To celebrate The Shantyman being chosen as one of the Best Indie Books of 2105 by Kirkus Reviews, we are having an impromptu promotion. Here is how it works — today and tomorrow, The Shantyman will be available in Kindle format on Amazon for only 99 cents! The price will then step up to $1.99 on December 26th for two days, then up to $2.99 on December 28th for two more days, before returning to the regular price of $4.99. Click here to get your copy.
With eloquent accuracy, Spilman’s novel captures the life of a 19th-century sailor…. Spilman’s colorful, well-researched novel will enthrall both sailing enthusiasts and landlubbers. A fabulously gripping sailor’s yarn.
I am very pleased to learn that my latest novel, The Shantyman, is being featured as one of Kirkus’ Indie Books of the Month for August.
The Kirkus starred review from last June, called The Shantyman …a fabulously gripping sailor’s yarn. The review also says: With eloquent accuracy, Spilman’s novel captures the life of a 19th-century sailor…. A profound understanding of nautical terminology and procedure is also evident, yet the author is careful not to confuse readers who don’t know a “crojack” from a “spanker.” … Spilman’s colorful, well-researched novel will enthrall both sailing enthusiasts and landlubbers.
The Shantyman was recently reviewed by Kirkus Reviews. I am pleased to say that gave it a Kirkus Star. What does that mean? (I didn’t know either.) “The Kirkus Star is one of the most prestigious designations in the book industry. Look for the icon to discover books of exceptional merit.” An excerpt from the review: “Spilman’s colorful, well-researched novel will enthrall both sailing enthusiasts and landlubbers. A fabulously gripping sailor’s yarn.”
With eloquent accuracy, Spilman’s novel captures the life of a 19th-century sailor.
In 1870, on the clipper ship Alhambra in Sydney, the new crew comes aboard more or less sober, except for the last man, who is hoisted aboard in a cargo sling, paralytic drunk. The drunken sailor, Jack Barlow, will prove to be an able shantyman. On a ship with a dying captain and a murderous mate, Barlow will literally keep the crew pulling together. As he struggles with a tragic past, a troubled present and an uncertain future, Barlow will guide the Alahambra through Southern Ocean ice and the horror of an Atlantic hurricane. His one goal is bringing the ship and crew safely back to New York, where he hopes to start anew. Based on a true story, The Shantyman is a gripping tale of survival against all odds at sea and ashore, and the challenge of facing a past that can never be wholly left behind. ISBN978-0-9941152-2-5
The Queen Charlotte was anchored fore and aft off the Calcutta wharves in the Hooghly River, waiting for cargo. She was a fine, three masted iron bark; trim, low and fast on a reach – in all respects, the perfection of the shipbuilder’s art. If she had a single great flaw, it was on her quarterdeck in the man that the owners had chosen as captain.
Captain John McPherson maintains absolute control over his ship and those who sail upon her. The only one that he cannot control is himself, slipping into murder and madness in the face of the relentless monsoon.
In 1905, a young ship’s captain and his family set sail on the windjammer, Lady Rebecca, from Cardiff, Wales with a cargo of coal bound for Chile, by way of Cape Horn. Before they reach the Southern Ocean, the cargo catches fire, the mate threatens mutiny and one of the crew may be going mad. The greatest challenge, however, will prove to be surviving the vicious westerly winds and mountainous seas of the worst Cape Horn winter in memory. Told from the perspective of the Captain, his wife, a first year apprentice and an American sailor before the mast, Hell Around the Horn is a story of survival and the human spirit in the last days of the great age of sail.
Praise for Hell Around the Horn:
Rick Spilman brings alive the rough and tumble world of the windjammer with authentic and well-chosen detail, in a voice that is at once historically authentic, yet fresh as a salty gale. One hand for yourself and one for the ship on this fast-paced and gripping ride. – Linda Collison, author of the Patricia MacPherson Nautical Adventures.
Battling against endless contrary gales, constantly struck with disaster and tragedy, the crew of the Lady Rebecca encountered the same privations that hundreds of unsung sailors endured. As well as a story that grips with gathering tension, this book memorializes the gallant windjammer sailors of a largely forgotten era – Joan Druett, award winning nautical historian, novelist and author of Tupaia
A much neglected period of sailing history is brought to life by Spilman’s fast-moving narrative and apt use of fact and detail. – Alaric Bond, author of the Fighting Sail series of novels.