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“Steerage” – another name of Hell for emigrants in the late 19th Century and Early 20th Centuries. It was the term applied to the lowest class of ocean travel and it was how that vast majority of emigrant families reached then United States, Canada and Australia. Passengers were to endure gross overcrowding and conditions of the most appalling squalor. Yet on famed “ocean greyhound” liners”, luxury was only a few decks higher. . .…/steerage-passenger-conditi…/

Steerage-passenger conditions on the North Atlantic In my recent blog (April 10th 2018 - click to read) about the disaster that overcame the SS Utopia in 1891, and which resulted in the deaths of 562 Italian emigrants, I commented briefly on the bewilderment and trepidation with which these people s...

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The Capture of the Chevrette, 1801

“Cutting-out missions” feature frequently in naval fiction, as they often did in real-life during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. These attacks were near suicidal and the story of the capture of the Chevrette in 1801 tells just how high a price could be paid for capture of so a small a prize.

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The Capture of the Chevette, 1801 While leafing through an 1894 book entitled “The British Fleet” by Commander Charles N. Robinson (Assistant Editor of the Army and Navy Gazette) I came on a copy of the engraving above. It shows a cutting-out mission on July
Antoine Vanner Interview - Britannia's Amazon
Introducing the Dawlish Chronicles

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SS Utopia and HMS Anson 1891

A dark and stormy March night in 1891 saw the harbour at Gibraltar transformed into a scene of horror when a passenger steamer loaded with Italian emigrants wounded herself mortally on the pointed ram of a Royal Navy battleship. This forgotten tragedy claimed 562 lives in sight of shore.

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Disaster at Gibraltar - SS Utopia and HMS Anson, 1891 In 1866, at the naval battle of Lissa, in the Adriatic, victory was secured by the Austro-Hungarian fleet over its Italian enemy by means of ramming. Though this was a unique event in a fleet-action, and made possible only by factors – such as

This was unexpected and flattering! Writing this book was a gamble, as I was challenging myself to tell a story wholly from a female viewpoint. I'm delighted that it came off! Many thanks to Meghan Holloway

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The Written Word

In Britannia’s Amazon, Antoine Vanner has made a departure from his usual swashbuckling naval adventures featuring the dashing Captain Nicholas Dawlish to a sto...ry set in the hero’s home front and featuring his wife. Florence is a woman deeply in love with and proud of her husband, and she is determined not to let the class divide between them hurt his aspirations.
In previous novels, Florence has largely played a secondary role, but in Vanner’s latest installment in the series, she takes center stage and shines in doing so. Florence is a heroine of quiet persistence and indefatigable courage, even in moments in which she doubts herself. She is a strong, intelligent heroine, and Vanner has done an excellent job ensuring that she is also authentic to the times.
The events of Britannia’s Amazon run parallel to the events of Nicholas’s adventures in Korea in Britannia’s Spartan. The tale is a classic murder mystery that follows Florence as she ventures into the seedy underbelly of Victorian England. The rigors and injustices of class structure in British society are explored in depth, as is the two-fold highlights of the Victorian era: the moral revival and the gritty exploitation of innocents.
The plot is riveting, and the story flows seamlessly. It’s evident that Vanner’s research was rigorous and in-depth, and it pays off with the result of a detailed, gripping story that feels as if the reader is stepping through the pages and onto the fog-laden streets of London in the late-nineteenth century. The characters are well-developed and multi-dimensional, and in Britannia’s Amazon, Florence Dawlish discovers her own strength of character and depth of courage.
Highly recommended for fans of the Dawlish Chronicles and for those who enjoy murder mysteries with historically authentic, resourceful heroines; recommended that this series be read in order

©Michael Connery, The Written Word, 2017
All rights reserved

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Here's a sight to stir the blood! Many thanks to Christopher A. Sørensen for posting it.

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France 3 Poitou-Charentes

La frégate Hermione Lafayette arrive à Toulon jeudi prochain 5 avril ►Vivez avec nous en direct cette arrivée majestueuse dans la rade toulonnaise dès 9h50 En savoir plus :…/patrimo…/hermione…
L'Hermione - Escale à Toulon

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The Capture of Gibraltar and the Battle of Malaga, 1704

Britain’s gaining possession of Gibraltar (with Dutch support) in 1704 and the naval Battle of Malaga that followed – perhaps the largest up to that time – were key events of the War of Spanish Succession (1701-14). They were also to have major strategic significance for Britain in all subsequent wars, and right up to our own day.

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The Capture of Gibraltar and the Battle of Malaga, 1704 I wrote this article when in southern Spain, between Malaga and Marbella. The Mediterranean is narrow at that point and the mountains of the Moroccan shore are visible on a clear day. The sea funnels westwards towards the Straits of Gibraltar,....

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James Brooke: The First of the White Rajahs of Sarawak

There is only one example in recent centuries of a private Englishman setting himself up as the ruler of an independent nation and establishing a dynasty that would rule it for a century. This was however the remarkable achievement of James Brooke, the first of the “White Rajahs” of Sarawak. His story links his own role as an Oriental potentate, encounters with pirates and head-h...unters, Robbie Burns’ grandson, Jane Austen’s brother, and desperate battles on land, sea and swamp in one of the most remarkable adventures of the nineteenth century.

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James Brooke: The First of the White Rajahs of Sarawak There is only one example in recent centuries of a private Englishman setting himself up as the ruler of an independent nation and establishing a dynasty that would rule it for a century. This was however the remarkable achievement of James Broo...

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Shore Leave from HMS Trafalgar, 1890s

A book of recollections by a naval chaplain offered fascinating insights to the attitude of officers towards their crews’ welfare in the 1890s. The malign influence of the “grog-shops” of the then-Ottoman port of Salonika was to be combatted in an innovative manner, as this blog relates.

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Shore leave from HMS Trafalgar, 1890s "The Handy Man" of the 1890s My research into the Royal Navy of the later nineteenth century, which I undertake for the Dawlish Chronicles novels, usually turns up information on the more dramatic aspects of service – colonial campaigns, crises,

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The loss of HMS Queen Charlotte, 1800

Naming ships after members of the royal family was to prove unlucky since 18 years after the loss of HMS Royal George, named after King George III, a newer ship, named HMS Queen Charlotte after the king’s wife, was to meet a no less spectacular end on March 16th 1800, despite heroic attempts at damage control. This blog article tells about this spectacular naval tragedy.

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The loss of HMS Queen Charlotte, 1800 During the twentieth century, damage-control was to become a naval discipline in itself, and was to result in many epics of courage. In earlier centuries such response was on a much more ad-hoc basis but the bravery and self-reliance of the crews involved were n...

I've clearly got one reader hooked!

Lisl Zlitni finished reading 72% of Britannia's Gamble on Goodreads.

Finding myself on page 220 after a middle-of-the-night marathon reading session of Antoine Vanner's _Britannia's Gamble_ - the pages seemed to speed by even tho...ugh I stopped a number of times to think about what had just happened, one event more sobering than the next.

If anyone hasn't guessed by now, I'll let you know that there will most definitely be a review coming: keep your eyes peeled!

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Naval adventure in the Victorian Era It's 1884. A fanatical Islamist revolt is sweeping all before it in the vast wastes of the Sudan and...

My morale was boosted today by this unexpected post from Lisl Zlitni !

Lisl Zlitni finished reading 36% of Britannia's Gamble on Goodreads.

Oh my wordy word. Antoine Vanner knows how to make me sit up straight! Can hardly wait for you to read this book, especially the scene I read a lil while back! I'm on page 114 and haven't sat back down yet!

Naval adventure in the Victorian Era It's 1884. A fanatical Islamist revolt is sweeping all before it in the vast wastes of the Sudan and...

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Fighting the Riff Pirates 1848-51

As late as the mid-nineteenth century merchant shipping was still being captured by Barbary pirates off the Riff coast of Morocco. Daring rescue and retaliation efforts by the Royal Navy in 1848 and 1851 depended on use of paddle sloops, then a new type of warship.

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Fighting the Riff Pirates 1848-51 The Barbary pirates of North Africa were a scourge to maritime trade for many centuries. It was only in the nineteenth century that major naval and military campaigns – most notably the US Navy’s and Marine Corps’ intervention on “the Shores of Tripoli”, t...

Readers of "Britannia's Wolf" will be amused by this Punch carton from 1877: What Next? Russian Bear."You know my intentions are strictly honourable! What are you going to do?" British Lion, "Blest if I know! Ask the government, and if they can't tell you, Try the opposition!!" (We now know that the government sent Nicholas Dawlish unofficially!)

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Dawlish Chronicles

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The huge Royal Navy Exhibition of 1891 nurtured British pride and introduced vast numbers of people to the new naval technologies of the time, as well as providing spectacular entertainment. This article, and the contemporary illustrations that accompany it, give an insight to the vast public enthusiasm for all things naval in the late 19th Century…/the-royal-navy-exhibition-…/

The Royal Navy Exhibition of 1891 The Royal Navy was to attain enormous popularity in Britain in the 19th Century, especially in its last decades. It was seen to be at the cutting edge of the technology of the time and to be the guarantor of imperial greatness against the machinations of the French,

I had a very pleasant surprise today when i saw this posting by Lisl Zlitni It's always splendid for a writer's morale to know that their work is giving pleasure to readers!

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Lisl Zlitni

On page 48 of Antoine Vanner's already-fabulous _Britannia's Gamble_ which, I'm delighted to read, contained references to events in another in the series I recently read and loved. 📘📘