Ever since junior high, when I was introduced to the Hornblower novels of C. S. Forrester. Since then I’ve become a voracious reader of the novels of Alexander Kent, Dudley Pope, and to a lesser degree, and I know I speak heresy here, those of Patrick O’Brian. Lately, I’ve become engrossed in the Alan Lewrie novels of Dewey Lambdin and have found them a worthy addition to a genre which seemed to have passed with Mr. O’Brian.

I can’t adequately explain why these novels appealed to me as I’ve never been beyond the sight of land and my sailing experience is limited to riding ferries or attempting to sail a Sunfish. But the thought of towering masts, clouds of canvas, the roar of cannon, and the hard men who kept them afloat

What I hope to bring together here is a comprehensive source for the era: weapons and armaments, personages, single ship and minor fleet actions, and way of life aboard a man o’war during the Age of Sail.

20 responses to “About

  1. Patrick O'Neill

    I am curious as to the source on Captain Richard Kenah of the bomb vessel HMS Aetna. Your information states he died from a mortar explosion on the Aetna in August 1814. What is the source of this information?

  2. Thank you for visiting my blog. I’m assuming you viewed ‘The Ghost Ship’ artwork that I did. I have always found ships to be fascinating and, like you, I don’t know why. Perhaps it’s from our past generations?
    I, however, am more prone to be drawn to photos/images rather than actual stories. You have an interesting blog here. I’ve ‘Stumbled’ it for you. 🙂

  3. Greetings, and apologies for leaving this message here; I couldn’t find an email contact for you –

    I thought you might be interested in sharing information with your readers about the site I manage, ShipIndex.org. It helps people – genealogists, maritime historians, ship modelers, art historians, and many more – do efficient and comprehensive research on specific vessels. The site quickly tells people what books, journals, databases, CD-ROMs, websites, and more, mention the vessels they’re researching. Over 140,000 entries are available to anyone, without cost or registration. The premium database, at under $10 per month, contains over 1.24 MILLION citations, with more being added all the time.

    If you’d be interested in access to the database for a few weeks so that you can write a more comprehensive review of it, please let me know.

    I believe that you and many of your readers will greatly benefit from both the free and premium versions of the site. Please let me know if you have any questions about it.
    Thanks for your time –

    Peter McCracken

  4. I have a blog about maritime and shipping news. I want to Blogroll (Exchange Link) with your blog.

    My link is:
    Maritime, Shipping News

    If you agree. Please send the infomation about your link. I will take it in all posts , pages of my blog.

    Thank a lot.

  5. I’d like to send you my books for review, the Pirates of the Narrow Seas trilogy, but I couldn’t find an email address.

    Book One : The Sallee Rovers

    “Pirates of the Narrow Seas was a dashing good tale full of adventure and mayhem”—Sage Whistler, author of ‘Broken’

    “nail-bitingly intense . . . I highly recommend that you rush out and get this book.”—Alex Beecroft, author of ‘False Colours’

    Lt. Peter Thorton of the 18th century British navy must struggle to come out gay while surviving storms at sea, ship to ship battles, duels, kidnapping, and more in his quest for true love and honor. Pirates of the Narrow Seas is an expertly crafted swashbuckler brimming with authentic detail and fully realized portraits of life at sea, written by a tall ship sailor and internationally acclaimed poet.

    Winner of a Sweet Revolution Award for ‘best full cast’ and ‘Judge’s Pick

  6. Hello,
    Shot in the dark perhaps. I am researching the HBM Amphion and trying to find the location of a painting of the Battle of Lissa by Shetky. It appeared in Tom Pococks book of the battle and on the web is listed as appearing in a display around 1897 (donated by the Misses Gordon so presumably Admiral James Gordons relatives).

    If you have any knowledge of this then I would be grateful to know about it..


    Joss Attridge.

  7. Congratulations! You’re the recipient of a Lovely Blog Award. This community generated blog honors blogs in the field of historical fiction. Some of you are not exactly ‘historical fiction,’ but as as a writer of historical fiction find you useful and interesting, and I think other readers of historical will, too. Several of you are on the list because of the support you’ve given my work as well as others in the under-appreciated field of gay historical fiction–we need more reviews and information about LGBT historical fiction ‘out’ there.

    See the complete list and why I chose each of you at: http://narrowseas.blogspot.com/2010/09/narrow-seas-received-one-lovely-blog.html

    Once you’ve posted your award, select fifteen recipients of your own to pass it on to. This is chain mail of the good kind 🙂


    M. Kei

  8. chrissy sayer

    my surname is SAYER and I came across information about Capt George Sayer which led me to your website, Not sure if we might have been related but strangely I have owned four yachts and have an attraction to the sea!!!
    I would be very interested if you have any further information relating to the captain.
    Many thanks Chrissy Sayer

  9. I am devoted to the same books that you are — and I recently wrote one of my own. I am looking for readers to review it for Amazon (it will be available for free tomorrow, March 15th). Any chance you might want to take a look?

    (it is intended for younger readers than a Hornblower book)


  10. Max

    Hello. We are grateful to the author of the blog and all its readers. We share this interest and created a board game ADMIRAL devoted to Age of Sail with detailed miniatures of sailing ships (Santisima Trinidad, Enterprise series ships, Mercury, White bear). If you are interested, you can follow the link:

  11. I would be honoured to be included in your Blogroll and reciprocate the gesture.

  12. New To This

    I’m curious, why is reading the Aubrey-Maturin series considered “heresy?” I’ve read them and Forester’s Hornblower novels, and I find Hornblower to be rather light and dull compared to Aubrey-Maturin.

    • billcrews

      That isn’t what I said. I said that I prefer Alexander Kent and Dudley Pope to O’Brian and that is heresy because most people who read fiction set in the Age of Sail prefer O’Brian. I think there are maybe three or four Aubrey Maturin novels that I like, the earlier ones. The latter ones I find to be uninteresting.

  13. Hi. Love the site. I’ve linked a number of your articles on the forums for Naval Action. I’ve linked the promotional page for you. Check out the forums, I think you’d enjoy it. Maybe hit can write an artic e on it.

    For fun, here is this year’s poll for the next ships to be built in game:


  14. May I offer a mention of my own humble offering amidst the tow’rin’ classics listed? “The Massacre of Innocents, the continuing voyages of HMS Surprise” is the first of four books with which I strive to perpetuate the flavour and appeal of the Patrick O’Brian wonders. Details can be found at http://www.mainsailvoyagespress.com
    Alan Lawrence

  15. Hi, as a sailor, and longtime marine history buff, I really enjoy this site–and would be honored if you were interested in checking out my own book on navigation, which includes a section on the (maritime) history. It’s called Finding North, out next month with Flatiron/Macmillan, and I’m busting a gut trying to get knowledgeable people interested; any help really, truly appreciated. You can find out more about it at http://www.georgefoy.com. Thanks very much, George Michelsen Foy.

  16. Technomad

    I would love to write some books about the last great age of the Venetian navy, under Admiral Angelo Emo in the mid- to late 18th Century. Unfortunately, source material is incredibly difficult to find—even my Italian friends tell me that there’s very little (other than period sources) available about Adm. Emo, and I’ve never been able to find a good book about the Venetian navy of that time.

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