Fire On The Waters: A Novel War of the Civil War at Sea

Written by David Poyer
Review by John R. Vallely

Fans of contemporary naval fiction are undoubtedly familiar with David Poyer. His The Med, The Gulf, Tomahawk, and others follow the careers and adventures of sailors and ships in the contemporary US Navy and have been well received by critics and casual readers alike.

Poyer leaves the modern world of cruise missiles and high tech drama for a series set in the America of 1861. The US steam sloop Owanee is the ship on which his main characters sail to the relief of a besieged Fort Sumter. Each of the officers must decide where their loyalties belong (two successive commanding officers choose the Confederacy over the United States). All officers and seamen must struggle with the challenges posed by the evolving steam technology on warships and the demands it places on them.

Poyer knows his field: the descriptions of life on board the Owanee should satisfy even the most critical readers. He has also done his homework on the customs of life in Civil War era America. Advise the lookouts to keep alert for succeeding novels. It looks as if Poyer will provide a very satisfying glimpse into the naval aspects of the conflict.