Modern Era Nautical Literature
This site is of course dedicated to naval fiction from the Age of Sail, however some of the most famous authors of this genre, including C. S. Forester, have written books about the sea in later periods including during the two World Wars. For the convenience of readers these works are added to the 'Modern Era' section of the site together with some of the newly released works..
Astrodene's Modern Era Nautical Literature Blog
Brings together all the latest news from around the modern era section of the site: Book reviews, New Release, Author interviews, etc.
- ME Book Reviews
- Created on Saturday, 30 March 2013
- By David Hayes
Britannia's Wolf by Antoine Vanner is set during the Russo-Turkish War of 1877. Perhaps unusually for the first book in a new series about the Royal Navy, The Dawlish Chronicles, the entire book is spent with the principal character seconded to a foreign power, Turkey, but this worked well.
Dawlish has to retake his future command from a rebellious Turk, but he is soon in command of an ironclad and, despite the language and cultural difficulties, getting the ship ready for sea and bringing some esprit de corps to it's crew. Throughout the book there are some well written action scenes both at sea and ashore as Dawlish and his men seek to stem the relentless Russian advances despite some of the political intriguing that was expected in the levant at the time. The rivalries that started this war are ones that still echo through to modern times and as I have not studied this period before it was a pleasure to read about the origins of these conflicts. However, be warned that at the time little concern was showed for civilians and the narrative graphically brings to life some of the atrocities that marked this conflict.
There is a lot to this well written novel which is of a good standard for a self published work and the text flowed smoothly holding my attention well. Although it is not set in the Age of Sail will I want to read more of Dawlish's adventures? Yes I will. Recommended.
- ME Latest News
- Created on Tuesday, 26 March 2013
- By Antoine Vanner
The first book in a new series, The Dawlish Chronicles, by Antoine Vanner starting in 1877 as the adoption of steam ironclads starts to take hold, Britannia's Wolf, is now available in paperback. "I'm fascinated by the Victorian period," Vanner says, "for not only was it one of colonial expansion and of Great Power rivalry that often came to the brink of war, but it was also one of unprecedented social, political, technological and scientific change. Britain's power may have been at an apogee but it was under constant threat and would demand constant adaptation from those who aspired to shape events. Many born in the 1840s would not only play significant roles in the later decades of the century but be key players in the maelstrom that would engulf the world in 1914. The Dawlish Chronicles are set in that world of change, uncertainty and risk and they involve projection of naval power to meet complex social, political and diplomatic challenges."
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.
- ME Book Reviews
- Created on Monday, 15 October 2012
- By David Hayes
This is a biography of Lord Charles Beresford who served in the Royal Navy from the 1860's through to just before the start of the First World War. As such it is not only an interesting insight into the man himself but includes a wealth of information on the Navy and its administration in a period that gets little attention, sandwiched as it is between the triumphs of the Age of Sail in Nelson's time and the global conflicts of the World Wars.
I have spent some time thinking about this review as Freeman's work establishes Beresford as a very complex individual and I am still undecided as whether I like him. During his career the Navy saw drastic (and expensive) changes as the relatively new innovation of steam driven ships saw constant updates to design and size culminating in the giant 'Dreadnought' battleships. It must have been a difficult time to serve, in the shadow of the great Nelson and with tactics constantly changing to take account of new weaponry.
- ME Book Reviews
- Created on Tuesday, 18 September 2012
- By Alaric Bond
Roger Paine's book, Clear Lower Deck is a collection of the author's recollections and anecdotes, and provides a fascinating view of the post war Royal Navy from the 'sixties to the early 'eighties. The style is relaxed, competent and extremely easy to read, and the book presents well, in the large format paperback style favoured by Fireship Press. A few illustrations would have been welcome, but this is a minor point. What stands out is the intimate view of the RN of that time; you feel accepted into that tight club, with jargon, slang (always explained), and camaraderie abounding. It is a truly personal account of service life; one which is both authentic and totally captivating.
The author certainly led an active career, with deployments aboard a wide variety of vessels, as well as time at the Ministry of Defence, and on an admiral's staff during the Falklands conflict. Starting as a sixteen year old junior rating, he rose to Commander, a rank he held for several years before opting for retirement. There are no eye witness accounts of great battles or major incidents, but in smaller matters, like entertaining visiting dignitaries, dealing with a manipulative superior, or heading an exercise to secure an ammunition depot, the detail is minute and insight fascinating. Service etiquette is also covered, as well as a good deal of background into various naval traditions. The author even recounts his experiences as he retires from a life he had known since a lad, faces the civilian world, (and further watery perils beyond).