The Continuing Voyages of HMS Surprise

“The greatest historical novelist of all time” is a wholly appropriate description applied many years ago to the author Patrick O’Brian. When he died in 2000 he left us with his sublime series of twenty novels (and one which was incomplete) about the voyages of HMS Surprise, majoring on the very believable firm friendship and adventures of two utterly remarkable characters: Captain Jack Aubrey and ship’s surgeon Doctor Stephen Maturin. They are such brilliant novels that their appeal and interest long endures; indeed, it grows with many subsequent readings. However, the appeal of fresh adventures can never be ignored, but unfortunately such can never be satisfied by the master himself. Hence, in a mind meld of reckless optimism and mild desperation, I embarked upon my own endeavours to see what might be found, what could be written, and here are the results. I have greatly enjoyed the voyage and I sincerely hope that you too will come aboard to find similar pleasure. My own historical novels are also founded upon the continuing voyages of HMS Surprise – not the 28-gun ship of 1796 in Patrick O’Brian’s own wonderful fictional series (nor her crew) but the later 38-gun Leda-class frigate of 1812. Come aboard, there is not a moment to be lost.

1: The Massacre of Innocents

Captain Pat O’Connor, Lieutenant Duncan Macleod and Doctor Simon Ferguson return from half-pay to command the frigate HMS Surprise, returned to service after long years ‘in ordinary’ at Plymouth Dock.


The Massacre of Innocents

2: The Fireships of Gerontas

The seafaring patriots of Hydra, Spetses and Psara employ the most terrifying of weapons, fireships, against the Ottoman armada


The Fireships of Gerontas