Money ships were wrecks of treasure-galleons belched up from the bottom of the sea after tremendous storms, yielding doubloons and all kinds of precious treasure … gold bars and bullion, chests of brilliant gems.
Oriental adventurer Captain Rochester spun an entrancing tale to Jerusha, seafaring daughter of Captain Michael Gardiner — a story of a money ship, hidden in the turquoise waters of the South China Sea, which was nothing less than the lost trove of the pirate Hochman. As Jerusha was to find, though, the clues that pointed the way to fabled riches were strange indeed — a haunted islet on an estuary in Borneo, an obelisk with a carving of a rampant dragon, a legend of kings and native priests at war, and of magically triggered tempests that swept warriors upriver. And even if the clues were solved, the route to riches was tortuous, involving treachery, adultery, murder, labyrinthine Malayan politics … and, ultimately, Jerusha’s own arranged marriage.
Christmas 1803, although the group of shipwrecked Royal Navy seamen have anything but festivities in mind as they pitch their wits against a French force sent to catch them. And all the while rescue, in the shape of a British frigate, lies temptingly close, yet just beyond their reach… Encompassing vicious sea battles, spirited land action and treachery from friend as much as foe, The Blackstrap Station tells a stirring tale of courage, honour and loyalty, set against the backdrop of what becomes a broiling Mediterranean summer.
To celebrate The Shantyman being chosen as one of the Best Indie Books of 2105 by Kirkus Reviews, we are having an impromptu promotion. Here is how it works — today and tomorrow, The Shantyman will be available in Kindle format on Amazon for only 99 cents! The price will then step up to $1.99 on December 26th for two days, then up to $2.99 on December 28th for two more days, before returning to the regular price of $4.99. Click here to get your copy.
We are extremely pleased to announce that Rick Spilman’s novel “The Shantyman” has been selected as one of Kirkus Reviews’ Best Indie Books for 2015. From the review:
With eloquent accuracy, Spilman’s novel captures the life of a 19th-century sailor…. Spilman’s colorful, well-researched novel will enthrall both sailing enthusiasts and landlubbers. A fabulously gripping sailor’s yarn.
Another wonderful release in time for the holidays. Antione Vanner’s Britannia’s Spartan is the fourth volume of the Dawlish Chronicles.
It is 1882 and Captain Nicholas Dawlish has just taken command of the Royal Navy’s newest cruiser, HMS Leonidas. Her voyage to the Far East is to be a peaceful venture, a test of this innovative vessel’s engines and boilers. It should bear no relation to the nightmare of failure in China that Dawlish remembers as his baptism of fire as a boy.
As HMS Leonidas arrives in Hong Kong Dawlish has no forewarning of the nightmare of riot, treachery, massacre and battle that he and his crew will encounter.
Alaric Bond’s new novel HMS Prometheus is the eighth book in his Fighting Sail Series. Autumn 1803, and Britain remains under the threat of invasion. HMS Prometheus is needed to reinforce Nelson’s squadron blockading the French off Toulon, but a major action has left her severely damaged and the British Fleet outnumbered. Prometheus must be brought back to fighting order without delay, and the work proves more than a simple refit.
Barbary pirates, shore batteries and the powerful French Navy are conventional foes, although the men of Prometheus encounter equally dangerous enemies within their own ranks. A story that combines vivid action with sensitive character portrayal.
Rick Spilman’s latest novel, The Shantyman, is being featured as one of Kirkus’ Indie Books of the Month for August.
The Kirkus starred review from last June, called The Shantyman …a fabulously gripping sailor’s yarn. The review also says: With eloquent accuracy, Spilman’s novel captures the life of a 19th-century sailor…. A profound understanding of nautical terminology and procedure is also evident, yet the author is careful not to confuse readers who don’t know a “crojack” from a “spanker.” … Spilman’s colorful, well-researched novel will enthrall both sailing enthusiasts and landlubbers.
Summer, 1803: the uneasy peace with France is over, and Britain has once more been plunged into the turmoil of war. After a spell on the beach, Sir Richard Banks is appointed to HMS Prometheus, a seventy-four gun line-of-battleship which an eager Admiralty loses no time in ordering to sea. The ship is fresh from a major re-fit, but Banks has spent the last year with his wife and young family: will he prove himself worthy of such a powerful vessel, and can he rely on his officers to support him?
With excitement both aboard ship and ashore, gripping sea battles, a daring rescue and intense personal intrigue, The Scent of Corruption is a non-stop nautical thriller in the best traditions of the genre.
The Scent of Corruption is number seven in the Fighting Sail series.
I see things other people don’t see
I hear things other people don’t hear
Fifteen-year-old James McCafferty is an unwilling sailor aboard a traditional Chinese junk, operated as adventure-therapy for troubled teens. Once at sea, the ship is gradually taken over by the spirits of courtiers who fled the Imperial court during the Ming Dynasty, more than 600 years ago. One particular ghost wants what James has and is intent on trading places with him. But the teens themselves are their own worst enemies in the struggle for life in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. A psychological story set at sea, with historical and paranormal elements.
It was not just the men who lived on the brink of peril when under sail at sea. Lucretia Jansz, who was enslaved as a concubine in 1629, was just one woman who endured a castaway experience. Award-winning historian Joan Druett (Island of the Lost, The Elephant Voyage), relates the stories of women who survived remarkable challenges, from heroines like Mary Ann Jewell, the “governess” of Auckland Island in the icy sub-Antarctic, to Millie Jenkins, whose ship was sunk by a whale.
TUPAIA, THE REMARKABLE STORY OF CAPTAIN COOK’S POLYNESIAN NAVIGATOR will be published in February 2015 by LOCUS PUBLISHING, Taiwan.
It will be a featured book at the Taipei International Book Exhibition (TIBE) in February, where New Zealand is the honored guest and theme country.
It was 1799, and French privateers lurked in the Atlantic and the Bay of Bengal. Yet Eleanor Reid, newly married and just twentyone years old, made up her mind to sail with her husband, Captain Hugh Reid, to the penal colony of New South Wales, the Spice Islands and India. Danger threatened not just from the barely charted seas they would be sailing, yet, confident in her love and her husband’s seamanship, Eleanor insisted on going along. Joan Druett, writer of many books about the sea, including the bestseller Island of the Lost and the groundbreaking story of women under sail, Hen Frigates, embellishes Eleanor’s journal with a commentary that illuminates the strange story of a remarkable young woman. ISBN 978-0-9941152-1-8
He can save the ship and the crew, but can he save himself?
In 1870, on the clipper ship Alahambra in Sydney, the new crew comes aboard more or less sober, except for the last man, who is hoisted aboard in a cargo sling, paralytic drunk. The drunken sailor, Jack Barlow, will prove to be an able shantyman. On a ship with a dying captain and a murderous mate, Barlow will literally keep the crew pulling together. As he struggles with a tragic past, a troubled present and an uncertain future, Barlow will guide the Alahambra through Southern Ocean ice and the horror of an Atlantic hurricane. His one goal is bringing the ship and crew safely back to New York, where he hopes to start anew. Based on a true story, The Shantyman is a gripping tale of survival against all odds at sea and ashore, and the challenge of facing a past that can never be wholly left behind. ISBN978-0-9941152-2-5
“Britannia’s Shark” is the third of the Dawlish Chronicles novels. It’s 1881 and a daring act of piracy draws the ambitious British naval officer, Nicholas Dawlish, into a deadly maelstrom of intrigue and revolution. Drawn in too is his wife Florence, for whom the glimpse of a half-forgotten face evokes memories of earlier tragedy. For both a nightmare lies ahead, amid the wealth and squalor of America’s Gilded Age and on a fever-ridden island ruled by savage tyranny. Manipulated ruthlessly from London by the shadowy Admiral Topcliffe, Nicholas and Florence Dawlish must make some very strange alliances if they are to survive – and prevail. ISBN 978-0992263690
The Torrid Zone is the sixth book of Alaric Bond’s Fighting Sail Series.
A tired ship with a worn out crew, but HMS Scylla has one more trip to make before her much postponed re-fit. Bound for St Helena, she is to deliver the island’s next governor; a simple enough mission and, as peace looks likely to be declared, no one is expecting difficulties. Except, perhaps, the commander of a powerful French battle squadron, who has other ideas.
With conflict and intrigue at sea and ashore, The Torrid Zone is filled to the gunnels with action, excitement and fascinating historical detail; a truly engaging read.
Volume III of the Blackwell’s Adventures series
In a multigenerational saga of love, war and betrayal, Captain Blackwell and Mercedes continue their voyage in Volume III of Blackwell’s Adventures. The Blackwell family’s eventful journey from England to Hawaii, by way of the new and tempestuous nations of Brazil and Chile, provides an intimate portrait of family conflicts and loyalties in the late Georgian Age. Blackwell’s Homecoming is an evocation of the dangers and rewards of desire. ISBN 978-0-9882360-7-3
Alaric Bond’s eighth novel, The Guinea Boat. Set in Hastings, Sussex during the early part of 1803, Guinea Boat tells the story of two young lads, and the diverse paths they take to make a living on the water. Britain is still at an uneasy peace with France, but there is action and intrigue a plenty along the south-east coast. Private fights and family feuds abound; a hot press threatens the livelihoods of many, while the newly re-formed Sea Fencibles begin a careful watch on Bonaparte’s ever growing invasion fleet. And to top it all, free trading has grown to the extent that it is now a major industry, and one barely kept in check by the efforts of the preventive men.
“Not for the faint hearted – Captain Blackwell pulls no punches! Prepare for a right roaring romp in the company of two of the most captivating characters in historical fiction.” – Alaric Bond, author of Turn A Blind Eye, and the Fighting Sail Series
The repercussions of a court martial and the ill-will of powerful men at the Admiralty pursue Royal Navy captain James Blackwell into the Pacific, where danger lurks around every coral reef. Even if Captain Blackwell and Mercedes survive the venture into the world of early nineteenth century exploration, can they emerge unchanged with their love intact. The mission to the Great South Sea will test their loyalties and strength, and define the characters of Captain Blackwell and his lady in Blackwell’s Paradise.
A romantic adventure from the days of wooden ships and iron men, Captain Blackwell’s Prize is a story of honor, duty, social class and the bond of sensual love.
A small, audacious British frigate does battle against a large but ungainly Spanish ship. British Captain James Blackwell intercepts the Spanish La Trinidad, outmaneuvers and outguns the treasure ship and boards her. Fighting alongside the Spanish captain, sword in hand, is a beautiful woman. The battle is quickly over. The Spanish captain is killed in the fray and his ship damaged beyond repair. Its survivors and treasure are taken aboard the British ship, Inconstant.
Captain Blackwell’s Prize features sword fights and sea battles alongside the manners, ideas, and prejudices of men and women from the time of Nelson and Napoleon.
THE ELEPHANT VOYAGE – After their boats are blown offshore from one of the most icy and hostile islands in the sub-Antarctic ocean, twelve men are left to live or die by their own wits and stamina. Six survive, to be carried to New Zealand—where the inquiry and court case that follow become an international controversy, with repercussions that reach as far as the desk of the president of the United States.
THE SOUTH COAST OF ENGLAND AND SMUGGLING IS RIFE… Autumn, 1801. Newly appointed to the local revenue cutter, Commander Griffin is determined to make his mark, and defeat a major gang of smugglers. But the country is still at war with France and it is an unequal struggle; can he depend on support from the local community, or are they yet another enemy for him to fight?
With dramatic action on land and at sea, Turn a Blind Eye exposes the private war against the treasury with gripping fact and fascinating detail.
By the author of the Fighting Sail Series.
Judas Island, the first book of the Promise of Gold trilogy.
As she stood on the deck of the brig Gosling, Harriet Gray was forced to face an unhappy truth. She had been duped, yet again. At eighteen, the lovely English actress had already known more than her share of betrayal. And now, a dishonest shipmaster had stranded her on board a ship that was manned by a lusty, treasure-hunting crew, with a pirate captain whose dangerous smile barely concealed his fury. And whose quest for the dark secret of Judas Island was about to unveil an ancient tragedy…
Calafia’s Kingdom – Book two of the Promise of Gold trilogy.
Like a phantom dogging Harriet Gray’s trail, Frank Sefton is polished, charming—and utterly ruthless. Once, he abandoned the actress to a miserable fate on the far-flung shores of New Zealand. Now, he is back in her life—full of devious schemes to rob and mortify her, far from the protection of Captain Jake Dexter, and his gold-seeking crew.
Dearest Enemy – Book three of the Promise of Gold trilogy.
That the Gosling Company should become a theatrical company was a preposterous idea—as crazy as the actual fact that Captain Jake Dexter, once a respectable Yankee mariner, was now an infamous pirate. Yet, he had already traveled such a long, strange path as a fortune-hunting adventurer that metamorphosing into the manager of the first theatre in Sacramento was just another step. But Jake Dexter could never imagine the danger that this involved for Harriet Gray, the young actress he secretly adored, or that his own life would be so threatened.
In 1905, a young ship’s captain and his family set sail on the windjammer, Lady Rebecca, from Cardiff, Wales with a cargo of coal bound for Chile, by way of Cape Horn. Before they reach the Southern Ocean, the cargo catches fire, the mate threatens mutiny and one of the crew may be going mad. The greatest challenge, however, will prove to be surviving the vicious westerly winds and mountainous seas of the worst Cape Horn winter in memory. Told from the perspective of the Captain, his wife, a first year apprentice and an American sailor before the mast, Hell Around the Horn is a story of survival and the human spirit in the last days of the great age of sail.
THE BECKONING ICE – The fifth in the Wiki Coffin series finds the U. S. Exploring Expedition off Cape Horn, a grim outpost made still more threatening by the report of a corpse on a drifting iceberg, closely followed by a gruesome death on board. Was it suicide, or a particularly brutal murder? Wiki investigates, only to find himself fighting desperately for his own life.
“Combining historical and nautical accuracy with a fast paced mystery thriller has produced a marvelous book which is highly recommended.” — David Hayes, Historic Naval Fiction
The Queen Charlotte was anchored fore and aft off the Calcutta wharves in the Hoogly River, waiting for cargo. She was a fine, three masted iron bark; trim, low and fast on a reach – in all respects, the perfection of the shipbuilder’s art. If she had a single great flaw, it was on her quarterdeck in the man that the owners had chosen as captain.
Captain John McPherson maintains absolute control over his ship and those who sail upon her. The only one that he cannot control is himself, slipping into murder and madness in the face of the relentless monsoon.
A Love of Adventure by Joan Druett – Born at sea and raised on shipboard, adventurous young Abigail Sherman wants nothing more than to be wedded to the ocean for life. Like her mother, a pioneer seafaring woman, Abigail is convinced that her destiny is to be a captain’s wife at sea. Instead, fate conspires against her. A Love of Adventure steers the reader through Abigail’s incident-ridden voyage to a nail-biting conclusion, with many exotic landfalls on the way.