Jun. 8, 2022
Novels for Those Who Love the Sea
They say the sea gets into your blood, becoming a passion that is a living part of you. That certainly seems to be the case with Philip K. Allan, who left his job as a senior manager years ago to devote his time to writing about sailing.
Allan is the third Penmore Press author I've focused on over the past weeks. Since I'm new to Penmore, I'm trying to learn more about my fellow authors, and I'm finding a wonderful variety of adventure, thriller, humor and more. If you are inspired to try a new author because of what you read here, great! After all, who doesn't appreciate another good book recommendation?
Allan himself is an enthusiastic sailor. But we're not talking how-to books. Allan created a series of novels that capitalizes on both his love of the sea and his background in history. "I write historical fiction--initially the Alexander Clay series set in the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic wars, the first 7 of which were published by Penmore." His Penmore bio describes the series in the following way:
"The Alexander Clay books... bring something fresh to the genre, offering a cast of fully formed lower-deck characters along with their officers. Think Downton Abbey on a ship, with the lower deck housing the below-stairs servants."
Allan, from Watford in the United Kingdom, studied naval history in gaining his degree from London University, and this, along with extensive research, has helped him create an authentic atmosphere in his novels. At sea, there are a thousand ways to die or be defeated, and the Clay books offer no shortage of derring do. When I asked Allan which of his books was his favorite for this profile, he replied, "Trying to pick a favourite book is like choosing between your children! On the one hand each book is a complete story in it’s own right, and my craft as a writer has improved over time, but The Captain’s Nephew is the first book and the series probably works best if you start at the beginning." Here's the summary from his Penmore site:
"Book 1 of the Alexander Clay series. 1790s Europe is embroiled in a battle for control of the sea and colonies. Tall ships navigate familiar and foreign waters, and ambitious young men without rank or status seek their futures in Naval commands. First Lieutenant Alexander Clay of HMS Agrius is self-made, clever, and ready for the new age. But the old world, dominated by patronage, retains a tight hold on advancement. Though Clay has proven himself many times over, Captain Percy Follett is determined to promote his own nephew. Before Clay finds a way to receive due credit for his exploits, he’ll first need to survive them. Ill-conceived expeditions ashore, hunts for privateers in treacherous fog, and a desperate chase across the Atlantic are only some of the challenges he faces. He must endeavor to bring his ship and crew through a series of adventures stretching from the bleak coast of Flanders to the warm waters of the Caribbean. Only then might high society recognize his achievements—and allow him to ask for the hand of Lydia Browning, the woman who loves him regardless of his station."