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Nautical Fiction

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Nautical fiction is about as close to sailing the high seas as you can get these days. If that sounds a little depressing, remember that real sailors had to contend with all manner of disease, loneliness, bugs, pirates (who were not fun and not glamorous), shipwrecks, storms, mutiny, madness, poor (or non-existent) sanitation, frequent injury....basically, really bad stuff was lurking behind every coil of rope or powder keg, sometimes in them.

From that perspective, living vicariously through Horatio Hornblower, Jack Aubrey, Fletcher Christian, Ishmael, and Nathaniel Bowditch seems like a pretty great alternative. The fact that many of those characters were the inventions of seafaring men who knew what it was like out there on the blue and harsh ocean simply makes these stories all the more believable and fascinating.

It's usually not a good idea for writers to clutter their fiction with jargon—it can distract us from the narrative, frustrate us because we don't know exactly what's going on, or slow us down because we have to look up every other word. Stories about sailors, ships and the sea, however, need the technical terminology to help establish the authentic atmosphere, and in most cases it does exactly that whether you know the terms or not.

These are some of our favorite books at Exodus. Sailing maintains a romantic appeal that steamships and automated consoles have failed to render obsolete, and these writers give us exactly the elements we want: the danger, the fear, the glory. If you've got enough imagination to imagine running away and serving as cabin boy aboard a man o' war, you've got enough to imagine similar adventures on these pages.

Some of the best writers of all time wrote sea stories. Rudyard Kipling, Robert Louis Stevenson, Joseph Conrad, Herman Melville—men whose love of words enabled them to transcribe their love of the water for generations to come. As long as they're read, the creaking of masts and the crack of sails will remind us of the days before man believed he'd mastered the sea, when the sea clearly still mastered him.

Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here.

 

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87 Items found Print
Admiral Hornblower in the West Indies
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by C. S. Forester
from Little, Brown & Company
Nautical fiction for 8th-Adult
in Historical Fiction (Location: A05-01A)
AIO Imagination Station Book #08
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in Imagination Station (Location: A10-01H)
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from Robinson Curriculum
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in G. A. Henty Books (Location: A05-04A)
All But Lost - Volume II
by G. A. Henty
from Robinson Curriculum
for 6th-10th grade
in G. A. Henty Books (Location: A05-04A)
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in G. A. Henty Books (Location: A05-04A)
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1936 Newbery Honor Book
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in Historical Fiction (Location: A05-01A)
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from Little, Brown & Company
Nautical fiction for 10th-Adult
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by Arthur Ransome
from David R. Godine
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by Herman Melville
from Signet Classics
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in 19th Century Literature (Location: CLT-19C)
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by Herman Melville
from Bantam Books
Realistic Nautical Fiction for 10th-Adult
in 19th Century Literature (Location: CLT-19C)
Blackthorn Winter
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by Doug Wilson
from Veritas Press
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in Historical Fiction (Location: A05-01A)
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Nautical Fiction for 9th-Adult
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Nautical Fiction for 10th-Adult
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1952 Pulitzer Prize Winner
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: CLT-20C)
Captain Blood
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Historical Romance for 7th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: CLT-20C)
Captains Courageous
by Children's Classics, Rudyard Kipling
from Dover Publications
for 4th-6th grade
in Adventure Stories (Location: A04-01A)
Captains Courageous
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by Rudyard Kipling
from Signet Classics
Nautical Fiction for 7th-10th grade
in 19th Century Literature (Location: CLT-19C)
Carry On, Mr. Bowditch
by Jean Lee Latham
from Houghton Mifflin
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1956 Newbery Medal winner
in Historical Fiction (Location: A05-01A)
Carry On, Mr. Bowditch - Audio CD
by Jean Lee Latham
from Well-Trained Mind Press
for 5th-8th grade
in Historical Fiction (Location: A05-01A)
Commodore Hornblower
Hornblower Series #9
by C. S. Forester
from Little, Brown & Company
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in Historical Fiction (Location: A05-01A)
Coot Club
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from David R. Godine
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for 6th-Adult
in Adventure Stories (Location: A04-01A)
Curse of Carne's Hold
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Nautical Fiction for 9th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: CLT-20C)
Flint's Island
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in Adventure Stories (Location: A04-01A)
Flying Colours
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from Little, Brown & Company
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Fortune of War
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Nautical Fiction for 9th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: CLT-20C)
Golden Ocean
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Nautical Fiction for 9th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: CLT-20C)
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by Arthur Ransome
from David R. Godine
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in Adventure Stories (Location: A04-01A)
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by Patrick O'Brian
from W. W. Norton and Co.
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in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: CLT-20C)
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for 3rd-6th grade
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from Robinson Curriculum
for 6th-10th grade
in G. A. Henty Books (Location: A05-04A)
Horatio Hornblower Saga - Complete Collection
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from Little, Brown & Company
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in Historical Fiction (Location: A05-01A)
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Hornblower Series #5
by C. S. Forester
from Little, Brown & Company
Nautical fiction for 8th-Adult
in Historical Fiction (Location: A05-01A)
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by C. S. Forester
from Little, Brown & Company
Nautical fiction for 8th-Adult
in Historical Fiction (Location: A05-01A)
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for 8th-12th grade
in Historical Fiction (Location: A05-01A)
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by C. S. Forester
from Little, Brown & Company
Nautical fiction for 8th-Adult
in Historical Fiction (Location: A05-01A)
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for 5th-8th grade
in Historical Fiction (Location: A05-01A)
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from Heritage Press
for 4th-7th grade
in Adventure Stories (Location: A04-01A)
Jack Plank Tells Tales
by Natalie Babbitt
First Edition (first thus)
for 4th-6th grade
in Adventure Stories (Location: A04-01A)
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from Robinson Curriculum
for 6th-10th grade
in G. A. Henty Books (Location: A05-04A)
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by C. S. Forester
from Little, Brown & Company
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from W. W. Norton and Co.
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in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: CLT-20C)
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by C. S. Forester
from Little, Brown & Company
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in Historical Fiction (Location: A05-01A)
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by Patrick O'Brian
from W. W. Norton and Co.
Nautical Fiction for 9th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: CLT-20C)
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by Patrick O'Brian
from W. W. Norton and Co.
Nautical Fiction for 9th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: CLT-20C)
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