By Force of Arms

By Force of Arms

by James L. Nelson (1996)

By Force of Arms book cover

Maritime historical novel that takes place in and around Rhode Island and Jamaica in 1775. The author served aboard the modern reconstruction of H.M.S. Rose, and his knowledge of the technical details of square-rigged sailing ships very much informs the narrative.

From the Back Cover:

Blending a seasoned mariner's expertise, a historian's attention to period detail, and a natural storyteller's gift for creating a cast of vivid characters, James L. Nelson brings to dazzling life a never-before-seen side of America's war for independence. Here is the conflict from the seaman's view, full of the sights, sounds, and sensations of the ocean—and of the thunder of cannons as the new world's freedom fighters vie for liberty. Well before Revere rode, seagoing American merchants were striking the first blows for independence. Drawn by the passion of the almighty dollar, none struck more deftly that Isaac Biddlecomb, captain of the Judea, whose smuggling activities made a mockery of His Majesty's Royal Navy. Pursued by the H.M.S. Rose, he sacrificed the ship he loved to the depths, and the fortune he stood to gain, rather than surrender—a bold affront that marked him for pursuit by the enraged forces of King George. Disguised as a merchant seaman, Biddlecomb is reunited with Ezra Rumstick, a comrade and fierce rebel advocate, in the very thick of the brewing revolution. On a brig bound for Jamaica, now serving as a lowly mate, fate tests his mettle when the captured Biddlecomb faces a life of hellish servitude under the mad captain and sadistic crew of the H.M.S. Icarus...

Last Edited