Fire on the Waters
A Novel of the Civil War at Sea
The opening volume in a gripping new fictional series of the Civil War at sea, from the sailor and novelist who "knows what he is writing about when it comes to anything on, above, or below the water" (The New York Times Book Review). The year is 1861, and America shudders on the brink of disunion. Elisha Eaker, scion of a wealthy Manhattan banking family, joins the Navy against his father's wishes. He does it as much to avoid an arranged marriage to his cousin, Araminta Van Velsor, as to defend the flag. As war looms, Eli boards the sloop of war U.S.S. Owanee. There he meets Lieutenant Ker Claiborne at his own moment of decision. Claiborne, Owanee's executive officer, is an Annapolis graduate who's seen action in the West Indies and the Africa Station on the Navy's Anti-Slavery Patrol. Cool and competent in storm and battle, he now faces an agonizing choice between the Navy he loves and his native Virginia. Whichever road he takes, he'll be called a traitor. Within days, Owanee is ordered on a desperate mission to relieve Fort Sumter, the last outpost of Union authority in the newly declared Confederacy. And in Manhattan, Araminta makes her own move for independence. So begins Fire on the Waters, a tale of honor, loyalty, and the hunger for freedom. With authentic nautical and historical detail, veteran storyteller David Poyer follows Eli, Araminta, Ker, and their loved ones and shipmates into a maelstrom of divided loyalties, bitter partings, stormy seas, governmental panic, political blundering, and finally the test of battle as the bloodiest and most divisive war in American history begins. Poyer's deep, complex characters and vivid evocation of the heroic twilight of the Age of Sail will earn Fire on the Waters a place beside the work of Patrick O'Brian, Nicholas Monsarrat, and C. S. Forester.
New York : Simon & Schuster, c2001
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445 p. ; 25 cm