Age of Sail / Book Series / Main Character / Nathaniel Drinkwater / Nautical Fiction / Richard Woodman / Royal Navy

In Distant Waters, by Richard Woodman

Richard Woodman’s series of books featuring Nathaniel Drinkwater is among the very best nautical fiction series ever written. This adventure of Captain Nathaniel Drinkwater confronts him with some of the toughest challenges so far. It is now 1807, and while Napoleon is mobilizing in Europe, the British have also noticed that the Russians are seeking to expand their interests on the Pacific coast of Northern America. Drinkwater is sent out with his ship, H.M.S. Patrician, to sail around the Horn to protect British interests and put a stop to Russian expansion.

However, the mission does not get off to a good start. Drinkwater’s first task, before they leave England, is to hang a deserter. Next, Patrician has a very rough time getting through the Straits of Magellan. Bad sentiments are brewing among the crew, and they are on the brink of mutiny. Then, having cleared the Cape and at last northbound, the Patrician succeeds in sinking a Spanish frigate. They rescue and capture most of its crew.

The crew and its Captain are later released on parole in San Francisco. But the Spanish captain is not a man of honor, by means of treachery, he obtains vital information about Patrician, and engages in a cutting out operation, and captures Patrician. Drinkwater is imprisoned and Patrician handed over to the Russians.

Once more, however, the bold Captain has fortune on his side. He experiences one of the most extraordinary twists of fortune in his life. I can not reveal more; only add that this really is a book full of very exciting nautical action, treachery, desertion, challenges, and changes of fortune. In Distant Waters tells a great tale, and it is very well told by Richard Woodman, so this is absolutely a book I strongly recommend.