Welcome to the Carlisle and Holbrooke naval adventures.  The series follows Edward Carlisle, a native of Williamsburg, Virginia, and his protégé George Holbrooke of Wickham, Hampshire, as they navigate the political and professional storms of the Seven Years War through to the War of American Independence.  

North America’s French and Indian War is over, but at the end of 1760 the wider Seven Years War is still raging. Nevertheless, the New England merchants are growing restless at restrictions on trade, and one Rhode Island company is determined to defy the law. Edward Carlisle’s ship

Dartmouth is tasked with blockading the remaining French Caribbean sugar islands. When he intercepts a New England ship suspected of trading with the enemy, he is left with a dilemma between his duty to his king and his loyalty to the colonies where he was born. What should be an open and shut case in the admiralty courts proves to be nothing of the sort.

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By late 1759 it is clear that France is losing the Seven Years War.  In a desperate gamble, the French Atlantic and Mediterranean fleets combine to dominate the Channel and cover a landing in the south of England, but they are annihilated by Admiral Hawke at Quiberon Bay.  Meanwhile a diversionary landing is planned in the north of Britain, sailing from Dunkirk before news of the disaster arrives.

George Holbrooke, newly promoted to post-captain and commanding the frigate Argonaut, joins a squadron sent to intercept the French expedition. The quest takes them north to the Faroe Islands, west to Scotland, Ireland and the Isle of Man and finally to a remote island in the Bristol Channel where the final act is played out.

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It is the summer of 1760 and the British navy reigns supreme on the oceans of the world; only in the Mediterranean is its mastery still seriously challenged. 

Edward Carlisle’s ship Dartmouth is sent to the Ligurian Sea.  His mission: to carry the British envoy to the Kingdom of Sardinia back to its capital, Turin, then to investigate the ships being build in Genoa for the French.

He soon finds that the game of diplomacy is played for high stakes, and the countries bordering the Ligurian Sea are hotbeds of intrigue and treachery, where family loyalties count for little.

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Fort Niagara is the key to the American continent. Whoever owns that lonely outpost at the edge of civilisation controls the entire Great Lakes region. Following Pitt’s grand strategy for 1759 launching a three-pronged attack on Canada, one force would strike across the wilderness to Lake Ontario and the French-held Fort Niagara. The navy is called upon for transport across the rivers and lakes, gaining naval superiority over Lake Ontario in the process.

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With the fall of Louisbourg in 1758 the French in North America were firmly on the back foot. Pitt’s grand strategy for 1759 was to launch a three-pronged attack on Canada. One army would move north from Lake Champlain, and another smaller force would strike across the wilderness to Lake Ontario and French-held Fort Niagara. A third, under Admiral Saunders and General Wolfe, would sail up the Saint Lawrence, and capture Quebec.

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Amphibious warfare was in its infancy in the mid eighteenth century – it was the poor relation of the great fleet actions that the navy so loved. That all changed in 1758 when the British government demanded a campaign of raids on the French Channel ports. In a twist of fate, Holbrooke finds himself unexpectedly committed to this new style of warfare as he is ordered to lead a division of flatboats onto the beaches of Normandy and Brittany.

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The French called it La Fortresse Maudite, the Cursed Fortress. Louisbourg stood at the mouth of the Gulf of St Lawrence, massive and impregnable, a permanent provocation to the British colonies. It was Canada’s first line of defence. It had to fall before a British fleet could be sent up the St Lawrence river. Otherwise, there would be no resupply and no line of retreat; Canada would become the graveyard of George II’s navy.

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It is 1758 and the Seven Years War is at its height. The Duke of Cumberland’s Hanoverian army has been pushed back to the river Elbe while the French are using the medieval fortified city of Emden to resupply their army and to anchor its left flank. George Holbrooke, in command of a sloop-of-war is under orders to survey and blockade the approaches to Emden in advance of the arrival of a British squadron.

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It is 1757, and the British navy is regrouping from a slow start to the Seven Years War. A Spanish colonial governor and his family are pursued through the Caribbean by a pair of mysterious ships from the Dutch island of St. Eustatius. The British frigate Medina rescues the governor from his hurricane-wrecked ship, leading Captain Edward Carlisle and his first lieutenant George Holbrooke into a web of intrigue and half-truths.

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In late 1756, as the British government collapses in the aftermath of the loss of Minorca and the country and navy are thrown into political chaos, a small force of ships is sent to the West Indies to reinforce the Leeward Islands Squadron.

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Captain Carlisle of His Britannic Majesty’s frigate Fury hails from Virginia, a loyal colony of the British Crown. In 1756, as the clouds of war gather in Europe, Fury is ordered to Toulon to investigate a French naval and military build-up.

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