Chris Durbin grew up in the seaside town of Porthcawl in South Wales. His first experience of sailing was as a sea cadet in the treacherous tideway of the Bristol Channel, and at the age of sixteen, he spent a week in a topsail schooner in the Southwest Approaches. He was a crew member on the Porthcawl lifeboat before joining the navy.
Chris spent twenty-four years as a warfare officer in the Royal Navy, serving in all classes of ship from aircraft carriers through destroyers and frigates to the smallest minesweepers. He took part in operational campaigns in the Falkland Islands, the Middle East and the Adriatic. As a personnel exchange officer, he spent two years teaching tactics at a US Navy training centre in San Diego.
On his retirement from the Royal Navy, Chris joined a large American company and spent eighteen years in the aerospace, defence and security industry, including two years on the design team for the Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers.
Chris is a graduate of the Britannia Royal Naval College at Dartmouth, the British Army Command and Staff College, the United States Navy War College (where he gained a postgraduate diploma in national security decision-making) and Cambridge University (where he was awarded an MPhil in International Relations).
With a lifelong interest in naval history and a long-standing ambition to write historical fiction, Chris has embarked upon creating the Carlisle & Holbrooke series, in which a colonial Virginian commands a British navy frigate during the middle years of the eighteenth century.
The series will follow its principal characters through the Seven Years War and into the period of turbulent relations between Britain and her American Colonies in the 1760s. They’ll negotiate some thought-provoking loyalty issues when British policy and colonial restlessness lead inexorably to the American Revolution.
Chris lives on the south coast of England, surrounded by hundreds of years of naval history. His three children are all busy growing their own families and careers while Chris and his wife Lucia (US Navy, retired) enjoy sailing their Cornish Crabber 24 from Chichester Harbour.
Chris has a pet tortoise named Aubrey, an unexpected sixtieth birthday present. If you’ve read Patrick O’Brian’s HMS Surprise, or have seen the 2003 film Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, you’ll recognise the modest act of homage that Chris has paid to that great writer. Rest assured that Aubrey has not yet grown to the gigantic proportions of Testudo Aubreii.