Naval novels


Having just read the thread about 'Jack films', I thought I'd ask everyone about their favourite navy themed novels.

In my opinion Brian Callison's 'A Flock of Ships' takes some beating, though a close runner up is of course Alistair Maclean's 'HMS Ulysses'.

What about the rest of you? Any recommendations?


They are probably out of print now but Ronald Bassett wrote three very good books heavily based on his own experiences: The Tin Fish Run, Russian Convoys; The Pierhead Jump, set in the North Atlantic and the Neptune Landing, Normandy.

I also very much enjoyed Jump, Boy, Jump, again about the Russian convoys, but can't remember the author off the top of my head.

More likely to be in print, The Cruel Sea is a very good book as well as a film.

If you are keen on the Napleonic Wars try Hornblower, they are excellent books. He's a much more complicated character than the tv series suggests.


Lantern Swinger
Also extremely good but now sadly probably out of print, are the Fox series of novels by Adam Hardy, set in the Napoleonic Wars, Lt George Abercrombie Fox was an up from the ranks officer who was just as hard as Sharpey! Excellent read though and long overdue a reprint.


War Hero
Review Editor
Book Reviewer
Nicholas Monserrat's books were great but one of the ones - apart from The Cruel Sea - was

"HMS Marlborough will enter harbour".

NM not only wrote great stories, of which he had first hand experience, but chose great titles which got you thinking about the subject. Would the Cruel Sea have as much affect as HMS Compass Rose? Doubt it.

In HMS Marlborough, which was a collection of short stories, the ending was the ship entering Londonderry after a particularly fraught voyage from which they returned, not unscathed, but proud. The Driver on approaching harbour, instead of asking for a parking space announced that HMS Marlborough will enter harbour.

It has been about 40 years since I read that story and I still salute it. My memory is not that long and the details have gone but the thrust of the book has not. Pity it is almost imnpossible to get from PC libraries now.