Recommended Reading

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Here follows a list consisting of reading recommendations for fans of this game who want to learn more about naval history, battles or simply enjoy reading about the adventures and exploits of Captains. Reading the novels and books listed here is an excellent way of picking up Naval expressions and slang terms, and learning about the Naval life of centuries gone by.



Hornblower Series

By C. S. Forester

A series of books depicting the exploits of Horatio Hornblower, it was this Series of books that the TV Series “Hornblower” where based upon.

Recommended By Captain Jones


Books in order:

  • Mr Midshipman Hornblower
  • Lieutenant Hornblower
  • Hornblower and the Hotspur
  • Hornblower and the Crisis
  • Hornblower and the Atropos
  • The Happy Return
  • A Ship of the Line
  • Flying Colours
  • The Commodore
  • Lord Hornblower
  • Hornblower in the West Indies

Richard Bolitho Series

By Alexander Kent

A series of books where the first book starts of with the character being a midshipman aged 16 in 1772 and goes on right through his career. An excellent series of books and very descriptive allowing the reader to feel immersed in the 18th century.

Recommended by Captain Upton


Books in order:

  • Richard Bolitho - Midshipman
  • Midshipman Bolitho and the Avenger
  • Stand Into Danger
  • In Gallant Company
  • Sloop of War
  • To Glory We Steer
  • Command a King's Ship
  • Passage to Mutiny
  • With All Despatch

Form Line of Battle!

  • Enemy in Sight!
  • The Flag Captain
  • Signal - Close Action!
  • The Inshore Squadron
  • A Tradition of Victory
  • Success to the Brave
  • Colours Aloft
  • Honour This Day
  • The Only Victor
  • Beyond the Reef
  • The Darkening Sea
  • For My Country's Freedom
  • Cross of St George
  • Sword of Honour

The Aubrey-Maturin Series

By Patrick O'Brian

Starting with Master and Commander, these books trace the career of Jack Aubrey, a fictitious naval Captain whose life is modelled on that of Admiral Thomas Cochrane. Superbly written, an inordinate amount of attention to detail, they really are required reading!

Recommended by Captain Walker


Books in order:

  • Master and Commander
  • Post Captain
  • HMS Surprise
  • The Mauritius Command
  • Desolation Island
  • The Fortune of War
  • The Surgeon's Mate
  • The Ionian Mission
  • Treason's Harbour
  • The Far Side of the World
  • The Reverse of the Medal
  • The Letter of Marque
  • The Thirteen-gun Salute
  • The Nutmeg of Consolation
  • Clarissa Oakes (Called Truelove in the USA )
  • The Wine-dark Sea
  • The Commodore
  • The Yellow Admiral
  • The Hundred Days
  • Blue at the Mizzen

Nicholas Ramage Series

By Dudley Pope

A Series of novels about Lord Nicholas Ramage, eldest son of the Tenth Earl of Blazey, Admiral of the White. A set of books that are very easy to read and a definite recommendation to anyone who is new to this genre.

Recommended by Captain Upton


Books in Order order:

  • Ramage
  • Ramage and the Drumbeat
  • Ramage and the Freebooters
  • Governor Ramage RN
  • Ramage's Prize
  • Ramage and the Guillotine
  • Ramage's Diamond
  • Ramage's Mutiny
  • Ramage and the Rebels
  • The Ramage Touch
  • Ramage's Signal
  • Ramage & the Renegades
  • Ramage's Devil
  • Ramage's Trial
  • Ramage's Challenge
  • Ramage at Trafalgar
  • Ramage and the Saracens
  • Ramage and the Dido

Non Fiction

One Hundred Days

By Admiral Sandy Woodward & Patrick Robinson

This book is the account of the Falklands War from the point of view of the Task Force Commander. An excellent book, well written, with superb analyses of both the naval and land phases of the conflict.

Recommended by Captain Walker


The Illustrated Guide to Nelson's Navy

By Nicholas Blake & Richard Lawrence

An excellent introduction to the Age of Sail, this looks like a coffee table book, but actually packs a fair punch textually. The book describes all aspects of naval life between 1793 and 1815, from the Admiralty to Pusser's Rum, and uses both real life and the novels of O'Brian and the like to illustrate its points. Beautifully illustrated, I recommend this book highly! (And it only took 3 days to get through!)



By Commander Rick Jolly

A book devoted to naval slang and traditions. A very funny read! (and you may be able to decipher some of my more esoteric ramblings!)

Recommended by Captain Walker


Nelson's Favourite HMS Agamemnon at War 1781-1809

By Anthony Deane, Chatham Publishing (London) 1999

Recommended by Captain Hutton


The Arming and Fitting of English Ships of War, 1600-1815

By Brian Lavery, Conway Maritime Press



The Masting and Rigging of English Ships of War 1625-1680

By James Lees, Naval Institute Press


Both plainly informal about the construction of English Ships of War, but very interesting.

Recommended By Captain Norrington

Patrick O'Brian's Navy: The Illustrated Companion to Jack Aubrey's World

Editor: Richard O'Neill

As the title says, it simply goes into some detail about the lives of the men who made up the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars. It also has excellent period artwork. Although everyone interested in the period will enjoy it, it has references that apply only to Aubrey/Maturin series readers.

Recommended By Captain Hunt


Nelson's Navy: Ships, Men and Organization, 1793-1815 (Conway's History of Sail)

To Rule the Waves, How the British Navy Shaped the Modern World

By Arthur Herman

It is a very comprehensive book and I would recommend everyone give it a read.

Recommendations by Captains of the SGS

The Captains of our Squadron have selected some of their favourite texts relating to historical Naval life and have recommended the following pieces:

Duncan, D. “The Yankee Privateer”, 1779. Online.

Konstam, Angus. The History of Pirates. The Lyons Press, 1999, 2002.

Lehman, John. On Seas of Glory: Heroic Men, Great Ships, and Epic Battles of the American Navy. Simon & Schuster, New York, New York, 2002.

MacLay, Edgar S., A History of American Privateers. Ayer Co. Publishers, 1977.

Maloney, Linda M. "The Captain from Connecticut: The Life and Naval Times of Isaac Hull, 1986"., Online. Http://

Morison, Samuel Eliot. John Paul Jones. Time Incorporated, New York, 1959.

Paine, Ralph D. "The Old Merchant Marine. United States Publishing 1919." Public Domain Books - Online.

Petrie, Donald A., "The Prize Game". Naval Institute, Annapolis, 1999.

Stivers, Rueben E., "Privateers and Volunteers", Naval Institute, Annapolis, 1975.

Thomas, Evan. John Paul Jones: Sailor, Hero, Father of the American Navy. Simon & Schuster, New York, 2003.

Willis, Sam. "Fighting Ships 1750-1850" Link:

Wilson, Sally D. “Who was Commodore Whipple?” Revolutionary Portraits: People, Places and Events from Rhodes Island Historic Past. Rhode Island Bicentennial Foundation, 1976. pp 6-15. Online. Http://


Dr. Howard, Frank, "Sailing Ships of War 1400-1860" Convay Maritime Press Ltd. 1979. 256 pages (German version from 1983: "Segel-Kriegsschiffe 1400-1860" Bernard & Graefe Verlag ISBN 3-7637-5239-0)


This section contains additional materials sent in by members of SGS.

  • If you can't find the word or expression here then try:
  • Item contains: costs, artillery size, range, etc. (very detailed)
  • Excellent site for coins of the realm. Learn all about the currency of the day.
  • William Falconer's Dictionary of the Marine:
  • The Official HMS Victory Website:
  • The Royal Marines:
  • Most interesting information about the "Golden Age of Pirates"