Thursday, November 15, 2012

David Wesley Hill: At Drake's Command

Some eighty-five years ago, an English novelist by the name of C.S. Forester published the first in a 12-book series about Horatio Hornblower. The books were not written chronologically, in terms of the hero's life, but eventually covered Hornblower's career in the British Navy, from Midshipman to Admiral.

The Hornblower books were set in the age of the Napoleonic Wars, and were enormously successful, both in the US and the UK. They were admired by, among others, both Ernest Hemingway and Winston Churchill, and yet could easily be read by the average schoolboy. In 1951 a successful film version appeared, starring Gregory Peck in the lead role.

Since then, the idea of a book, and possibly a whole series of books, starring a member of the British Navy in times past, must have been seen by many a publisher and writer as a target worth consideration. Patrick O'Brian began a similar series, with Master and Commander, in 1970. And now David Wesley Hill has taken his turn to have a go.

At Drake's Command is set in the late sixteenth century and is subtitled 'The adventures of Peregrine James during the second circumnavigation of the world'. It's just published by the Temurlone Press, where you can read the first chapter, and it's available in trade paperback format through the usual channels. Early reviews are good.

The naval-fiction genre is a small one, but there is, surprise, a web site devoted to it.


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