I’m the award-winning author of ‘The Journals of Matthew Quinton’ – a series of naval and historical fiction set in the seventeenth century. This is a little known but hugely important period in naval history: it saw some of the largest battles of the sailing age, the beginnings of a professional navy, the evolution of the ‘line of battle’ and a number of dramatic historical events, such as the Plague of 1665, the Great Fire of London and the Dutch attack on the Medway in 1667, debatably the greatest defeat in British history. It was the age of Charles II, of Samuel Pepys, of Isaac Newton – and of my fictional hero, Matthew Quinton, a young man suddenly given command of a warship despite knowing nothing whatsoever about the sea. His story is founded on the very real experiences of those who found themselves in exactly that position – the ‘gentlemen captains’ of the Restoration age.
My non-fiction work has mainly been set within the same period of history; my prize-winning survey of the late seventeenth century navy, Pepys’s Navy: Ships, Men and Warfare 1649-89, was published in 2008, with a revised second edition coming out in the summer of 2016. I branched out to write my first non-naval book, Blood of Kings: The Stuarts, The Ruthvens and the Gowrie Conspiracy, published in 2010, and still write non-fiction during the intervals between the Quinton series: Britannia’s Dragon: A Naval History of Wales was published by The History Press in 2013, and was subsequently shortlisted for the Mountbatten Maritime Literary Award. My next non-fiction book, Kings of the Sea: Charles II, James II, and the Royal Navy, will be published by Seaforth Publishing in the summer of 2017. I’m a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, the chairman of the Research and Programmes Committee of the Society for Nautical Research, a former chairman of the Naval Dockyards Society, and a former Vice-President of the Navy Records Society, where I currently chair the Media, Marketing and Membership Committee.
(The principal artwork on the home page of this website is the original painting by Richard Endsor of the climactic scene of the first Quinton novel, Gentleman Captain, which provided the cover art of the UK and US first editions.)