There have been two recent releases in The Merriman Chronicles by Roger Burnage which are now available for kindle download worldwide.
In the year 1801 and Captain James Merriman aboard his ship Lord Stevenage is despatched to South America along with a small flotilla. A passenger by the name of George Humphries - part of the extensive network of English spies and agents controlled by a department of the Treasury – has orders for Merriman to seek out intelligence about England's enemies, particularly France and Spain.
Merriman and crew are also to try and find one Don Carlos Galiano whom he had narrowly missed capturing in the West Indies several years previously. Galiano is known to be behind smuggling and privateer activities in south Atlantic waters and is rumoured to be in Montevideo.
There are battles with a French frigate and a Spanish one with an assortment of privateers - little more than pirates - who prey on shipping of any nation in the south Atlantic.
But another secret purpose behind this voyage is to recover important documents and treasure from a wrecked Indiaman in Brazil, the location of which is unknown apart from some very incoherent details from the sole surviving crew member.
Can Merriman be successful in all that with the French, Spanish and even the native population is against him?
The year is 1809 - late autumn. Captain Sir James Abel Merriman is despatched to Gibraltar to take command of a seventy four gun third rate ship of the line - HMS Thunder - with orders to escort a convoy through the Mediterranean to Malta and on to the Adriatic to find Captain William Hoste.
Once again seconded to the Treasury - an arrangement with which he has become very familiar – Merriman is joined by Mr. Clarke who is to secretly go ashore and report on French activity whilst the squadron does as much damage as possible to French ports, forts and convoys.
When given the command, Merriman had felt that he had at last reached the heights of his naval career but he had quickly come down to earth as he realised the greater problems he had to face with command of such a big ship. Dogged by problems with a slow ship in the convoy, a difficult officer and shipboard discipline, there is little time to prepare the crew before they encounter a new French 74 with devastating consequences including severe injury to Merriman himself and the loss of over 150 men.