When this post goes live, I’ll be hacking my way up the A1 ahead of giving a talk this evening to the maritime history seminar of the University of Hull. Then, on Thursday, I’m talking at an open event in aid of the Lenox project at Saint Nicholas church, Deptford – full details can be found here. So it’s a busy week, and I’ve not been able to devote this blog, as planned, to providing some detailed context about the first book of my new Tudor naval trilogy, Destiny’s Tide. But I certainly hope to do that over the coming weeks (and, indeed, to headline the cover, once the design team at Canelo has done the business!), so expect some posts about Henry VIII’s navy, about the political and religious tensions of the 1540s, and above all, about the principal terrestrial setting of the book, the ‘lost city’ of Dunwich, ‘England’s Atlantis’.
In the meantime, I thought I’d highlight a number of the blogs that I follow. Although it’s difficult to keep abreast of all the fantastic sites that are out there, I really rate these, and recommend them warmly to those with similar interests! Some purely maritime ones this time – I’ll flag up some other historical blogs on a future occasion.
First, a new blog, Corsairs and Captives, which seeks to explode the still-abundant myths about the ‘Barbary corsairs’. This has been launched by Professor Adam Nichols, a previous guest blogger on this site, whom I met at his book launch in London’s Icelandic embassy a couple of years ago. The corsairs have impacted on many aspects of my work over the years; not only do they get substantial mentions in my non-fiction books, they’re also central to the plot of the second Quinton novel, The Mountain of Gold. The blog already contains a number of posts that challenge the usual perceptions of the corsairs, as well as providing insights into the long-neglected experiences of those who found themselves prisoners in the likes of Algiers. Well worth your time!
Next, the Dawlish Chronicles blog published by my fellow naval fiction author Antoine Vanner, whom I’ve got to know well in the last few years. Quite apart from writing terrific novels set in the Victorian era, Antoine blogs at least once a week about an extraordinary range of lesser known stories from naval and maritime history. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m incredibly envious of both his workrate and the astonishing range of his naval knowledge!
In terms of what’s going on in the maritime world today, Rick Spilman’s Old Salt Blog is a must. Just as Antoine Vanner digs out little known or completely forgotten nuggets from history, so Rick unearths obscure but fascinating – and often hugely important – news stories. His site is also a portal to Old Salt Press, a cooperative of maritime historical fiction authors (including Antoine and Rick himself), several of whom I’ve got to know well and whose work is well worth seeking out.
Next, the Wreck of the Week site under the auspices of Historic England, with posts written by Serena Cant, another blogger who I’ve been delighted to get to know. This provides detailed accounts of some lesser known but always fascinating shipwrecks; here, for example, is the latest post, about a wreck discovered during the construction of Woolwich power station in 1912. Was it Sir Francis Drake’s Golden Hind, as some optimists claimed? Umm, almost certainly not – but it did have some tantalising sixteenth and seventeenth century connections.
Last but by no means least for this week, the Global Maritime History site run by my friend Sam McLean. This is much, much more than just a blog, with book reviews, conference announcements, and all sorts of other important material too. It also hosts a growing database of ADM8. ‘What’s ADM8?’ you cry. Well, it’s quite simply one of the most invaluable sources for the history of the sailing Royal Navy, consisting principally of monthly disposition lists, showing the exact locations of all warships in commission and the names of their commissioned officers. I’ve spent countless hours working on the early volumes of ADM8 over the last 35+ years, and can therefore attest to the fact that the source is an absolute treasure trove. Having it readily available online, rather than accessible only to those able to visit the National Archives at Kew, is a terrific boon to the maritime history community!