It is 1777, the Year of the Hangman, and Captain Isaac Biddlecomb is bound for Philadelphia with his wife and child in the Continental brig Charlemagne. His orders are to take command of the newly built 20-gun frigate Falmouth and get her out to sea before she is taken by General Richard Howe's invading army.
Unbeknownst to Biddlecomb, the entire British fleet stands between him and the new nation's capital. Forced to run his beloved Charlemagne aground, Biddlecomb comes face-to-face with his mortal enemy, Royal Navy Lieutenant John Smeaton. Meanwhile, General Washington has yielded Philadelphia to Britain's might. As Biddlecomb and his crew battle to reach the prized Falmouth, only shipwright Malachi Foote and a ragtag band of deserters from the Continental Army stand between the vessel and the seemingly unstoppable British Army.
James L. Nelson is the award-winning author of more than twenty works of maritime fiction and history. His books cover the gamut from Vikings to piracy in Colonial America to naval action during the American Revolution and the Civil War. His novel Glory in the Name was the winner of the American Library Association/William Young Boyd Award for Best Military Fiction and his nonfiction George Washington’s Secret Navy won the Naval Order’s Samuel Eliot Morison Award for Naval Literature. He has lectured all over the country and has appeared on the Discovery Channel, History Channel, and BookTV. He currently lives in Harpswell, Maine, with his former Golden Hinde shipmate and wife, Lisa.
James Nelson is a master of his period and the English language. . . . Authenticity runs throughout the book, carrying total conviction. . . . Nelson writes with the eagerness of a young man sailing his first command.
Nelson’s seagoing experience is evident in his clear, convincing description. . . . The characters are strong and realistic, the plot and action believable and brisk . . . a fine adventure series.
Nelson now sails honorably with the squadron of naval-fiction scribes currently led by Patrick O’Brian. . . . His pacing is brisk and the salt air blows through every chapter.
Splice the main brace and drink a toast to James L. Nelson and By Force of Arms. Sailing in the wake of C. S. Forester, Nelson has done an excellent job of combining historical authenticity with firm characterization and lively action. . . . This is a fine yarn, deftly told.
Jim Nelson’s By Force of Arms strikes a blow toward establishing an American counterpart to Patrick O’Brian’s brilliance. With square-rigger experience in his wake and far horizons before Nelson, we can expect him to achieve one victory after another in the spirit of his British namesake.
A rollicking good sea story.
A lively and highly readable account. Exploring the lives of seamen, merchant captains, and Royal naval officers, By Force of Arms offers a realistic and minutely detailed account of shipboard life during the period.
Set sail with Jim Nelson into a world where he will lead you with the same command presence that he led his shipmates as Third Officer aboard the very real twentieth-century sail training ship HMS Rose. Plant your feet firmly on Nelson’s decks and you will smile as Patrick O’Brian has at Jim Nelson’s grace, wit, and humor.
Rousing plots, historical authenticity, and seafaring as vivid as a slap of salt spray. . . . Delivers plenty of action . . . Nelson’s page-turner brings the Revolution to life on the high seas . . . will please old fans and win new ones.
Nelson knows sailing, and he knows people. In Biddlecomb he has an all-too-human hero willing to step over any barrier to keep the British at bay and his own career on track.