Antione Vanner brings the revolution of naval warfare to life in the pages of The Dawlish Chronicles. Thus far totaling four books, the stories follow the exploits of Dawlish, a Victorian hero who is a man of his time, a brilliant tactician, and continually caught between honor and ambition. As wood and sail give way to steel and steam, Dawlish is thrown into one international turmoil after another, bringing the reader along in the wake of his daring adventures.
In the first volume, Britannia’s Wolf, Nicholas Dawlish is in the midst of the twilight era of wooden ships and the denouement of the Ottoman Empire. Detailed and thoroughly researched, the reader is transported into the brutal winter of 1877-78 as Dawlish is sent on a seemingly impossible, covert mission to stop the advancement of the Russian Czar and rescue the woman he’s coming to love. Filled with vivid battle scenes that highlight the advancing technology in weaponry, Wolf is a swashbuckling tale that is as exciting as it is historically accurate.
Britannia’s Reach follows the first chronicle, taking the reader to Dawlish’s journey, reminiscent of Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, deep into South America. The intrepid hero is paddling upriver to reclaim for the British an economic stronghold bankrupted by revolution. The idea of empire is key to the Dawlish Chronicles, and in Reach, the protagonist grapples with the ethics of his mission and the conflict of having an enemy he’s grown to respect more than his superiors. Duty is at war with personal sympathies in this thought-provoking second novel.
A historical spy thriller that takes the reader to the humid island of Cuba and gilded-age New York, Britannia’s Shark is a fast-paced, exciting read. Dawlish is joined by his beloved wife, Florence, who proves herself equal in courage and ingenuity as the pair are faced with the weaponry that will change the course of the world: the submarine. Full of adventure and personal tumult, Shark is military fiction at its best.
Set in the spring and summer of 1882, Britannia’s Spartan follows Dawlish’s journey to Korea in a role he has not yet played: that of a diplomat. Finally having achieved the well-earned promotion he’s coveted, Dawlish realizes both his career and life are at stake as he lands in the middle of the scramble for control of Korea. A brilliant tactician, the hero is faced with finding a solution to the powder-keg situation in the Far East as treachery and bloody international ambitions abound.
Seamlessly blending historical details with rousing fiction, Vanner explores the tumult of duty and honor in the midst of an empire’s global machinations as industry paves the way into an increasingly bloody era. A sense of foreboding permeates the tales in the decades leading up to the first World War, and the author gives the reader insight into this transitioning period between the age of wood and that of steel. With The Dawlish Chronicles, Vanner has proven himself to be a name worth watching in naval military fiction.