The most recommended books about sea captains

Who picked these books? Meet our 50 experts.

50 authors created a book list connected to sea captains, and here are their favorite sea captain books.
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Book cover of The Heiress of Winterwood

Danielle Thorne Author Of A Pirate at Pembroke

From my list on clean and wholesome historical romances.

Who am I?

Danielle Thorne has researched, traveled, read, and written sweet stories about historical gentlemen, pirates, ladies, and not-so-distressed damsels from her home south of Atlanta for over half her life. A graduate of BYU-Idaho with an English minor, she also writes clean and wholesome contemporary romance for Harlequin's tasteful Love Inspired line. She is the author of over twenty-five family-friendly books in a variety of genres.  

Danielle's book list on clean and wholesome historical romances

Danielle Thorne Why did Danielle love this book?

This novel brings England's moors to life with a Regency romance that is sometimes haunting. It features a courageous heroine who doesn't know her own strength until she must flip social norms upside down by proposing marriage to a man she doesn't know or love—but needs. A couple determined to sacrifice everything for the love of a child makes this story memorable, and the romance is beautiful. 

By Sarah E. Ladd,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Heiress of Winterwood as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this sweet Regency romance, Amelia Barret will risk everything to keep her word-even to the point of proposing to a sea captain she's never met.

Amelia Barrett, heiress to an estate nestled in the English moors, defies family expectations and promises to raise her dying friend's baby. But she knows she can't do it alone and finds herself in the surprising position of asking Graham, the child's father-a man she's never met before-to marry her.

When the baby vanishes with little more than an ominous ransom note hinting at her whereabouts, Amelia and Graham are driven to test the…


Book cover of Persuasion

Anne Brooke Author Of Where You Hurt The Most

From my list on couples working through a challenging relationship.

Who am I?

As a writer, I’m fascinated by relationships, what makes them work and what might make them fail. And I’ve always been gripped by the power of two people who try to love each other, no matter how different they may be or what obstacles they face. I honestly believe that two people in love are far more than the sum of their parts and can create something magical that wouldn’t have been there without them. So, yes, I’m a romantic at heart but, even in these cynical times, I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I hope you love the books on this list as much as I do.

Anne's book list on couples working through a challenging relationship

Anne Brooke Why did Anne love this book?

I love this book so much because it’s about two people giving their relationship a second chance.

At first it made me feel sad because the heroine Anne Elliot could so easily have been happy with Captain Wentworth when he first proposed. It’s only when he returns to the area years later that she begins to listen to her heart rather than her head.

The years have changed them and they need to rediscover each other before they can be truly happy. It’s a quiet and deeply moving love story.

By Jane Austen,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked Persuasion as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 17.

What is this book about?

'In Persuasion, Jane Austen is beginning to discover that the world is larger, more mysterious, and more romantic than she had supposed' Virginia Woolf

Jane Austen's moving late novel of missed opportunities and second chances centres on Anne Elliot, no longer young and with few romantic prospects. Eight years earlier, she was persuaded by others to break off her engagement to poor, handsome naval captain Frederick Wentworth. What happens when they meet again is movingly told in Austen's last completed novel. Set in the fashionable societies of Lyme Regis and Bath, Persuasion is a brilliant satire of vanity and pretension,…


Book cover of The Sea-Wolf

Zoltan Istvan Author Of The Transhumanist Wager

From my list on to launch your best artistic self.

Who am I?

I am Zoltan Istvan, often considered one of the world’s most visible transhumanists. I began my career at National Geographic, but then turned towards leading the radical science movement forward that is now called transhumanism. We want to upgrade the human being with radical technology and overcome biological death. But all great movements need journies, and leaders of them need personal journies to be inspired by. These 5 books were the ones that inspired me the most!

Zoltan's book list on to launch your best artistic self

Zoltan Istvan Why did Zoltan love this book?

Most people like London’s The Sea-Wolf for the protagonist, Humprhey Van Weyden, who tries to teach Wolf Larson (the Sea Wolf) to be moral. But I actually think The Sea Wolf actually is moral to begin with. He uses a sense of expediency to make his decisions, but even there, along the way of the voyage, we see changes in him as he reconsiders Van Weyden. Ultimately, it’s an incredible journey of multiple characters in the book finding their truest selves.

By Jack London,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Sea-Wolf as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Hailed by critics as one of the greatest sea stories ever written, this rousing adventure offers a fascinating combination of gritty realism and sublime lyricism in its portrayal of an elemental conflict. Jack London began his career at sea, and his shipboard experiences imbue The Sea-Wolf with flavorful authenticity.
In the story, the gentleman narrator, Humphrey Van Weyden, is pitted against an amoral sea captain, Wolf Larsen, in a clash of idealism with materialism. The novel begins when Van Weyden is swept overboard into San Francisco Bay, and plucked from the sea by Larsen's seal-hunting vessel, the Ghost. Pressed into…


Book cover of HMS Saracen

Antoine Vanner Author Of Britannia's Innocent

From my list on war at sea by writers who’ve survived it.

Who am I?

In a long international business career, I’ve survived military coups, a guerrilla war, storms at sea, life in mangrove swamps, tropical forest, offshore oil platforms, and boardrooms. My passion for nineteenth-century history, and my understanding of the cutting-edge technology of that time, have inspired the Dawlish Chronicles. The Royal Navy officer, Nicholas Dawlish, and Florence, the love of his life, are real people to me. The challenges they face are strongly linked to actual events both overseas and in Britain in the late 19th century and I know most of the settings from personal experience.

Antoine's book list on war at sea by writers who’ve survived it

Antoine Vanner Why did Antoine love this book?

I met Douglas Reeman only once but I owe him a debt since he inspired me on that occasion to start writing seriously. He served as a Royal Navy officer in WW2 and saw extensive service in destroyers and motor torpedo boats. He survived a sinking, during which he was injured, and was wounded again off Normandy. He wrote many novels about war at sea—those of WW1 and WW2 under his own name, and as “Alexander Kent” about the Age of Fighting Sail. They’re all splendidly exciting reads in which fortitude, duty, and loyalty—to one’s ship, crew, and country—and the brutal realities of war are portrayed with a great feel of realism. He claimed HMS Saracen as his favourite—and, when read, it’s easy to see why!

By Douglas Reeman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked HMS Saracen as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Malta 1941. To most people HMS Saracen is just an ugly, obsolete ship with an equally ugly recent history: her last commander is due for court-martial after shelling the troops he was sent to protect. But to Captain Richard Chesnaye she brings back memories-memories of the First World War when he and the old monitor went through the Gallipoli campaign together. It seems that captain and ship are both past their best. But as the war enters a new phase, Chesnaye senses the possibility of a fresh, significant role-for him and the Saracen.


Book cover of Wild Bells to the Wild Sky

Regan Walker Author Of Summer Warrior

From my list on pirate sea stories.

Who am I?

I am an author of romantic historical fiction and a book reviewer of more than 1,000 books. I also have a blog: Historical Romance Review. I love deep historicals—both my own and those written by others--that bring history and realistic love stories to life. Adventure and love on the high seas is my favorite setting.

Regan's book list on pirate sea stories

Regan Walker Why did Regan love this book?

This is an enthralling tale of Queen Elizabeth’s Sea Dogs and a great love story. Few authors can come close to the masterful storytelling of Laurie McBain, which is why I am one of her fans. With an amazingly complex plot, this one features prejudice, treachery, threats to the queen, spies, gypsies, and high seas adventure making it one of her best. 

By Laurie McBain,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Wild Bells to the Wild Sky as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

She thought her love for him was unrequited, but when they meet again, she may just find that she's the one he can't forget

West Indies, 1571. Shipwrecked on an island for most of her young life, Lily Christian is rescued by the dashing sea captain, Valentine Whitelaw. On the voyage back to England, Lily falls hard for the sun-bronzed man, but her love is not returned.

Back among the glittering halls of court, Valentine tries to forget the young beauty he plucked from the Caribbean. But when he discovers innocent Lily is caught up in a treacherous plot to…


Book cover of Moby-Dick

Maddalena Bearzi Author Of Stranded: Finding Nature in Uncertain Times

From Maddalena's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Marine Biologist Conservation Advocate Traveler Reader

Maddalena's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Maddalena Bearzi Why did Maddalena love this book?

Moby-Dick is a true classic and an extraordinary book. I own a beautiful, old copy of it and I read this literary masterpiece more than once in my life, including last month. And not just because it’s one of the greatest books of all time, but also because I am a marine biologist who has studied whales and dolphins for many years!

The narration of this epic (and a bit intimidating) piece of literature - dated back to 1851, is poetic. I read mostly nonfiction books but, at times, I discover a fiction book that truly engages me. Moby dick has been such a book for me. Highly recommended.

By Herman Melville,

Why should I read it?

18 authors picked Moby-Dick as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Melville's tale of the whaling industry, and one captain's obsession with revenge against the Great White Whale that took his leg. Classics Illustrated tells this wonderful tale in colourful comic strip form, offering an excellent introduction for younger readers. This edition also includes a biography of Herman Melville and study questions, which can be used both in the classroom or at home to further engage the reader in the work at hand.


Book cover of Greenpeace Captain: My Adventures in Protecting the Future of Our Planet

Jo Miles Author Of Warped State

From my list on sci-fi and non-fiction about taking on greedy corporations.

Who am I?

My day job has always involved working with nonprofits, and my favorites are activist organizations. The grassroots organizers I’ve worked with are some of the most impressive people I know. Despite what science fiction stories often tell us, change doesn’t come from blowing up the Death Star, but from hard work and relentless optimism. At a time when corporations are growing ever more powerful, ChatGPT wants to take our jobs, and politics can be dismally depressing, I hope these books remind you that power is never absolute, and the future is what we make of it.

Jo's book list on sci-fi and non-fiction about taking on greedy corporations

Jo Miles Why did Jo love this book?

I picked up this book as research but I kept reading because it was fascinating.

I admire Greenpeace a great deal, and their style of direct action—they’re known for activists tying themselves to oil rigs or swarms of kayaks blockading ports to make a point—is a touchpoint for the activist organization in my series.

Willcox’s memoir about captaining one of Greenpeace’s famous ships often reads like a thriller, complete with chase scenes trying to escape the Russian military, and some of the anecdotes fall into the “truth stranger than fiction” category.

A very cool look at some impressive real-life activism that’s not wonky or preachy.

By Peter Willcox, Ronald Weiss,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Greenpeace Captain as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Man. A Mission.
GREENPEACE CAPTAIN


PETER WILLCOX has been a Captain for Greenpeace for over 30 years. He would never call himself a hero, but he is recognized on every ocean and continent for devoting his entire life to saving the planet. He has led the most compelling and dangerous Greenpeace actions to bring international attention to the destruction of our environment. From the globally televised imprisonment of his crew, the "Arctic 30," by Russian Commandos to international conspiracies involving diamond smuggling, gun-trading and Al-Qaeda, Willcox has braved the unimaginable and triumphed.

This is his story--which begins when he…


Book cover of The Captain of All Pleasures

Regan Walker Author Of Summer Warrior

From my list on pirate sea stories.

Who am I?

I am an author of romantic historical fiction and a book reviewer of more than 1,000 books. I also have a blog: Historical Romance Review. I love deep historicals—both my own and those written by others--that bring history and realistic love stories to life. Adventure and love on the high seas is my favorite setting.

Regan's book list on pirate sea stories

Regan Walker Why did Regan love this book?

One of my all-time favorite stories set on the high seas with a daring sea captain and a worthy heroine. The story involves two competing shipping companies in 19th century England, and two captains (the English Earl, Captain Sutherland, and the American, Captain Lassiter). Each must win the Great Race from London to Sydney to survive.

When Lassiter is imprisoned, his daughter, Nicole, who has been raised at sea decides to enter the race for him. Nicole is attracted to the handsome Sutherland, who when he first encounters her in a dockside bar, thinks she's a whore. Circumstances make them enemies. When sabotage of her ship forces her to join him on his ship, her spirit and his wall of stone collide. The result? A fast-paced story that grabs you.

By Kresley Cole,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Captain of All Pleasures as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In her exhilarating debut novel, Kresley Cole captures the drama, passion, and boundless adventure of the high seas -- as one fiery lass finds herself caught in a tide of torrid romance.

Raised as a free spirit aboard her American sea captain father's majestic clipper ship, willful Nicole Lassiter has never encountered an obstacle she couldn't overcome -- until she meets Captain Derek Sutherland. His sizzling kisses leave her longing, but after they share a night of passion, his subsequent disdain makes her blood boil. Nicole vows to take her revenge -- by helping her father beat Sutherland in a…


Book cover of Woman, Captain, Rebel: The Extraordinary True Story of a Daring Icelandic Sea Captain

Nancy Marie Brown Author Of Looking for the Hidden Folk: How Iceland's Elves Can Save the Earth

From Nancy's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Icelandophile Viking enthusiast Saga scholar Random reader

Nancy's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Nancy Marie Brown Why did Nancy love this book?

I love true stories of strong women who defy our expectations. Iceland’s fishing industry in the early 1800s would seem to be a man’s world.

But Captain Thurídur was one of many women who rowed out into the icy North Atlantic in open boats—and in winter, no less—to catch the fish that powered Iceland’s colonial economy.

Haunted by a ghost, a believer in elves and omens, Thurídur could read the waves and weather like no one else. Her catches were legendary. Best, in her 50 years at sea, not one of her crewmembers drowned. 

By Margaret Willson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Woman, Captain, Rebel as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A daring and magnificent historical narrative nonfiction account of Iceland's most famous female sea captain who constantly fought for women's rights and equality-and who also solved one of the country's most notorious robberies.

Every day was a fight for survival, equality, and justice for Iceland's most renowned female fishing captain of the 19th century.

History would have us believe the sea has always been a male realm, the idea of female captains almost unthinkable. But there is one exception, so notable she defies any expectation.

This is her remarkable story.

Captain Thuridur, born in Iceland in 1777, lived a life…


Book cover of Nine Lives Of John Ogilby

Nancy Blanton Author Of When Starlings Fly as One

From my list on Ireland in the 17th century.

Who am I?

Nancy Blanton is an American author of Irish descent. She’s written three award-winning Irish historical novels and has a fourth underway. A former journalist, her focus on the 17th century derives from a history lesson about Oliver Cromwell, weariness of Tudor stories, decades of enlightening research, and a little help from supportive friends in County Cork.

Nancy's book list on Ireland in the 17th century

Nancy Blanton Why did Nancy love this book?

While not specifically about Ireland, this is a most fascinating tale and true story about a man who started as a dancer, ran theater in Ireland, became a soldier, sea captain and so much more before he went on to publish the first road atlas in Britain. It’s the quirky details in this book that make it fun to read and quite informative about life in the 17th century.

By Alan Ereira,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Nine Lives Of John Ogilby as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Four hundred years ago, every barrister had to dance because dancing put them in harmony with the universe. John Ogilby's first job, in 1612, was to teach them. By the 1670s, he was Charles II's Royal Cosmographer, creating beautiful measured drawings that placed roads on maps for the first time. During the intervening years, Ogilby had travelled through fire and plague, war and shipwreck; had been an impresario in Dublin, a poet in London, a soldier and sea captain, as well as a secret agent, publisher and scientific geographer. The world of his youth had been blown up and turned…