Tuesday, 1 January 2013

A good start to the year ...

Received notice this morning, from my publisher, that my latest book, A Baltic Affair, is now available on Amazon (though at present only on the US site). The publisher is Indiego ePublishing and though the paperback edition went on sale from midnight, the Kindle, Nook and iBook versions will probably only appear next week. The paperback version is printed by Lightning Source, so it will be on their international catalogue and, no doubt, soon available on order from all UK and other retail outlets. The US price is a very reasonable $12.99 and I am advised the eBook version should be available at $3.99.

I confess that I had a lot of fun writing A Baltic Affair, as it is set in a period of history that I have long been interested in, and in a 'theatre' of the Napoleonic war that receives very little attention outside of serious historical treatises. In strangling Britain's Baltic Trade, Napoleon very nearly won the war by bankrupting Britain. It speaks for itself, that trade valued at £43 million in 1809 had dwindled to £5 million by 1812. Only the Royal Navy and the opening up of new trade markets in the former Spanish, Dutch and French colonies saved Britain.

The Baltic Fleet fought no major engagements, but played a key diplomatic role in keeping the ever shifting alliances of Northern Europe, Scandanavia and Russia open to trade and to the struggle to be free from the French domination of the continent. It must be one of the major ironies that Napoleon's Grand Army was equipped with British manufactured boots and uniforms made from cloth woven in Yorkshire and Lancashire. Right to the last the Royal Navy was engaged in all manner of skirmishes and in support of some major land campaigns. Their efforts to supply Riga, St Petersburg and several other Prussian and Russian ports and cities beseiged during Napoleon's campaign of 1812, contributed in no small part to the catastrophe of the Russian Campaign.

They played a key role in the capture of Gluecksburg, the Danish stonghold at the mouth of the Elbe, supporting a Prussian and Austrian Army against the Danes, then rulers of Schleswig-Holstein. A squadron of Royal Navy 'gunboats' commanded by a lieutenant (I've named him in the story and credited him with his proper role) which attacked and captured the harbour entrance and its defences, that turned the tide and gave the Prussians the city. Elsewhere in the book I've built the story round real events, so I hope my readers will find this an interesting as well as amusing story.

As I said, researching the background to this story was a fascinating exercise in itself and writing it was pure indulgence.

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