Salty Dog Tales

The dramatic covers for David Donachie’s upcoming maritime books show you that Donachie means business. As an imposing ship rides determinedly over the icy looking waters of A Sea of Troubles and A Divided Command, you are at once guaranteed all the thrills and the terrors that the sea promises, as well as the mystery of a world little known to us land-dwellers.

Divided command

Stocks of favourite characters swim through the pages of nautical fiction- from the intrepid young sailors of Swallows and Amazons, to the cadaverous captains who inspire Disney to string out yet another Pirates of the Caribbean (is there really going to be a fifth?!!).

A visit to Greenwich and a stroll around the Old Royal Naval College this weekend reminded me of the rich history and traditions associated with the sea, and yet how beguiling it remains: it’s no wonder writers return to it time and time again.


Some of my favourite sea tales:

David Donachie, The John Pearce Naval Series
J.M. Coetzee, Foe
Samuel Taylor Coleridge, The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner
Jane Austen, Persuasion
Jim Crace, Being Dead
Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea
William Shakespeare, The Tempest

FYI! – “Salty Dog” is nautical slang for an experienced sailor who has spent much of his life aboard a ship at sea. A salty dog is given increased credibility in matters pertaining to ship-board life and duties. Also known as an “old salt.”

Kathryn Colwell, Publishing Assistant

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