C. Northcote Parkinson

Cyril Northcote Parkinson (1909-1993) was born in the north of England. In 1929 he won an Exhibition to study history at Emmanuel College at the University of Cambridge. As an undergraduate, Parkinson developed an interest in naval history, which he pursued when the Pellew family gave him access to family papers at the recently established National Maritime Museum. The papers formed the basis of his first book, Edward Pellew, Viscount Exmouth, Admiral of the Red. In 1934, then enrolled as a graduate student at King's College London, he wrote his Ph.D. thesis on Trade and War in the Eastern Seas, 1803-1810, which was awarded the Julian Corbett Prize in Naval History for 1935.

He pursued a distinguished worldwide academic career and first became known for "Parkinson's Law," which states that work expands to fill the time allotted to it. Parkinson wrote many books concentrated on British politics and economics. His first fictional effort, a "biography" of Horatio Hornblower, met with considerable acclaim and led directly to his historic naval fiction series about Richard Delancey. It is based on the life of a Guernseyman and brings Channel Islands influence to the genre.

Age of Sail: Fiction

AOS Naval Fiction

Series: Richard Delancey
Year Book Comment
1760   Born in St. Peter Port, Guernsey
The Guernseyman Arriving to become clerk to his mothers uncle, Richard finds him gone & becomes involved in the Liverpool riots. To avoid prison he joins the navy and is appointed captains clerk on the Romney. Shortly he moves to the gunroom as a Midshipman but is transferred to shore duty on arrival in America.
1793   Lieutenant Frigate Artemis. After giving evidence against his captain at a court martial appointed Lieutenant receiving ship Grafton
Devil to Pay Without a seagoing appointment Delancey accepts a temporary appointment as commander of the cutter Royalist. This is short lived and he takes temporary command of the revenue cutter Rose. From this he obtains the captaincy of the privateer Nemesis at which he is successful. The ship is wrecked near the Spanish border & Delancey travels through Spain to gain intelligence as a result of which he is rescued and appointed Lieutenant of the Medusa
The Fireship With Medusa paid of he serves on the Glatton through the Nore mutiny and is first lieutenant at the battle of Camperdown. He is then Lieutenant in Command of an antiquated fireship Spitfire and destroys a French ship of the line with it.
Touch & Go After taking command of the sloop Merlinat Gibraltar Delancey takes part in the siege of Malta and the Battle of Algeciras
So Near, So Far With the peace over Delancey is given command of the frigate Vengeance. They are deployed defending the channel and are involved with early steam ships
Dead Reckoning Now commanding the 28 gun frigate Laura Delancey takes part in the capture of Capetown and is then sent to escort the china fleet. His next task is to destroy the privateer Subtile following which he forms part of the squadron blockading Mauritius. Upon the islands capture he assumes command of the 40 gun prize frigate Minerva in which he defeats 2 other frigates and returns home to be knighted.
Series: n/a
Year Book Comment
  The Life and Times of Horatio Hornblower  A Biography of C.S. Forester's Famous Naval Hero
  Portsmouth Point: The Navy in Fiction, 1793-1815 An anthology of seafaring fiction


AOS Naval Non Fiction

Series: n/a
Year Book Comment
  Samuel Walters,
Lieutenant R.N.
Chronicles the remarkable tale of a young naval officer who fought around the world in the service of Admiral Lord Nelson

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