 1775. Finally gazetted Lieutenant in 1793. Possessed of enormous talent and courage. Virtually devoid of noble patronage. Still a lieutenant in 1800
There was little peace for England, and none for Fox."
(Image courtesy of Hodder Headline.)
2. Prize Money
Pub: 1972, Set: 1798, Battle of the Nile
Promotional Blurb: "For a friendless, penniless lieutenant like George Abercrombie Fox, it offered the one real hope of advancement.
Without a rise in rank for more years than he cared to think, the boredom and stultifying routine of Blockade Duty gave little chance of Prize Money.
But Chance did not always play Fox false. Suddenly, there was action - bloody and savage. On the one hand lay a hideous death, or maiming on the other hand - glory!"
3. Siege [US: Savage Siege]
Pub: 1973, Set: 1799, Siege of Acre
4. Treasure [US: Treasure Map]
Pub: 1973, Set: 1799, Fox goes treasure hunting
Powder Monkey ©1973 Adam Hardy, image courtesy Hodder Headline Books (NEL, 1974).5. Powder Monkey [US: Sailor's Blood]
Pub: 1974, Set: 1765-1778, Fox's childhood
Promotional Blurb: "The life of a powder monkey on board ship was hard and dangerous. Reloading the big guns in the drifting, acrid smoke and shattering cannonfire. Any moment might bring hidden death.
This was the life George Abercrombie Fox chose for himself at an early age. Serving in the Royal Navy, he was soon fighting in the war against America. But restlessly searching for glory, he endured where few men could."
(Image courtesy of Hodder Headline.)
6. Blood for Breakfast [US: Sea of Gold]
Pub: 1973, Set: 1799, Wild adventure
Court Martial ©1973 Adam Hardy, image courtesy Hodder Headline Books (NEL, 1974).7. Court Martial
Pub: 1974, Set: 1799, Fox is court-martialled.
Promotional blurb "In Nelson's day the punishments inflicted by the Royal Navy were notoriously brutal and barbaric.
George Abercrombie Fox, ruthles and ambitious hero of "Treasure" and "Blood for Breakfast", must now face the deadly consequences of his rapacious search for gold
The court could order him hanged from the highest yardarm in the Fleet. But Fox would never give in. Still a lieutenant at thirty four he had his own bitter, vengeful plans to deal with the Navy!"
(Image courtesy of Hodder Headline.)
8. Battle Smoke
Pub: 1974, Set: 1799-1800, Lt Fox takes command!
Cut and Thrust ©1974 Adam Hardy, image courtesy Hodder Headline Books (NEL, 1974).9. Cut and Thrust
Pub: 1974, Set: ?1800, a Fox out of water.
Promotional blurb: "Forced on land for leave George Abercrombie Fox finds that female company more than compensates for the loss of the sea. Particularly the company of Jenny Blane, at one time the victim of a hold-up by highwayman Fox.
The magic lasts until he sees a tall slim woman across a gaming room. Soon a shadow half-remembered from his past is haunting him. It is only the return to sea, with his own command, that helps him substitute one old love for another."
(Image courtesy of Hodder Headline.)
Boarders Away ©1975 Adam Hardy, image courtesy Hodder Headline Books (NEL, 1975).10. Boarders Away
Pub: 1975, Set: 1800, Fox in the Channel
Promotional blurb: "A Commander at last, George Abercrombie Fox knows that life in the King's Navy is still a hard one. He will have to fight twice as hard to hold onto his position, and three times as hard to gain advancement, and so security for his family on the Thames. He has a ship to command too, Minion, but leader of his squadron is his old enemy Lord Lymm, who will now send Fox into battle
Fox carries out many daring raids up and down the French coast, but Lord Lymm is determined to bring down this young upstart and deprives him of fighting men. With only a handful of loyal followers G. A. Fox spies several prize ships - and not far beyond a couple of French men of war. Nothing daunted Fox joins battle, only to find disaster facing him..."
(Image courtesy of Hodder Headline.)
11. Fireship [US: The Fireship]
Pub: 1975, Set: 1800, Fox makes a fireship
12. Blood Beach
Pub: 1975
13. Sea Flame
Pub: ?
14. Close Quarters
Pub: 1977

Tom Connery

Boat. Image by Sue Law.Introduction: I came across these while hunting for Christmas presents last year. As far as I know there are only three. An interesting new departure; George Markham is a Royal Marine, a Lobster! At least he is eventually. The series opens at the British evacuation of Toulon, where a little artillery officer in an oversized hat was directing the French bombardment. Tom Connery is a pen name of David Donachie. (Images courtesy of Orion Books.)

A Shred of Honour ©1996 T Connery (Orion 1996), Honour Redeemed ©1997 T Connery (Orion 1998), Honour be Damned ©1998 T Connery (Orion 1999). Images courtesy of Orion Books.

Images courtesy of Orion Books

Kydd ©2001 J Stockwin (Coronet Books 2001), Artemis ©2002 J Stockwin (Coronet Books 2002), Seaflower ©2003 J Stockwin (Hodder & Stoughton 2003), Mutiny ©2003 J Stockwin (Hodder & Stoughton 2003), Quarterdeck ©2004 J Stockwin (Hodder & Stoughton 2004). Images courtesy of Hodder Headline.KYDD
Julian Stockwin

The author is planning a series of 11 books, the first being the eponymous "Kydd", about a young wig-maker pressed into the navy.

The series is continuing. More information is available on Mr Stockwin's web site. (Images courtesy of Hodder Headline.)


Marcus Palliser

Set on the Spanish Main at the turn of the 18th Century, young Matthew faces the challenge of trying to live honourably in a lawless society.

The aptly named James L Nelson writes tales of the American eastern seaboard in the 18th century. The Brethren of the Coast series is currently being re-issued. Also based on American nautical history are the books of J E Fender.


James Dillon White

Introduction: An obscure series I came across because my mother used to read them. Not Revolutionary or Napoleonic, but set in the Indian Ocean at the time of Clive. Kelso is an officer in the East India Company's Bombay Marine, whose main job is to protect the Indiamen from pirates in the last (first) part of their voyage. This is before the British Government took a direct hand in affairs, so there was no Royal Navy around. These books are all out of print and difficult to obtain. I have only managed to buy a few in second hand book shops (my mother threw all hers away!) A few are available via the internet used book shops (ABE and Alibris) but not all were issued in paperback and the first edition hard covers are quite expensive.

James Dillon White is a nom-de-plume. Mr White served as a gunner and intelligence officer during WWII. He then worked as an executive for an Insurance company. He wrote his books early in the mornings, before leaving for work.

Despite the fact that they are unavailable in English, the German translations of all 9 are in print and available from amazon.co.de. Once again a hunt of the internet cooperatives will locate most.

Title Pub Set Comment
Young Mr Kelso
[Ger: Der junge Kelso]
1963 Young Mr Kelso ©1963 JD White, image courtesy of Ullstein Heyne List (Der junge Kelso, Ullstein, 1997).German translation published 1997.
Kelso of the Paragon
[Ger: Kelsos erstes Kommando]
Kelso of the Paragon ©(?year) JD White, image courtesy of Ullstein Heyne List (Kelsos erstes Kommando, Ullstein, 1997).Rank: Commander
Ship: Paragon (frigate)
Loc: Bombay
German translation published 1997.
A Spread of Sail
[NEL: Kelso #5] [Ger: Verrat an Kapitän Kelso]
1975 1755 A Spread of Sail ©1975 JD White, image courtesy of Hodder Headline (NEL 1975). Rank: Commander-Bombay Marine
Ship: Paragon (frigate)
Loc: Bombay
Jacket Blurb
"A Spread of Sail is another exciting story in the Kelso series which finds Roger Kelso as captain of the Paragon in high adventure in the East India Company Marine.
A treasure ship, the Marie Galante, has been lost somewhere in the Amirantes; Kelso is ordered to locate the wreck and recover the quarter of a million pounds treasure. His mission, which was to have been secret, becomes common knowledge along the Bombay waterfront and beyond, so that when Paragon sails she finds La Mouette, captained by the notorious pirate Lamont, and ships of his Angrian allies in pursuit."
German translation published 1997.
Brave Captain Kelso
[NEL: Kelso #1 - Captain Kelso]
[Ger: Kapitän Kelso Rache]
1959 1755 Rank: Commander-Bombay Marine
Ship: Paragon (frigate)
Loc: Bombay
Frontispiece Blurb: "This is, above all, a story of adventure and action at sea in the old days of sail. Captain Kelso is the commander of the Paragon, a fighting ship of the East India Company, whose merchantemen are continually under attack by the famous Mahratta pirate, Angria. When Kelso goes to the assistance of three of the Company's ships he finds that one of them has been disabled and captured by the pirates. After a great sea fight Kelso rescues the commander of the merchantman and his beautiful young daughter who soon falls in love wth him. But Kelso has long been in love with the wife of the already famous Robert Clive, with whom he takes part in a expedition against Gheriah, the fortified seat of the pirates. War and love are excitingly intertwined in this absorbing story, which gives a vivid picture of the times."
German Translation published 1998.
The Captain of Marine
[NEL: Kelso #2]
[Ger: Kapitän Kelso und der Nabob]
1960 Rank: Commander - Bombay Marine
Ship: Paragon
German translation published 1998.
The Princess of Persia
[Ger: Kapitän Kelso in Kampf mit dem Linienschiff Lyon]
1961 Rank: Commander - Bombay Marine
Ship: Paragon
Loc: Arabian Sea
German translation published 1999.
Commodore Kelso
[NEL: Kelso #3]
[Ger: Kelso wird Kommodore]
1967 1757 Commodore Kelso ©1967 JD White, image courtesy of Hodder Headline (NEL 1976). Rank: Commodore-Bombay Marine
Ship: Paragon (frigate Fenton)
Jacket Blurb
"As Captain Kelso and his ship, the Paragon, patrol the Indian coast, he is called to the aid of the Protector, flagship of the Marine, which is fighting against desperate odds in the face of five French warships.
After the bloody encounter, Kelso finds himself in line for promotion. To accept might bring enormous problems on his head - but how can he refuse?"
German translation published 2000.
A Wind in the Rigging
[NEL: Kelso #4]
[Ger: Kelsos Kampf mit den Flusspiraten]
1973 1760 A Wind in the Rigging ©1973 JD White, image courtesy of Hodder Headline (NEL 1977). Rank: Commodore-Bombay Marine
Ship: Protector (44 frigate Fenton)
Jacket Blurb
"The war with France was at a lull when the tough Commodore Kelso married the beautiful, aristocratic and ambitious Lady Susan Lashley. But a lull in war did not mean a lull in action and soon Kelso was struggling with the brutal and notorious Mohammed Khan, leader of the ruthless band of river pirates who had been plaguing Calcutta for years.
But his troubles did not end there and he soon found that marriage was no easy undertaking - especially as his new wife's ambition was to become the riches woman in India - and even more so when he discovered her methods..."
German translation published 2000.
Fair Wind to Malabar
[Ger: Kommodore Kelso unter Feuer]
1978 Rank: Commodore - Bombay Marine
Location: Maldives
I'd love to get this one because my father served with the RAF in the Maldives.
German translation published 1998.

Little Ship. Image by Sue Law.PERCIVAL MEREWEATHER
Ellis K Meacham

Introduction: Judith emailed to tell me about another Bombay Marine series. There's only three of them, and they're all out of print (but look on the internet). When he wasn't writing, Ellis K. Meacham was a distinguished judge.

  1. The East Indiaman (1968)
  2. On The Company's Service (1971)
  3. For King and Company (1976)


Jonathan Lunn

Killigrew R. N. ©2000 D Hall, Killigrew and the Golden Dragon ©2001 D Hall, Killigrew and the Incorrigibles ©2002 D Hall, Killigrew and the North-West Passage ©2003 D Hall, Killigrew's Run ©2004 D Hall, Killigrew and the Sea Devil ©2005 D Hall, images courtesy of Hodder Headline.
Jonathan Lunn's first novel was entitled "Killigrew R.N." and was billed as 'introducing the Victorian Hornblower'. I hate it when they advertise books like that, it tends to put me off them. Mr Lunn also dislikes it. Anyway, Kit Killigrew is nothing like Horatio Horblower. The first book was a little slow in parts, but the series is getting better:

Images courtesy of Hodder Headline Books.


There are a number of other writers I've become aware of, either from browsing the web or by receiving emails from people like you. I haven't had a chance to read these yet:

Devil to Pay ©C. Northcote Parkinson 1973; So Near So Far, ©C. Northcote Parkinson 1981, Images courtesy McBooks Press (2001, 2003)C. Northcote Parkinsons's Richard Delancey series (starting with "The Guernseyman" is being reissued by McBooks.

Edwin Thomas has so far released two books in a series about the caddish Martin Jerrold. The first was entitled "The Blighted Cliffs".

Dewey Lambdin has a long series based on the character of Alan Lewrie, an officer in the Royal Navy. The first novel, "The King's Coat", is set during the American War of Independence. I've assumed that, like Alexander Kent, Lambdin will extend his series into the Napoleonic Wars.

Jan Needle has three novels in print in the 'Sea Officer William Bentley' series. The first is "A Fine Boy for Killing", which I recently bought on a trip to the US. They are not widely available. (Image courtesy of McBooks Press.)A Fine Boy for Killing ©1996 J Needle, image courtesy of McBooks Press (McBooks 2000).

David Donachie wrote the "Privateersman" series, featuring the crime-solving skills of Harry Ludlow. His trilogy on Horatio Nelson is currently in print. Donachie also writes under the name "Tom Connery".

American James Nelson has written several series including "The Brethren of the Coast" trilogy about privateers and the "Isaac Biddlecomb" series about the American Revolutionary war.

McBooks is also reprinting the "Philip Hazard" novels of V. A. Stuart. Stuart also wrote an army series.

William H. White wrote the "War of 1812" trilogy about Isaac Biggs.

Kenneth Maynard is remembered for the "Matthew Lamb" series.

J. E. Fender has written a book with a very long title "The Private Revolution of Geoffrey Frost:....." about the American Revolutionary War.

Showell Styles wrote a number of naval series including the Mister Fitton and Midshipman Quinn books. These are aimed at younger readers and mainly out of print now. Mr Styles is nearly 100 and still going strong!

A strange-sounding recent issue is "Jack Absolute" by C. C. Humphreys, advertised as "the 007 of the 1770s". Not quite sure what to make of that...

If you want to try a selection from a number of authors then look for Mike Ashley's nautical anthologies in the Mammoth series of books: "The Mammoth Book of Men o' War" and "The Mammoth Book of Hearts of Oak". Featured authors include famous names such as Forester, O'Brian, Styles, Donachie, and Woodman plus plenty of lesser known authors. Men o' War also includes a pretty decent checklist of sea stories from the days of fighting sail. If you're interested in real life accounts try The Mammoth Book of Life Before the Mast Edited by Jon E Lewis.

I'd love to spend my whole life reading but unfortunately I have to earn a living. If you've got more time than me and want more tips, go check out Niall Kelly's Broadside page or Nigel Bailey's Naval Fiction page.

Images on this page are used by kind permission of Pan Macmillan Books, Hodder Headline Books, Orion Books, McBooks Press and Ullstein Heyne List GmbH & Co (Germany).

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Last update 16/11/05