Trafalgar: The Fog of War
“All I need is three days of fog,” Napoleon told his admirals, and they would have his greatest enemy at their mercy and the world at his feet.
It is 1803, and Britain and France are on the eve of war. Captain Nathan Peake, still in command of the sloop Falaise, is recruited to coordinate a secret operation to land agents and weapons on the coast of Brittany and Normandy to raise the flag of rebellion. Instead, he discovers that the real plan is to kidnap or assassinate Napoleon on the road to his country home of Malmaison on the outskirts of Paris. As Peake navigates the conspiracy and its aftermath, he finds his paths crossing with those of the legendary Sir Sidney Smith, American inventor Robert Fulton, and the Empress Josephine. But as the fog of war thickens, the risk of a chance encounter with someone who knows Peake’s true identity also grows. And all the while Napoleon is strategizing to divide his enemy and concentrate his forces on the weakest link. It has worked for the general many times on land—but will it now work at sea?
This is the story of the murders and intrigues, the myths and mysteries—and crucially the naval encounters—that preceded the most famous battle in nautical history. This is Nathan Peake’s Trafalgar, the true story of the events leading up to the campaign.
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The Sea of Silence
With Europe temporarily at peace, Napoleon Bonaparte has dispatched his victorious army with a vast fleet to the Caribbean. Its aim is to re-impose French authority in the region, and then occupy a vast swathe of territory stretching from New Orleans to the Canada border and westward from the Mississippi to the Rocky Mountains. But first they must reconquer Saint-Domingue (now Haiti), where they are opposed by rebel slaves led by the African general Toussaint L’Ouverture. Nathan is sent from England with a small squadron crewed by British and American sailors, tasked with disrupting French supply lines at sea and running guns to the rebel forces. But if the men are caught, they will be disowned by the British and US governments and very likely hanged by the French as pirates. This adventure will lead Nathan into a running battle with the French Navy in the troubled waters off Saint-Domingue, an increasingly desperate involvement in one of the most brutal colonial conflicts in history, a dangerous liaison with Pauline Bonaparte, sister of Napoleon and wife of the French commander, and a battle of ideas and ideologies that persists to the present day.
The Spoils of Conquest
The Mouth of the Nile, August 9, 1798: Admiral Nelson has sent Captain Nathan Peake on a desperate journey across the Middle East to convey a grim warning to British India. Bonaparte’s army is poised to deliver a fatal blow to the source of Britain’s wealth and power by marching overland to India. Arriving in Bombay, Nathan takes command of the East India Company’s naval wing—the Bombay Marine—an under-armed and poorly crewed flotilla of sloops and gunboats. With these meager resources, he must stop the flow of French supplies to their Indian ally and protect the Company’s trade from the pirates and privateers swarming in the Bay of Bengal. But when Nathan discovers the truth behind the East India Company’s honorable facade, he confronts some tough personal choices.
The Flag of Freedom
1797: Britain stands alone against the forces of Revolutionary France. A victorious French Army, led by the youthful Napoleon Bonaparte, is poised to invade Britain. And in his country’s darkest hour, Captain Nathan Peake finds himself imprisoned by his own side on the Rock of Gibraltar and charged with treason. To prove his innocence, Nathan must uncover the great deception that masks the French war aims. Is the great armada being assembled in Toulon bound for the shores of Great Britain or Egypt? His secret mission to discover the truth about Napoleon’s invasion plans will hurl him into two of the greatest battles of the 18th century.
The Winds of Folly
1796: Nathan Peake, captain of the frigate Unicorn, is sent with a small squadron into the Adriatic to help bring Venice into an Italian alliance with Britain against the French. He establishes a British naval presence, harrying the French corsairs that swarm out of Ancona in Italy, and confronts the politics of “intrigue, poison, and the stiletto” in Venice, but learns that Bonaparte is negotiating a peace deal with the Austrians—Britain’s only remaining ally. Worse, the Spanish are about to ally with the French. Nathan returns to the Unicorn and rejoins Nelson for the decisive Battle of St. Vincent against the entire Spanish fleet.
The Price of Glory
Captain Nathan Peake’s adventures continue as he charts a perilous course into the dangerous waters of post-Revolutionary Paris. There, he encounters two of the most beautiful and scandalous courtesans in history and their playmate, laughingly dubbed Captain Cannon, who is about to win enduring fame as Napoleon Bonaparte. Back at the helm of the Unicorn, Peake joins Captain Horatio Nelson, another young glory-seeker, in a bid to wreck Bonaparte’s plans for the invasion of Italy. Amidst the chaos of war, Peake has his own private agenda to find his lost love; but as the fighting spreads from the mountains to the sea, he discovers that glory comes at a higher price than he originally thought.
The Tide of War
When the tide of war is on the rise, telling friend from foe is a dangerous proposition. It’s 1794, and newly promoted Captain Nathan Peake is dispatched to the Caribbean to take command of the British navy’s latest frigate, the 32-gun Unicorn, a ship with a tragic history of mutiny and murder. Indeed, her previous captain was found washed up in New Orleans with his throat cut, and the men who did it are still at large. But Peake has greater problems to deal with: he must find the French war ship Virginie—sent to the region to spread war, rebellion, and mayhem—and stop her at any cost. Along the way, he confronts the seductive charms of La Princesa Negra, the witch queen of the Army of Lucumi.
The Time of Terror
In the Time of Terror, friends turn against friends, patriots are betrayed, and lovers must pay the ultimate price. 1793: British navy commander Nathan Peake patrols the English coast, looking for smugglers. Desperate for some real action, Peake gets his chance when France declares war on England and descends into the bloody madness of the Terror. Peake is entrusted with a mission to wreck the French economy by smuggling fake banknotes into Paris. His activities take him down Paris streets patrolled by violent mobs and into the sinister catacombs beneath the French capital. As opposition to the Terror mounts, Peake fights to carry out his mission—and to save the life of the woman he loves.