More Summer Selections!

more summer a
Summer is a great time to be out on the water in a small boat. I have very fond memories of helming a navy whaler in Sydney harbour and also sailing my first boat in Tasmanian waters when on leave. There have been many books written about sailors and their craft – and these often appeal to landlubbers as much as mariners. From iconic figures such as Robin Knox-Johnston to a tribute to Arthur Ransome, to the lives and loss of those who never returned I’ve chosen three books from my library. And no sailor can ignore the weather – a bonus title in this selection is a useful guide to just what’s behind the winds, clouds and sea state at any given time.

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Knox-Johnston on Seamanship & Seafaring by Robin Knox-Johnston

more summer1On 14th June 1968 Robin Knox-Johnston set sail from Falmouth to take part in the Sunday Times Golden Globe Race – the first, non-stop, single-handed sailing race around the world. He was an unknown 29-year old Merchant Navy Officer. Ten and a half months later he sailed back into Falmouth, the only finisher in the race and the first man to complete a non-stop solo circumnavigation. Since then he has had an illustrious sailing career, with three further circumnavigations, including the fastest circumnavigation and last racing solo round the world in 2007, aged 68. Few people have sailed as many miles as Robin! Now, 50 years since setting out on the Golden Globe Race, one of the world’s greatest yachtsmen shares his thoughts on seamanship and seafaring.

Racundra’s Third Cruise by Arthur Ransome, edited and compiled by Brian Hammett

more summer2Most people know Arthur Ransome as the author of the classic children’s sailing tale ‘Swallows & Amazons‘ Before he wrote this book Ransome was a journalist for the Daily News, based in Russia. He is reputed to have played chess against Lenin and he married Trotsky’s secretary. Ransome cruised extensively in the Baltic in the 1920s on board his beloved ‘Racundra‘. His account of his first cruise on that boat was ‘Racundra’s First Cruise‘. A second cruise was spoilt by bad weather, but a third cruise was special – it was his honeymoon. Ransome intended to publish the account of this cruise, but never finished it. Ransome enthusiast Brian Hammett, using the unpublished manuscript and Ransome’s hand-written notes, diaries, logbooks and photographs, compiled this delightful little tome, out now in paperback.

Last Voyages by Nicholas Gray

more summer3This collection of eleven moving accounts of tragic final voyages is also a celebration of achievement and the courageous human spirit. Included are world-renowned racers, like Eric Tabarly and Rob James, highly experienced cruisers and adventurers, like Peter Tangvald and Bill Tilman, and the notoriously ill-prepared Donald Crowhurst. All the men and women described in the book were friends with or known to the author who himself competed in several short-handed long distance races, where he met and raced against many of these fascinating characters. A number of black and white photographs showcase the sailors and their yachts in this poignant tribute.

The Sailor’s Book of the Weather by Simon Keeling

more summer 4This book introduces the key principles that influence the weather and gives the sailor – or landlubber venturing forth on the water – the tools to forecast from observations and make the most of available information. Wind, clouds and knowledge of weather patterns and local conditions all contain ample hints to allow the informed forecaster on the high seas to accurately predict the weather. Illustrated with charts and over 100 photographs, this book is written in straightforward language with the science presented in an easy-to-digest manner.


Still looking for bookish inspiration?

You might also like to take a peek at my other BookPicks this year this year
And I have a very limited number of Signed First Editions, which I’m happy to inscribe with a personal message
Enjoy!

Summer Selections

With summer well underway in the Northern Hemisphere one of the great pleasures of this time of year is relaxing outdoors with a good book – and a chilled beverage. This BookPick features three engrossing reads for the beach or patio plus two additional offerings, one on knots, splices and whippings; the other providing the means to construct a complete paper fleet of the Battle of Trafalgar. And last but not least, my favourite recipe for rum punch is thrown in!

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The Battle of Trafalgar by Florian Richter and Peter Dennis

summer blog1With just a craft knife and glue you can form line of battle once again for the iconic engagement that saw both victory for England and the tragic death of Admiral Lord Nelson. This book will appeal particularly to wargamers but also to all those looking to more fully appreciate the genius of Nelson. Several companion books are recommended by the authors including the excellent ‘The Trafalgar Companion’ by Mark Adkin, which was one of the many references I consulted when writing my Kydd title, Victory.

Knot Know-How by Steve Judkins and Tim Davison

summer blog2This compact little volume begins with the ten knots everyone should know then describes over 40 other knots. You will learn how to seize (sew or bind two ropes together); whip (stop the end of a rope unstranding); and splice (join ropes permanently together). Knots are often difficult to follow in pictures but these are exceptionally clear and easy to follow in their multi-colour detail. With very clear step-by-step diagrams, modern-day sailors will find much of interest, and students of the age of sail can practice some of the knots that every ordinary seaman in Kydd’s day had to learn.

Seafurrers by Philippa Sandall

summer blog4Sailors often have a soft spot for felines and through much of history cats have been found aboard both naval and merchant ships, not just to keep the rodent population in check, but as much-loved companions. This delightful little book presents thirty-eight true tales of furry shipmates, including Trim (who circumnavigated Australia); Tom (the sole feline survivor of the sinking of USS ‘Maine’) and Simon (a veteran of the Yangtze Incident). Charmingly illustrated with the most original and entrancing of creations I’ve seen, the book is also chock full of maritime trivia. It will be right there by me for my next sea trip.
Purrfectly heartwarming…

The Grey Wolves of Eriboll by David M Hird

summer blog5The surrender on Loch Eriboll of the German U-boat fleet at the end of World War II was perhaps the principal event in the war’s endgame which signified to the British people that peace really had arrived. This revised, updated and expanded new edition gives career details of not only the 33 commanders who accompanied their boats to Loch Eriboll but also of a further 23 previous commanders of those U-boats. It also provides a wealth of historical insights and personal memories of those who witnessed the events and is a remarkably interesting read. A definitive account of a secret mass surrender of interest to all students of naval history.


And now for the rum recipe:

Stockwin’s Rum Punch
One part sour (lemon or lime juice)
Two parts sweet (sugar or syrup)
Three parts strong (dark rum)
Four parts weak (water)
Grated nutmeg to taste
Serve well chilled with ice

Be warned; they’re addictive!


Still looking for bookish inspiration?

You might also like to take a peek at my other BookPicks this year this year
And I have a very limited number of Signed First Editions, which I’m happy to inscribe with a personal message
Enjoy!

The Iberian Flame: Reader Reviewers Wanted!

The Iberian Flame is the next book in the Kydd series, out in June. Five Early Copies will be up for grabs for reader reviewers! For a chance to win one just email julian@julianstockwin.com with ‘Iberian Flame Reviewer’ in the subject line. Please include your full postal address. Deadline: May 7. The first five drawn out of the hat will be the winning copies and will go out mid-May.

IberianFlame cover

Here’s a taster of the book:

1808. With the Peninsula in turmoil, Napoleon Bonaparte signs a treaty to dismember Portugal and put his brother, Joseph, on the throne of Spain. Meanwhile, Nicholas Renzi, the Lord Farndon, undertakes a deadly mission to stir up partisan unrest to disrupt this Napoleonic alliance with Spain.

Thrust into the crucible of the uprising, Captain Sir Thomas Kydd is dismayed to come up against an old foe from his past – now his superior and commander – who is determined to break him. Kydd will soon face the greatest decision of his professional career. Bonaparte, incensed by the reverses suffered to his honour, gathers together a crushing force and marches at speed into Spain. After several bloody encounters the greatly outnumbered British expedition have no option other than make a fighting retreat to the coast. Only the Navy can save them.
But the flame of insurrection has been lit – and the Peninsular War has begun.

‘Quarterdeck’ featured the book in the latest issue:

‘The Iberian Flame is classic Stockwin, driven by a gripping pace that begs the reader to turn page after page to learn what happens next. As with previous titles in the canon, the writing is strong, creating a delightful and ever-expanding historical canvas.’

(Download the magazine)


The Iberian Flame will be published in hardback, ebook and audio download on June 14 in the UK by Hodder & Stoughton. It will also be available in the States in ebook and audiodownload at that time, with the hardback coming out in August

Stockwin Titles: What’s Out When (updated)

IberianFlameHB_packshot2018 is shaping up to be a busy publishing year for me. As well as two new Kydd titles, The Iberian Flame and A Sea of Gold in hardback, there are two paperbacks of previous titles coming out. As usual, all the books will also be available in ebook and audiobook. So here are the publications dates for this year
June 14 The Iberian Flame launched in ebook and audio download worldwide.
Out in hardback in the UK and Australia/New Zealand. (The Iberian Flame will also be available as a trade paperback in Australia/New Zealand.)
The Baltic Prize out in paperback in the UK and Australia/New Zealand.
August 14 The Iberian Flame released in hardback in the US and Canada along with The Baltic Prize in paperback
October 18 The Iberian Flame out in paperback in the UK
November 1  A Sea of Gold published in hardback, audiobook and ebook worldwide. Out in hardback in the UK, Australia, New Zealand. (A Sea of Gold will also be available as a trade paperback in Australia & New Zealand)
[Jan 8, 2019] A Sea of Gold hardback out in the US and Canada
There are still just a few Collectors Sets available but these are strictly limited to 500 Sets so don’t delay to avoid disappointment.

And from time to time I have a very small number of Signed First Editions available to purchase

And last but not least, do check out Book Depository for discounts and free shipping worldwide of all my books

Stockwin Titles: What’s Out When

IberianFlameHB_packshot2018 is shaping up to be a busy publishing year for me. As well as two new Kydd titles, The Iberian Flame and A Sea of Gold in hardback, there are two paperbacks of previous titles coming out. As usual, all the books will also be available in ebook and audiobook. So here are the publications dates for this year
June 14 The Iberian Flame hardback, ebook and audio download plus The Baltic Prize paperback out in the UK
June 14 The Iberian Flame ebook and audio download available in the US
August 14 The Iberian Flame hardback out in the US
August 14 The Iberian Flame trade paperback released in Canada
October 1 Inferno paperback published in US
October 3 Persephone hardback out in the US and trade paperback in Canada
November 1  The Sea of Gold out in hardback, audiobook and ebook in the UK
November 1 A Sea of Gold released in ebook in the US
[Jan 2, 2019] A Sea of Gold hardback out in the US and Canada
There are still just a few Collectors Sets available but these are strictly limited to 500 Sets so don’t delay to avoid disappointment.
And from time to time I have a very small number of Signed First Editions available to purchase

And last but not least, do check out Book Depository for discounts and free shipping worldwide of all my books

BookPick: The Undersea World

Readers of the Kydd series will recall several mentions of machines that enable humans to swim with the fishes. In Invasion Kydd meets the gifted but enigmatic inventor Robert Fulton and his prototype submarine. And in Inferno Kydd himself braves the world beneath the waves in a diving contraption. I have warm memories of learning to scuba dive in the Philippines and thrown in free was an amazing close encounter with a twenty-ton whale shark! This month’s BookPicks focus on two different aspects of the undersea world, with a magnificent new book from Iain Ballantyne on the military deployment of submarines and a delightful little tome on the quest for treasure in shipwrecks. There’s also a special contest at the end of this blog for two lucky readers to win a copy of Ballantyne’s book.

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The Deadly Trade by Iain Ballantyne

march blog 1At over 700 pages, this thrilling narrative certainly justifies its subtitle: The Complete History of Submarine Warfare from Archimedes to the Present. Considered ineffectual and originally derided and loathed in equal measure – their crews viewed as no better than pirates – submarines have over the centuries evolved into the most powerful and terrifying vessels at sea, some carrying enough nuclear weapons to destroy mankind.

Using key episodes of submarine warfare – including the first sinking of a ship by a submersible during the American Civil War, the legendary struggles of WWI and WWII and the deadly shadow games of the Cold War Ballantyne’s history addresses not just how these vessels evolved but highlights the human cost of those who risked their lives under the sea, often with fatal consequences. The Deadly Trade also deals with the resurgence of submarines as political and military tools in recent conflicts.

Enhanced with well-chosen photographs and maps, along with comprehensive appendices and notes, this epic story should appeal not just to those who venture into Neptune’s Realm but students of history and politics – and any with a fascination for the efforts of dreamers and inventors over the ages.

Diving for Treasure by Vic Verlinden and Stefan Panis

March blog 2Having enjoyed reading Dive Scapa Flow I looked forward to this new diving book from Whittles Publishing. The authors, both skilled divers and underwater photographers, discuss seventeen undersea wrecks – presenting details and a brief history of each vessel, including the manner of their demise and the cargo they were carrying at the time.

Verlinden and Panis personally visited and photographed the wrecks and as many of the these lie at great depths diving on them posed considerable personal and technical challenges. It is sobering to note that salvage operations often extend over a long time – it took seven years to recover the bulk of the 43 tons (!) of gold aboard SS Laurentic.

This book will appeal to all those who venture into Neptune’s underwater realm, whether active or armchair, and to anyone with an interest in maritime/military history.


Win a copy of ‘The Deadly Trade’
For a chance to win a copy email julian@julianstockwin.com with the name of the maritime magazine which Iain Ballantyne edits.
Please include your full postal address.
Two winners will be drawn at random from all correct entries.
Deadline: Midnight GMT Thursday 22 March

BookPick: Four for February

As a change from my largely sea-oriented selections this BookPick focuses on life ashore – with a witty discourse on the Georgian world of the elegant dining room, and the amazing story of Mrs Biggs, who certainly didn’t conform to the time’s expectations of her sex. As well, there’s a light-hearted compilation of animal tales of the 18th and 19th centuries, and an account of the last governor of Hong Kong, a colony that grew from a barren rock in Kydd’s day to a global powerhouse.

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The Pug Who Bit Napoleon by Mimi Matthews

Feb1From elaborate Victorian cat funerals to a Regency-era pony who took a ride in a hot air balloon, Matthews shares some of the quirkiest and most poignant animal tales of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. And who knew that a dog disrupted Napoleon’s wedding night! Based on eighteenth and nineteenth century books, letters, journals, and newspapers, these animal tales, sometimes humorous, sometimes heartbreaking, provide a fascinating read for animal lovers of all ages. Enhanced with colour illustrations, this is delightful book to dip into!

A Georgian Heroine by Joanne Major and Sarah Murden

Feb2In an age when society had certain expectations of women Rachel Charlotte Williams Biggs stands out. She emerged from an unhappy marriage to become a playwright and author, a political pamphleteer, and a spy, working for the British Government and later singlehandedly organising George III s jubilee celebrations. Trapped in France during the revolutionary years of 1792-95, she published an anonymous account of her adventures. The extraordinary Mrs Biggs lived life upon her own terms in an age when it was a man’s world, using politicians as her mouthpiece in the Houses of Parliament and corresponding with the greatest men of the day.

The Last Governor by Jonathan Dimbleby

Feb3Kathy and I were privileged to have lived in Hong Kong for more than a dozen years leading up to the complex events detailed in this book. In 1992, Chris Patten was appointed Hong Kong’s last governor. The first of July, 1997 marked the end of British rule of the territory, and Patten saw the colony passing into the hands of the People’s Republic of China. Setting the episode in both its human and historical contexts, Dimbleby presents some interesting conclusions about the conduct of British foreign policy on Hong Kong before and during Patten’s tenure. First published a decade ago this weighty tome, reprinted this year, documents an extraordinary diplomatic, political and personal drama.

Elegant Etiquette in the Nineteenth Century by Mallory James

Feb4Covering the intricacies of rank, the niceties of the street, the good conduct that was desired in the ballroom and the awkward blunders that a lady or gentleman would want to avoid, this is a lively, occasionally tongue-in-cheek discourse on nineteenth century manners and conduct. Based on advice given in the etiquette manuals of the time a useful reference for anyone interested in this fascinating period. And the Notes on each chapter and bibliography provide pointers for delving further into the world of polite society 200 years ago.


Still looking for bookish inspiration?

You might also like to take a peek at my other BookPicks this year this year
And I have a very limited number of Signed First Editions, which I’m happy to inscribe with a personal message
Enjoy!

The IBERIAN FLAME Collectors Set

IberianFlameHB_packshotThis year there will be two Kydd titles released; the first is The Iberian Flame, out in June. The second, A Sea of Gold, will be launched in November. As usual, I will be offering a Collectors Set for each. These signed, numbered and embossed First Edition Sets are strictly limited in number to 500 only. I’m happy to write a short dedication on request. The Subscription List for The Iberian Flame is filling rapidly so if you’re interested don’t delay to avoid disappointment. Payment is via the links here

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Here’s what two of my editors have said of the manuscript of The Iberian Flame:

‘Congratulations on another masterful outing and one that will be a delight to both your fans and fans of historical fiction alike.’

‘Many congratulations on another gripping instalment in the career and life of Thomas Kydd. This is, as ever, a magnificent yarn, on land and at sea. Great characters – and marvellously wrought backdrops (you bring them so expertly to life), in seascapes, landscapes and cities or towns. A compelling, absorbing story.’

And here’s a taster of the story:

“1808. With the Peninsula in turmoil, Napoleon Bonaparte signs a treaty to dismember Portugal and put his brother, Joseph, on the throne of Spain. Meanwhile, Nicholas Renzi, the Lord Farndon, undertakes a deadly mission to stir up partisan unrest to disrupt this Napoleonic alliance with Spain.

Thrust into the crucible of the uprising, Captain Sir Thomas Kydd is dismayed to come up against an old foe from his past – now his superior and commander – who is determined to break him. Kydd will soon face the greatest decision of his professional career.

Bonaparte, incensed by the reverses suffered to his honour, gathers together a crushing force and marches at speed into Spain. After several bloody encounters the greatly outnumbered British expedition have no option other than make a fighting retreat to the coast. Only the Navy can save them.

But the flame of insurrection has been lit – and the Peninsular War has begun.”


The Iberian Flame will be published in hardback, ebook and audio download on June 14 in the UK by Hodder & Stoughton. It will also be available in the States in ebook and audiodownload at that time, with the hardback coming out in August.

 

BookPick: Winter Selection

As this new year begins here’s a trio of books that caught my eye. They’re all very much sea-focused so whether you’re a student of the role of the British Navy 1793-1815, drawn to great epic tales of survival or seeking to learn more about navigation at sea I think there’s something that will appeal. And as a bonus I have a copy of ‘The Endurance’ to give away. Just email julian@julianstockwin.com with your postal details and ‘Giveaway’ in the subject line. Deadline for entry: January 23.

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Far Distant Ships by Quinton Barry

2018 bookpickThroughout the long drawn out war at sea during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, it was a cardinal principle of British naval strategy to blockade the port of Brest, the largest and most important of the French naval bases that threatened the security of the British Isles. The naval historian A.T. Mahan summed up this contribution of the Royal Navy to the ultimate defeat of Napoleon when he wrote so accurately and so memorably: ‘Those far distant, storm-beaten ships, upon which the Grand Army never looked, stood between it and the domination of the world.’ Well-written and researched, with maps and a useful bibliography, this book highlights just how contributory this blockade was to the mastery of the seas by the Royal Navy for so long, blending characters and grand strategies effortlessly into a very readable skein of history that ran continuously the entire length of the French wars.

 

Understanding a Nautical Chart by Paul Boissier

2018 bookpick2This updated second edition explains how charts are compiled and guides the reader through the elements that make up these vital navigational tools. In addition to a wealth of practical advice, there is a key to all the recently updated chart symbols and abbreviations from Symbols and Abbreviations Used on Admiralty Charts. My time in the Navy was spent almost entirely with paper charts so I am quite familiar with the subject matter of this book, but it is certainly a resource I wish I’d had when I first tried to understand and use nautical charts! I now use myself ECDIS (electronic charts) as research aids in writing my Kydd series and duly find these being given treatment as well in this book. The author had a most distinguished career in the Royal Navy and is now Chief Executive of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. He writes delightfully; his asides won from a long professional acquaintance with the sea are always apposite and often amusing, sharing with me for instance an appreciation of the hard-won good sense and often romance to be found in the august pages of the Admiralty Pilots. This, and his book following ‘Learn the Nautical Rules of the Road‘ is highly commended to all those who venture to set forth upon Neptune’s Realm.

 

The Endurance by Caroline Alexander

2018 bookpick1Alexander’s subject, one of history’s greatest epics of survival, is presented along with the astonishing visual record of Frank Hurley, the Australian photographer. Together, text and a copious flood of priceless images re-create the terrible beauty of Antarctica, the awful destruction of the ship, and the crew’s heroic daily struggle to stay alive, a miracle achieved largely through Shackleton’s inspiring leadership. The survival of Hurley’s images is scarcely less miraculous. The original glass plate negatives, from which most of the book’s illustrations are reproduced, were stored in hermetically sealed canisters that survived months on the ice floes, a week in an open boat on the polar seas, and several more months buried in the snow. A thrilling account of one of the last great adventures in the Heroic Age of exploration.


Still looking for bookish inspiration?

You might also like to take a peek at my recent BookPicks this year
And I have a very limited number of Signed First Editions, which I’m happy to inscribe with a personal message
Enjoy!

Heave Ho for the Festive Season!

This year seems to have flown by – with two Kydd titles, Persephone and The Baltic Prize, published Kathy and I certainly have been kept busy. We’ve also managed a location research trip to the Netherlands and Belgium gleaning material for future books. Next year looks set to be just as hectic, also with two Kydd titles in the pipeline. As usual, there will be an offering of Collectors Sets for each book. I’ll be releasing details of these in due course but in the meantime you can register your interest by emailing me at the address below.

Coming next year

The Iberian Flame will be published on June 14 in the UK (a few months later in the US, Canada and Australia)

Here’s a taster of the book:

IberianFlame cover1808. With the Peninsula in turmoil, Napoleon Bonaparte signs a treaty to dismember Portugal and put his brother, Joseph, on the throne of Spain. Meanwhile, Nicholas Renzi, the Lord Farndon, undertakes a deadly mission to stir up partisan unrest to disrupt this Napoleonic alliance with Spain. Thrust into the crucible of the uprising, Captain Sir Thomas Kydd is dismayed to come up against an old foe from his past – now his superior and commander – who is determined to break him. Kydd will soon face the greatest decision of his professional career.

Bonaparte, incensed by the reverses suffered to his honour, gathers together a crushing force and marches at speed into Spain. After several bloody encounters the greatly outnumbered British expedition have no option other than make a fighting retreat to the coast. Only the Navy can save them. But the flame of insurrection has been lit – and the Peninsular War has begun.

The second 2018 book is as yet untitled and will be published in October.

The Baltic Prize

I’ve been touched by your wonderful comments on this book. Here’s just three:

‘One of the best yet, a fabulous read. Next please.’

‘If you enjoy historical fiction books the man to be in awe of at the present is Julian Stockwin. His Thomas Kydd series is outstanding but what’s really amazing is that we are now on book 19 and it shows no sign of stagnating or slowing down its still as fresh and exciting as ever.’

‘A tremendously rousing nautical adventure.’

I always enjoy hearing from readers and will respond as soon as I can, usually within 48 hours. I can be contacted at this email or by snail-mail to Julian Stockwin, c/o Pawlyn & Co, 6 Costly St, Ivybridge, DEVON, PL21 0DB.

(The Baltic Prize is available in the States now as an ebook and will be out in hardback there on January 2.)


My blog on Christmas at Sea

cheers

And a Happy New Year to you all!

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