Masters and Commanders

C. S. Forester

As commander-in-chief of His Majesty's ships and vessels in the West Indies, Admiral Hornblower faces pirates, revolutionaries, and a blistering hurricane in the chaotic aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars.

Rafael Sabatini
In 1685, Irish physician Peter Blood is happily settled in a small English town when the rebellion of the Duke of Monmouth interrupts. After saving the life of a wounded nobleman who turns out to be a rebel, Blood is charged with treason and sentenced to ten years as an indentured slave in the Caribbean colonies. On the islands, Blood is recognized for his knowledge as a physician, and thus he develops a romance with a young lady. But their attachment is ill-fated, as her father is the owner of Blood's servitude. When Spaniards attack the colony, Blood and his fellow convicts take advantage of their victory celebration to steal their ship, sailing off to become the boldest and most fearless pirates on the Spanish Main.
William P. Mack

In an exciting novel set in the age of sail, one of the first Scotsmen to command a ship in Nelson's navy battles Spanish and French enemies, as well dangerous seas and his volatile crew, to establish a reputation for himself.

Philip McCutchan
The "grand admiral" of the high seas adventure novel is Philip McCutchan, author of nearly 100 novels. Now, leading the first trade paperback edition of any of McCutchan's work, Convoy North portrays the popular Commodore John Mason Kemp battling World War II's German air and sea attacks in the waters of Norway's North Cape.
John Steinbeck

Steinbeck's first novel is a high seas adventure based on the life of that rum privateer, Captain Henry Morgan.

David Poyer

The year is 1861, and America shudders on the brink of disunion. Elisha Eaker, scion of a wealthy Manhattan banking family, joins the Navy against his father's wishes. He does it as much to avoid an arranged marriage to his cousin, Araminta Van Velsor, as to defend the flag.

C. Northcote Parkinson
This book recounts the earliest adventures of Parkinson's hero, Richard Delancey. Ranked as a midshipman, when the events of the American Revolution and the ongoing hostilities between France and England send him across the sea, Delancey finds himself instrumental in defending the Isle of Jersey, and later, the Rock of Gibraltar.
First of a series.
Joan Druett

"On May 25, 1841, the whaleship Sharon of Fairhaven, Massachusetts, set out for the whaling grounds of the northwestern Pacific under the command of Captain Howes Norris. A year later, while most of the crew was out on the hunt, Norris remained at the helm with four crew members-three of them natives from the Pacific Islands. When the men in the whaleboats spied the Sharon's flag flying at half-mast-a signal of distress-they rowed toward the ship to discover their Captain had been hacked to pieces. His murderers, the Pacific Islanders, were covered in blood and brandishing weapons. Unless the crew could retake the Sharon, their prospects of survival were slim. The nearest land was seven hundred miles away.

"Through recently discovered journals of the ship's cooper and the third officer, award-winning maritime historian Joan Druett unearths the mystery of the ill-fated whaleship.... Dramatically and meticulously recreating the events of the Sharon, Druett pieces together a voyage filled with savagery and madness under the command of one of the most ruthless captains to sail the high seas. In the Wake of Madness brings to life a riveting story and exposes the secrets that followed the men of the Sharon to their graves."

Julian Stockwin

Thomas Paine Kydd, a young wig-maker from Guildford, is seized and taken across the country to be part of the crew of the ninety-eight-gun line-of-battle ship Duke William. The ship sails immediately and Kydd has to learn the harsh realities of shipboard life fast. First of a series.

Patrick O'Brian

This, the first in the splendid series of Jack Aubrey novels, establishes the friendship between Captain Aubrey, R.N., and Stephen Maturin, ship's surgeon and intelligence agent, against a thrilling backdrop of the Napoleonic wars. Details of life aboard a man-of-war are faultlessly rendered: the conversational idiom of the officers in the ward room and the men on the lower deck, the food, the floggings, the mysteries of the wind and the rigging, and the roar of broadsides as the great ships close in battle.

Alexander Kent

Two novels in one: young Bolitho joins the Gorgon and battles pirates off the coast of Africa; at home, he helps clear the Cornwall coast of smugglers.
Book 1 of the Richard Bolitho novels.

Herman Melville

Captain Ahab's obsessive quest to destroy the great white whale that tore off his leg leads the Pequod and its crew to disaster.

Michel Faber and C. S. Forester

He was the penniless son of a minister who joined the Navy at a low rank to repay his father's debts. A collection of ten short stories follow the early and brilliant career of Horatio Hornblower.

Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall

The thrilling account of the strange, eventful, and tragic voyage of His Majesty's Ship Bounty in 1788-1789, which culminated in Fletcher Christian's mutiny against Captain Bligh.

Dudley Pope
The young lieutenant takes up special orders direct from Nelson himself which bring news of a mission close to his own heart. In a daring foray, under the very nose of the French Mediterranean fleet, Ramage is to sail his tiny cutter close in to the Italian shore and rescue a party of stranded aristocrats from Napoleon's fast-advancing army.
First of a series.
Dudley Pope

The young lieutenant takes up special orders direct from Nelson himself which bring news of a mission close to his own heart. In a daring foray, under the very nose of the French Mediterranean fleet, Ramage is to sail his tiny cutter close in to the Italian shore and rescue a party of stranded aristocrats from Napoleon's fast-advancing army. First of a series.

Dudley Pope

Ordered to Naples after the battle of Trafalgar, Ramage and the Calypso are given fresh orders. The Barbary Coast pirates--the Saracens--are active in Sicily again, and terrorizing fishing ports. Ramage and his crew are sent to Sicily to track down the Saracens before they can attack another town.  Part of a series.

James L. Nelson

Former swashbuckler Thomas Marlowe and his wife have settled in 1702 Tidewater Virginia where they immediately make enemies by freeing their slaves. Planning to set to sea again, to make his fortune plundering rival merchant vessels, Captain Marlowe finds himself bound instead to hunt down an old friend who has killed the captain of a slave ship and has now set sail for Africa.
Book 2 of the Brethren of the Coast series.

Richard Woodman
Captain Nathaniel Drinkwater is caught up in the complex bloody Battle of Copenhagen, and must save his ship and help his brother escape the gallows.
Herman Wouk
Captain Queeg's increasingly bizarre behavior leads his first officer to relieve him of command during a crisis.
Based on the author's experiences aboard an American destroyer in World War II. This book won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1952.
Douglas Kelley

This fictionalized story is based on the life of Mary Ann Patten, who went from sea captain's wife to skipper of her husband's ship when he fell ill. He recovered enough to make her life even more difficult. Entertaining and fascinating.

David Donachie

In 1793, privateer Harry Ludlow finds himself aboard the navy's 74-gun Magnanime, with his younger brother James. In command is Oliver Carter, a captain with whom Harry has an unfortunate history. When James is found standing over the body of a dead officer, Harry's feud shifts into the background. But dark secrets start to surface on all sides.
First of the Privateersman series.

David Donachie

In 1793, privateer Harry Ludlow finds himself aboard the navy's 74-gun Magnanime, with his younger brother James. In command is Oliver Carter, a captain with whom Harry has an unfortunate history. When James is found standing over the body of a dead officer, Harry's feud shifts into the background. But dark secrets start to surface on all sides. First of the Privateersman series.

James L. Nelson
A naval adventure whose hero commands a warship, defending colonial Virginia from pirates. On land he faces danger as well for he killed a tobacco planter in a duel over a woman and the family wants revenge.
Book 1 of the Brethren of the Coast series.

Dewey Lambdin

In 1780, 17-year-old Alan Lewrie is rebellious and close to being a libertine, so much so that his father believes a bit of naval discipline will turn the boy around. Fresh aboard the king's ship ARIADNE, Midshipman Lewrie heads for the war-torn Americas, finding - rather unexpectedly - that he is a born sailor, equally at home on bawdy shore leave or afloat and in battle at sea.
First of a series.

Jack London

Pressed into service aboard the Ghost, Humphrey Van Weyden becomes an unwilling participant in a tense shipboard drama. The vessel's deranged and abusive captain, Wolf Larsen, perpetrates an atmosphere of increasing violence that ultimately boils into mutiny, shipwrick, and a desperate confrontation.

Rafael Sabatini

Oliver Tressilian helped defeat the Spanish Armada only to be betrayed by his half-brother, forcing him to become a fugitive. Now a pirate off the Barbary Coast and follower of Islam, Captain Tressilain, the Sea-Hawk, finds adventure and romance in his new life.

Steven Pressfield

"As the pride of Achilles drove the course of the Trojan War, so Alcibiades' will and ambition set their stamp upon the Peloponnesian War--the twenty-seven-year civil conflagration between the Athenian empires, Sparta, and the Peloponnesian league. As a commander on land and sea, Alcibiades was never defeated. The destinies of Athens and her favored son were inextricably intertwined. Man and city mirrored each other in boldness, ambition, and vulnerability. Allied, they swept from victory to victory. Apart, he guided her foes to glory."

Michael Scott

In the West Indies, where war, piracy, smuggling, and slave running are the order of the day, the hero of this tale advances from midshipman to lieutenant to a command of his own: the audacious little Wasp.