These tales, a detailed and interwoven fabric of history and fiction, are set in the early nineteenth-century war of Greek independence. From the detail within them I hope that the reader may find his or her own interest in the history of that period stimulated to find out more, as I did. The subject matter of these novels, generally the war fought for the independence of Greece and the story of the Philhellenes, is seldom taught (except in Greece), and hence appears to be little known in any great detail outside the most narrow of academic interest; yet it presents a most suitable subject for works of historical naval fiction.
The conflict was a long one, but these stories must necessarily restrict themselves to a very few of the significant and the minor naval engagements, detailed references to many of which are singularly few and hard to find even in these days of the facility of the web. Conversely, there are numerous contemporary books and reports from the Philhellenes themselves, the ones by Gordon and by Finlay being remarkably detailed. Two more modern accounts are well worth reading: That Greece Might be Free (1972) by William St. Clair, an excellent book and one which recounts the exploits of the Philhellenes of all nationalities; and the more general 2011 book by David Brewer, The Greek War of Independence. For an authentic description of life at sea in the early nineteenth century and battle in all its gruesome detail, it would be hard to surpass Roy Adkins’ superb book, Trafalgar.
The historical researcher’s task is made more difficult by the many and varied names which almost all the Greek, Turkish and other locations referred to within these stories have possessed, not only since the early nineteenth century when these events occurred, but from centuries beforehand as these lands and islands were within the grasp of a succession of colonial overlords including Genoese, Venetians and Ottomans. For contemporary veracity many Greek places are referred to in these stories principally by their then still widely used Venetian names, their Greek names generally only being used when mentioned by Greeks.