I’m a couple of weeks late, but here is a rare photograph of a gathering of four naval fiction authors. The occasion was the annual dinner of the Society for Nautical Research on board the restored HMS Warrior in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.
Left to right: Chris & Lucia Durbin (The Carlisle & Holbrooke series, set in the Seven Years War), Kitty & Alaric Bond (The Fighting Sail series set in the Napoleonic Wars), Jan & Philip K. Allan (the Alexander Clay Napoleonic War series and the Wolves WW2 series) and Antoine Vanner (The Dawlish Chronicles, set in the Victorian era).
It was great getting together, here’s hoping for a repeat in future.
I’m pleased to report that Treacherous Moon has been published in Paperback and Kindle and is also available to Kindle Unlimited subscribers. This is the twelfth in the Carlisle & Holbrooke series and it takes George Holbrooke to the expedition against the French island of Belle Isle in 1761. It’s a darker tale than the first eleven books, dealing with espionage and betrayal and the mental and physical exhaustion that comes with years of warfare. The book cover offers a foretaste of the subject.
You can secure a copy of Treacherous Moon on any of the Amazon websites but for convenience the following links will take you to some of the most popular national sites:
It can take a week for the all the Amazon sites to make the linkages with the other books in the series and to make the book available in all formats, so don’t be surprised if you don’t see the whole set of Carlisle & Holbrooke adventures advertised when you search for Treacherous Moon.
As always, if you would like a signed paperback copy, just contact me by replying to this post.
If you choose to read Treacherous Moon, I very much hope you enjoy the story.
*Falstaff explaining his nocturnal behaviour. William Shakespeare, Henry IV Part I
Falconer’s Marine Dictionary is the most used reference book in my study. It was first published in 1769, so it’s contemporary with the era of the Carlisle & Holbrooke series. Falconer fills 328 pages with English terms, followed by a further 83 pages of French translations. It’s a monumental work, and it helps me add technical authenticity to my writing.
There has always been a link to an online version of this book on my website and in each of the books of the series, but the edition that it was linked to didn’t have the excellent diagrams that Falconer must have spent years creating. Yesterday a reader of the series kindly sent me a link to a first (1769) edition of Falconer, complete with all the diagrams. You can find it by following the link below, and I’ll include it in all future Carlisle & Holbrooke books.
The first copy of the paperback had just arrived. My friend Bob Payne painted the image of a fourth rate ship-of-the-line and an armed cutter, with the Pitons of St. Lucia in the background. I particularly like the way the full moon shines on the surface of the sea. It’s called a ‘Moonglade,‘ I understand. Very lyrical. Thanks, Bob.
I’m delighted to announce that the eleventh book in the series is now available.
CARLISLE’S DUTY is set in the Caribbean but ranges as far as New England and Virginia
North America’s French and Indian War may be over, but at the end of 1760, the wider Seven Years War is still raging in Europe and across the seas of the world. Nevertheless, the New England merchants are growing restless at the restrictions on their trade with the French islands, and one Rhode Island company is determined to defy the law and bring home a cargo of contraband molasses.
Edward Carlisle’s ship Dartmouth is assigned to the Leeward Islands Squadron, 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.
Meanwhile, the French navy can still influence events, as Carlisle discovers when he is confronted by an enemy battle squadron with only a frigate to support him.
Carlisle’s Duty is the eleventh Carlisle and Holbrooke novel. The series follows the two sea officers through the Seven Years War and into the period of turbulent relations between Britain and her American colonies prior to their bid for independence.
This is something of a landmark. 10 books published, 100,000 copies sold, 1,000,000 words written. We’ll be celebrating!
Nor’west By North
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, and it sails from Dunkirk before news of the disaster at Quiberon Bay can reach its commander. The ill-fated expedition sets out to circumnavigate Britain in an attempt to salvage something from the failed strategy.
George Holbrooke, newly promoted to post-captain and commanding the frigate Argonaut, joins a squadron sent to intercept the French expedition. The quest takes him to Sweden, the Faroes, the Western Isles of Scotland and then to Ireland and the Isle of Man. The final act is played out at a secluded anchorage in the Bristol Channel.
Nor’west by North is the tenth Carlisle and Holbrooke novel. The series follows Carlisle and his protégé Holbrooke through the Seven Years War and into the period of turbulent relations between Britain and her American colonies prior to their bid for independence.
Carlisle’s ship Dartmouth joins the Mediterranean Squadron in the late spring of 1760. As the smallest class of ships-of-the-line, Dartmouth isn’t wanted in the squadron’s line-of-battle and is sent to the Kingdom of Sardinia to deliver the British Envoy, then to cruise the Italian coast. It sounds like a simple task but Carlisle falls out with the envoy, is attacked by a vastly superior French seventy-four gun ship, and finds that all is not well with his wife’s Sardinian family. The Ligurian Sea – the area between Corsica, France and what is now northwest Italy – is the scene of Captain Carlisle’s greatest challenge so far as he balances politics, family and the enemy; and finds it difficult to disentangle the three.
I’m pleased to let you know that Niagara Squadron is now available on Amazon.
This is the eighth book in the Carlisle and Holbrooke Naval Adventures. The year is 1759 and Holbrooke is without a ship. He is sent to North America to join the army that is setting off across the wilderness to capture Fort Niagara from the French. Although Holbrooke’s orders are merely to manage the six hundred boats that will carry the army across rivers and lakes, he knows that he will also have to deal with the French navy, which operates the only men-o’-war on Lake Ontario.
Many of us have a mental image of the characters in the books that we read. I asked my friend Bob Payne to create pictures of the two main characters in the Carlisle & Holbrooke naval adventures, principally so that readers could see what the uniforms of the time looked like.
The first uniforms for British sea officers were instituted by Admiralty Order of 13th April 1748, and they applied only to admirals, captains, commanders, lieutenants and midshipmen; warrant officers were not included in the initial order and it would be very many years before a uniform existed for the common sailors.
These pictures show the working uniforms (or ‘frock’ coats). There was a more elaborate dress uniform for formal occasions. For daily wear aboard ship the coat would often be discarded, and in hot weather the long waistcoat may also have been removed.
This uniform was replaced by a new design in 1767, so it had a relatively short life that nevertheless covered the Seven Years’ War and a few years beyond.
The original patterns for the uniforms no longer exist and we can’t be sure how universally the uniform was adopted and how slavishly the patterns were followed. The portraits and examples that still exist suggest that there was a fair amount of personal choice in the details.
You can find biographical details of the two men here:
The latest Quarterdeck magazine is now available for free download. It’s packed with news about nautical writing and on page 21 you can read a review of Perilous Shore by the editor of the magazine, George Jepson.
On page 8, you can read all about Antoine Vanner and his Dawlish Chronicles, set in the Victorian Navy
If you ever wondered about the story of carronades, then Philip K. Allan, the author of the Alexander Clay novels has written an excellent article on page 18.
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.