My HNF blog includes author interviews, subsequent edition releases, any other nautical literature news, etc.

The Dutch in the MedwayThis year sees the 350th anniversary of the Dutch attack on the Medway in June 1667 during the Second Anglo-Dutch war. A number of events are planned to mark this anniversary. Also a book first published in 1970, The Dutch in the Medway by P. G. Rogers, is to be re-released and as few original copies are available this will be the first chance many who want to know more about this conflict will have to read it.

According to J. D. Davies, author of The Journals of Matthew Quinton, an expert on the navies of the period who is writing a foreword for the new edition "..... his account remains the fullest available in English, and is highly readable". It is available for pre-order and will be released in the UK on 28 February 2017 and in the US on 15 April 2017.

To quote the cover "The daring raid on the Medway in June 1667, when the Dutch navigated the treacherous shoals and sandbanks of the Thames estuary and the Medway in order to attack King Charles's ships laid up below Chatham, was one of the worst defeats in the Royal Navy's history, and a serious blow to the pride of the English crown. Perhaps the greatest humiliation was the removal by the Dutch of the flagship Royal Charles, towed down river after the raid and taken back to Holland. Her stern piece resides in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam to this day. The raid, intended to bring to an end English procrastination at the peace negotiations in Breda, was to cause simmering resentment and lead eventually to the Third Dutch War. As Pepys wrote in his diary on 29 July 1667, Thus in all things, in wisdom, courage, force, knowledge of our own streams, and success, the Dutch have the best of us, and do end the war with victory on their side. P G Rogers account of the raid, and its significance within the Second Anglo-Dutch War between Britain and the United Provinces of the Netherlands, is vividly told and he sheds much interesting light on the English navy of Pepys's day. His particular knowledge of the Medway and the topography of Gillingham and Chatham also enables him to describe the manoeuvres at a level of detail that has not been replicated."

Powder MonkeyBack in the 1970's Kenneth Bulmer, writing under the pseudonym of Adam Hardy, released a series of fourteen naval fiction books. They follow the career of George Abercrombie Fox who "would become the toughest bastard who ever walked the rolling deck of a fighting ship!".

Popularity of the series fell off at the time leading to substantially reduced print runs, however subsequently it has had something of a cult following leading to a vibrant second hand market. This in turn has led to some of the later books which are hard to come by being offered for high prices.

In good news, for the fans if not those seeking a profit, the series is coming back into print through the offices of Thunderchild Publishing in both paperback and kindle versions, the first of which was released on 19 January. The series is to be released in chronological order, unlike the originals, so there will be some differences in the volume number. Accordingly volume 1 is Powder Monkey.

I understand that subsequent volumes will be released at the rate of approximately one a week so you will not have long to wait for those elusive later volumes.

Lee Henschel Jr.Historic Naval Fiction is pleased to have obtained an Interview with Lee Henschel Jr. author of the first book in a new series, The Sailing Master.

What can you tell us about your book The Sailing Master without spoiling the plot for readers?

I meant for this story to resonate with a great range of readers . . . a story for lovers of sea novels, particularly for those who love the golden age of sail. But, just as importantly, if not more so, I wanted to to create a main character who readers care about, who see themselves in the character, or to learn how life is for someone very different than them.

Well, The Sailing Master certainly provides a great plenty of the naming of things on a sailing ship, of descriptions of the sea and the weather, the sounds and the smells, the feel of HMS Eleanor as she rolls on a big sea. Foreign ports.

And we also follow the thoughts and feelings of the narrator, Owen Harriet . . . his first day aboard Eleanor, how it was the first time he went aloft, the endless procession of characters. Making friends. Loosing them.

The story is a coming of age for the narrator, Owen, spoken in his own charming (I hope) vocabulary and cadence. I hope to have created a main character who people will love . . . someone whose voice they hear.

weymouth leviathanThe inaugural Weymouth Leviathan, a Maritime Literary Festival held in Weymouth, Dorset, UK, will take place next year over two days, 12 & 13 March.

There are many speakers appearing on a wide range of nautical subjects and among them are a number of Naval Fiction authors including Antoine Vanner (on Hazard in Nautical Fiction: Facets of Fear and Courage), J. D. Davies (on Samuel Pepys and Charles II’s Navy), Julian Stockwin (on The Real Jack Tar) and Richard Woodman (on The Making of a Sea Officer in Fact and Fiction).

For those who like the non-fiction works on the subject the speakers also include David Childs (on the Mary Rose) and James Davey (on the post Trafalgar war at sea)

Further information can be found on the festival website

© 2008-2023 David Hayes (Astrodene)