Nautical Fiction

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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208 Items found Print
21
Aubrey/Maturin #21
by Patrick O'Brian
from W. W. Norton and Co.
Nautical Fiction for 9th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: LIT7-20)
Admiral Hornblower in the West Indies
Hornblower Series #11
by C. S. Forester
from Little, Brown & Company
Nautical fiction for 8th-Adult
in Historical Fiction (Location: FIC-HIF)
$16.99
Admiral Hornblower in the West Indies
Hornblower Series #11
by C. S. Forester
from Little, Brown & Company
for 9th-Adult
in Vintage Fiction & Literature (Location: VIN-FIC)
$14.00 (1 in stock)
African Queen
by C. S. Forester
from International Collectors Library
for 9th-Adult
in Clearance: Literature (Location: ZCLE-LIT)
AIO Imagination Station Book #08
by Marianne Hering & Wayne Thomas Batson
from Focus on the Family
for 1st-3rd grade
in Imagination Station (Location: SER-AIO)
$5.99
AIO Imagination Station Book #14
by Marianne Hering, Nancy I. Sanders
from Focus on the Family
for 1st-3rd grade
in Imagination Station (Location: SER-AIO)
$5.99
All But Lost - Volume I
by G. A. Henty
from Robinson Curriculum
for 6th-10th grade
in G. A. Henty Books (Location: FIC-HEN)
All But Lost - Volume II
by G. A. Henty
from Robinson Curriculum
for 6th-10th grade
in G. A. Henty Books (Location: FIC-HEN)
All But Lost - Volume III
by G. A. Henty
from Robinson Curriculum
for 6th-10th grade
in G. A. Henty Books (Location: FIC-HEN)
All Sail Set
by Armstrong Sperry
from David R. Godine
Nautical Fiction for 4th-8th grade
1936 Newbery Honor Book
in Historical Fiction (Location: FIC-HIF)
$14.95
And the Ocean Was Our Sky
by Patrick Ness
from HarperTeen
for 9th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: LIT7-20)
$19.99
Apprentice of Florence
by Ann Kyle
from Houghton Mifflin
for 5th-8th grade
1934 Newbery Honor Book
in Historical Fiction (Location: FIC-HIF)
Barbary Jihad
Monroe Family Chronicles #4
by Douglas Wilson
from Veritas Press
for 4th-6th grade
in Historical Fiction (Location: FIC-HIF)
$15.00
Beat to Quarters
Hornblower Series #6
by C. S. Forester
from Little, Brown & Company
Nautical fiction for 10th-Adult
in Historical Fiction (Location: FIC-HIF)
$16.99
Big Six
Swallows and Amazons #9
by Arthur Ransome
from David R. Godine
for 5th-9th grade
in Adventure Stories (Location: FIC-ADV)
Billy Budd
Signet Classics
by Herman Melville
from Signet Classics
Realistic Nautical Fiction for 10th-Adult
in 19th Century Literature (Location: LIT6-19)
$4.95
Billy Budd, Sailor, and Other Stories
by Herman Melville
from Bantam Books
Realistic Nautical Fiction for 10th-Adult
in 19th Century Literature (Location: LIT6-19)
$4.95
Black Buccaneer
Dover Evergreen Classics
by Stephen W. Meader
from Dover Publications
for 3rd-8th grade
in Adventure Stories (Location: FIC-ADV)
Blackthorn Winter
Monroe Family Chronicles #1
by Doug Wilson
from Veritas Press
Nautical fiction for 4th-6th grade
in Historical Fiction (Location: FIC-HIF)
$15.00 $8.00 (1 in stock)
Blue at the Mizzen
Aubrey/Maturin #20
by Patrick O'Brian
from W. W. Norton and Co.
Nautical Fiction for 9th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: LIT7-20)
$7.50 (1 in stock)
Bounty Trilogy
by Charles Nordhoff & James Norman Hall
from Little, Brown & Company
Nautical Fiction for 10th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: LIT7-20)
$49.27
Bounty Trilogy
by Charles Nordhoff & James Norman Hall
from Little, Brown & Company
Nautical Fiction for 10th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: LIT7-20)
$29.99
Bounty Trilogy - Wyeth Edition
by Charles Nordhoff & James Norman Hall
from Little, Brown & Company
for 9th-Adult
in Vintage Fiction & Literature (Location: VIN-FIC)
Bright Island
by Mabel Louise Robinson
75th Anniversary Edition from Random House Books for Young Readers
for 5th-8th grade
1938 Newbery Honor Book
in Realistic Fiction (Location: FIC-REA)
Caine Mutiny
by Herman Wouk
from Back Bay Books
for 10th-Adult
1952 Pulitzer Prize Winner
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: LIT7-20)
$17.99
Caine Mutiny
International Collectors Library
by Herman Wouk
from International Collectors Library
for 10th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: LIT7-20)
Caine Mutiny
by Herman Wouk, illustrated by John Thompson
from Reader's Digest
for 10th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: LIT7-20)
$10.00 (2 in stock)
Captain Blood
Penguin Classics
by Rafael Sabatini
from Penguin Classics
Historical Romance for 7th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: LIT7-20)
$16.00
Captains Courageous
Junior Deluxe Editions
by Rudyard Kipling, illustrated by Lawrence Beall Smith
from Nelson Doubleday, Inc.
for 5th-10th grade
in Adventure Stories (Location: FIC-ADV)
Captains Courageous
Signet Classics
by Rudyard Kipling
from Signet Classics
Nautical Fiction for 7th-10th grade
in 19th Century Literature (Location: LIT6-19)
$5.95
Captains Courageous
Signet Classics
by Rudyard Kipling
from Living Book Press
Nautical Fiction for 7th-10th grade
in Realistic Fiction (Location: FIC-REA)
$8.99
Captains Courageous
Reader's Digest World's Best Reading
by Rudyard Kipling
from Reader's Digest
Nautical Fiction for 7th-10th grade
in 19th Century Literature (Location: LIT6-19)
$8.00 (1 in stock)
Carry On, Mr. Bowditch
by Jean Lee Latham
from Houghton Mifflin
Biography for 5th-9th grade
1956 Newbery Medal winner
in Historical Fiction (Location: FIC-HIF)
$8.99 $5.00 (4 in stock)
Carry On, Mr. Bowditch
by Jean Lee Latham, illustrated by John O'Hara Cosgrave II
from Houghton Mifflin
Biography for 5th-9th grade
1956 Newbery Medal winner
in Vintage Fiction & Literature (Location: VIN-FIC)
$20.00 (1 in stock)
Carry On, Mr. Bowditch - Audio CD
by Jean Lee Latham
from Well-Trained Mind Press
for 5th-8th grade
in Audio Books & Dramas (Location: CD-AUDIO)
$32.95
Catriona (David Balfour)
by Robert Louis Stevenson
from Living Book Press
for 9th-Adult
in Adventure Stories (Location: FIC-ADV)
$11.95
Clearing Weather
by Cornelia Meigs
Repint from Dover Publications
for 2nd-6th grade
1929 Newbery Honor Book
in Historical Fiction (Location: FIC-HIF)
$8.99
Commodore
Aubrey/Maturin #17
by Patrick O'Brian
from W. W. Norton and Co.
Nautical Fiction for 9th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: LIT7-20)
$4.50 (1 in stock)
Commodore Hornblower
Hornblower Series #9
by C. S. Forester
from Little, Brown & Company
Nautical fiction for 10th-Adult
in Historical Fiction (Location: FIC-HIF)
$16.99
Coot Club
Swallows and Amazons #5
by Arthur Ransome
from David R. Godine
for 5th-9th grade
in Adventure Stories (Location: FIC-ADV)
$14.95 $9.00 (1 in stock)
Coot Club
Swallows and Amazons #5
by Arthur Ransome
from David R. Godine
for 5th-9th grade
in Adventure Stories (Location: FIC-ADV)
Cruise of the Arctic Star
by Scott O'Dell
from Beautiful Feet Books
for 6th-Adult
in Adventure Stories (Location: FIC-ADV)
$13.95 $9.50 (1 in stock)
Curse of Carne's Hold
by G. A. Henty
from Robinson Curriculum
for 6th-10th grade
in G. A. Henty Books (Location: FIC-HEN)
Curse of Carne's Hold
by G. A. Henty
from Robinson Curriculum
for 6th-10th grade
in G. A. Henty Books (Location: FIC-HEN)
Dark Frigate
by Charles Boardman Hawes
from Little, Brown & Company
for 5th-8th grade
in Adventure Stories (Location: FIC-ADV)
$15.00 (1 in stock)
Dark Frigate
by Charles Boardman Hawes
Dover 2018 from Dover Publications
Historical Fiction for 5th-8th grade
1924 Newbery Medal winner
in Adventure Stories (Location: FIC-ADV)
$7.99
Desolation Island
Aubrey/Maturin #5
by Patrick O'Brian
from W. W. Norton and Co.
Nautical Fiction for 9th-Adult
in Historical Fiction (Location: FIC-HIF)
Doctor Dolittle Complete Collection
by Hugh Lofting
from Aladdin Paperbacks
for 3rd-4th grade
in Fantasy Fiction (Location: FIC-FAN)
Eagle of the Sea
by Bruce Grant
from Rand McNally
for 4th-8th grade
in Historical Fiction (Location: FIC-HIF)
$4.50 (1 in stock)
ECL: Captains Courageous
by Rudyard Kipling, illustrated by Dick Cole
from Classic Publishing Corporation
for 4th-8th grade
in Educator Classic Library (Location: VIN-ECL)
ECL: Treasure Island
Educator Classic Library #1
by Robert Louis Stevenson, illustrated by Don Irwin
Complete and Unabridged Edition from Classic Press
in Educator Classic Library (Location: VIN-ECL)
Far Lands
by James Norman Hall
from Little, Brown & Company
for 8th-Adult
in Vintage Fiction & Literature (Location: VIN-FIC)
$6.00 (1 in stock)
Far Side of the World
Aubrey/Maturin #10
by Patrick O'Brian
from W. W. Norton and Co.
Nautical Fiction for 9th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: LIT7-20)
$7.50 (1 in stock)
Far Side of the World
Aubrey/Maturin #10
by Patrick O'Brian
from W. W. Norton and Co.
Nautical Fiction for 9th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: LIT7-20)
$8.00 (2 in stock)
Fiddler's Gun
by A. S. Peterson
1st edition from Rabbit Room Press
for 7th-10th grade
in Historical Fiction (Location: FIC-HIF)
$16.99
Flint's Island
by Leonard Wibberley
from Bethlehem Books
Nautical Fiction for 5th-8th grade
in Adventure Stories (Location: FIC-ADV)
$11.95
Flying Colours
Hornblower Series #8
by C. S. Forester
from Little, Brown & Company
Nautical fiction for 10th-Adult
in Historical Fiction (Location: FIC-HIF)
$16.99 $10.00 (1 in stock)
Fortune of War
Aubrey/Maturin #6
by Patrick O'Brian
from W. W. Norton and Co.
Nautical Fiction for 9th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: LIT7-20)
$6.50 (1 in stock)
Golden Ocean
by Patrick O'Brian
from W. W. Norton and Co.
Nautical Fiction for 9th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: LIT7-20)
$7.50 (2 in stock)
Great Northern?
Swallows and Amazons #12
by Arthur Ransome
from David R. Godine
for 5th-9th grade
in Adventure Stories (Location: FIC-ADV)
Great Northern?
Swallows and Amazons #12
by Arthur Ransome
from Red Fox
for 5th-9th grade
in Adventure Stories (Location: FIC-ADV)
$6.00 (1 in stock)
Great Quest
by Charles Boardman Hawes
from CreateSpace
for 5th-8th grade
1922 Newbery Honor Book
in Adventure Stories (Location: FIC-ADV)
$9.95
H. M. S. Surprise
Aubrey/Maturin #3
by Patrick O'Brian
from W. W. Norton and Co.
for 9th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: LIT7-20)
H.M.S. Surprise
Aubrey/Maturin #3
by Patrick O'Brian
from W. W. Norton and Co.
Nautical Fiction for 9th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: LIT7-20)
He Went with Champlain
by Louise Andrews Kent
2022 Reprint from Living Book Press
for 3rd-6th grade
in Historical Fiction (Location: FIC-HIF)
$15.99
He Went with Christopher Columbus
by Louise Andrews Kent
2022 Reprint from Living Book Press
for 3rd-6th grade
in Historical Fiction (Location: FIC-HIF)
$15.99
He Went with Drake
by Louise Andrews Kent
2022 Reprint from Living Book Press
for 3rd-6th grade
in Historical Fiction (Location: FIC-HIF)
$15.99
He Went with John Paul Jones
by Louise Andrews Kent
2022 Reprint from Living Book Press
for 3rd-6th grade
in Historical Fiction (Location: FIC-HIF)
$15.99
He Went with Magellan
by Louise Andrews Kent
2022 Reprint from Living Book Press
for 3rd-6th grade
in Historical Fiction (Location: FIC-HIF)
$15.99
He Went with Marco Polo
by Louise Andrews Kent
2022 Reprint from Living Book Press
for 3rd-6th grade
in Historical Fiction (Location: FIC-HIF)
$15.99
He Went with Vasco da Gama
by Louise Andrews Kent
2022 Reprint from Living Book Press
for 3rd-6th grade
in Historical Fiction (Location: FIC-HIF)
$15.99
Hidden Foe
by G. A. Henty
from Robinson Curriculum
for 6th-10th grade
in G. A. Henty Books (Location: FIC-HEN)
Hidden Foe
by G. A. Henty
from Robinson Curriculum
for 6th-10th grade
in G. A. Henty Books (Location: FIC-HEN)
Horatio Hornblower Saga - Complete Collection
by C. S. Forester
from Little, Brown & Company
Historical Fiction for 8th-Adult
in Historical Fiction (Location: FIC-HIF)
$149.49
Hornblower and the Atropos
Hornblower Series #5
by C. S. Forester
from Little, Brown & Company
Nautical fiction for 8th-Adult
in Historical Fiction (Location: FIC-HIF)
$16.99
Hornblower and the Hotspur
Hornblower Series #3
by C. S. Forester
from Little, Brown & Company
Nautical fiction for 8th-Adult
in Historical Fiction (Location: FIC-HIF)
$17.99
Hornblower Companion
by C. S. Forester
from Naval Institute Press
for 8th-12th grade
in Historical Fiction (Location: FIC-HIF)
Hornblower Companion
by C. S. Forester
from Bonanza Publishing
for 8th-12th grade
in Vintage Fiction & Literature (Location: VIN-FIC)
$35.00 (1 in stock)
Hornblower During the Crisis
Hornblower Series #4
by C. S. Forester
from Little, Brown & Company
Nautical fiction for 8th-Adult
in Historical Fiction (Location: FIC-HIF)
$15.99
Hundred Days
Aubrey/Maturin #19
by Patrick O'Brian
from W. W. Norton and Co.
Nautical Fiction for 9th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: LIT7-20)
$7.50 (1 in stock)
Hundred Days
Aubrey/Maturin #19
by Patrick O'Brian
from W. W. Norton and Co.
Nautical Fiction for 9th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: LIT7-20)
$7.50 (1 in stock)
In the Days of Drake
by J. S. Fletcher
from Wildside Press
for 5th-8th grade
in Historical Fiction (Location: FIC-HIF)
Innocent Voyage
by Richard Hughes, Lynd Ward (illustrator)
from Heritage Press
for 4th-7th grade
in Vintage Fiction & Literature (Location: VIN-FIC)
$7.00 (2 in stock)
Ionian Mission
Aubrey/Maturin #8
by Patrick O'Brian
from W. W. Norton and Co.
Nautical Fiction for 9th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: LIT7-20)
$7.50 (1 in stock)
Jack Nastyface
by William Robinson
from Naval Institute Press
for 10th-Adult
in 19th Century Literature (Location: LIT6-19)
$7.00 (1 in stock)
Jack Plank Tells Tales
by Natalie Babbitt
First Edition (first thus) from MDC Books
for 4th-6th grade
in Adventure Stories (Location: FIC-ADV)
$8.00 (2 in stock)
John Hawke's Fortune
by G. A. Henty
from Robinson Curriculum
for 6th-10th grade
in G. A. Henty Books (Location: FIC-HEN)
John Hawke's Fortune
by G. A. Henty
from Robinson Curriculum
for 6th-10th grade
in G. A. Henty Books (Location: FIC-HEN)
John of the Sirius
by Doris Chadwick
from Living Book Press
for 4th-8th grade
in Historical Fiction (Location: FIC-HIF)
$15.95
Kidnapped
by Robert Louis Stevenson
from Grosset & Dunlap
Action/Adventure for 5th-9th grade
in Vintage Fiction & Literature (Location: VIN-FIC)
$6.50 (1 in stock)
Letter of Marque
Aubrey/Maturin #12
by Patrick O'Brian
from W. W. Norton and Co.
Nautical Fiction for 9th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: LIT7-20)
$7.50 (1 in stock)
Lieutenant Hornblower
Hornblower Series #2
by C. S. Forester
from Little, Brown & Company
Nautical fiction for 8th-Adult
in Historical Fiction (Location: FIC-HIF)
$16.99
Lobscouse and Spotted Dog
by Anne Grossman & Lisa Grossman Thomas
from W. W. Norton and Co.
Nautical Cookbook for 9th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: LIT7-20)
$18.95
Lord Hornblower
Hornblower Series #10
by C. S. Forester
from Little, Brown & Company
Nautical fiction for 10th-Adult
in Historical Fiction (Location: FIC-HIF)
$16.99 $9.00 (1 in stock)
Lord Hornblower
by C. S. Forester
from Little, Brown & Company
for 8th-Adult
in Vintage Fiction & Literature (Location: VIN-FIC)
$12.00 (1 in stock)
Lord Jim
by Joseph Conrad
from International Collectors Library
for 10th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: LIT7-20)
Lord Jim
by Joseph Conrad
from Reader's Digest
for 10th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: LIT7-20)
Lord Jim
by Joseph Conrad, illustrated by Lynd Ward
from Easton Press
for 10th-Adult
in Vintage & Collectible (Location: VIN-COL)
Lost Wreck of the Isis
A Time Quest Book
by Robert D. Ballard
from Scholastic Inc.
for 4th-6th grade
in Clearance: History & Geography (Location: ZCLE-HIS)
$2.50 (1 in stock)
Master and Commander
Aubrey/Maturin #1
by Patrick O'Brian
from W. W. Norton and Co.
Nautical Fiction for 9th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: LIT7-20)
123