This is the website of David Black, the historical adventure writer.

He is the author of the best-selling Harry Gilmour series set in the Royal Navy submarine service during the Second World War, and the adventures of Chevalier James Lindsay, 18th century soldier of fortune. He is also the author of the novella, All The Freshness Of The Morning, a fictionalised account of President John F. Kennedy's war service aboard the PT-109.

By My Sword Alone

For young James Lindsay, the end is just the begining. A new novel, By My Sword Alone, following the adventures of an 18th century gentleman mercenary, will be published in April 2021. Click on the book for a sneak preview of chapter one!  

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Gone to Sea in a Bucket

Like all young men of a certain age, Harry Gilmour had his own notion of how a naval battle should be. This wasn’t it. Norway, 1940: Sub Lieutenant Harry Gilmour’s first encounter with battleship action is not the adventure he had hoped for. Faced with a thankless task and ill equipped to handle it, Gilmour’s inexperience leads to a damning allegation. His future hangs in the balance. But then Lieutenant Peter Dumaresq steps in to offer him a lifeline—an advanced navigation course that will take him aboard a crack submarine, HMS Pelorus, under the command of a Royal Navy hero. Faced with a possible court martial, Harry chooses life underwater. Once aboard, however, Harry is confronted for the first time by the full horror of submarine warfare. If he can just overcome his fears, it will be the making of him. Because survival itself is the challenge now. For Harry and the rest of the crew, the next depth charge could be the one that sinks them.  

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The Skipper’s dog’s called Stalin

Spring, 1941. France has fallen but the Free French naval forces are in no mood to surrender. Royal Navy Sub-Lieutenant Harry Gilmour is also ready for action, despite the horrors of his first taste of submarine warfare. When he is appointed as British Navy Liaison Officer aboard the Free French submarine Radegonde, he finds it anarchic, disorientating—and very French. Within its claustrophobic confines, suspicion and misunderstanding are rife. So when Radegonde is sent on a mission to Martinique, it’s vital that these proud men learn to work together, especially as it seems everyone from Churchill to de Gaulle—not to mention Hitler—has a stake in the outcome. Will Harry be able to navigate these dangerous waters safely and return with hard-won wisdom, or will old enemies arise to sink him?

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Turn left for Gibraltar

As 1941 draws to a close, brave young men are fighting for freedom in countries across the globe. But for Sub-Lieutenant Harry Gilmour, washed up in neutral Spain alongside ‘interned belligerents’ from both sides of the war, hostilities have come to a pause. Before long, his unlikely comrades must once again become his enemies, and he is back at the frontline of the battle for the Mediterranean. But aboard the submarine HMS Umbrage, operating in the waters off Malta, Harry is soon reminded that allies can be more dangerous than foes. When his volatile skipper is lost at sea, it falls to Harry to take charge of the boat—and of the lives of the men who now depend on him. Ashore, there is another lesson: how war drives its wedge between more than just nations. Shirley is waiting for him back in Scotland, but the world offers many distractions for a young man…As Malta is besieged from the air and home seems ever further away, Harry must summon all his courage not only to stay alive—but also to forge in himself the nerve and the wisdom necessary to shoulder the responsibility of command.

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The Bonny Boy

In book four of the series Harry Gilmour returns to the Mediterranean ... and meets his nemesis. A wartime sub prowls the Med...but who is the enemy? It is 1942. Lt Harry Gilmour has already made a name for himself in the Royal Navy submarine service. He has risked his life to save a fellow seaman after his first boat, HMS Pelorus is rammed and sunk in the North Sea. He’s played a leading role in HMS Trebuchet’s epic foray into a fjord in the then-neutral Soviet Union, to scatter German ships secretly assembling to invade Iceland. And as number three on HMS Umbrage in the Mediterranean, he had assumed command after her skipper had been lost overboard, and gone on to attack an Italian cruiser squadron. Yet he is only an RNVR officer – a Wavy-Navy wunderkind. But when he gets his own submarine as the Royal Navy supports Montgomery’s Eighth Army campaign, an unexpected enemy looms on the horizon. Harry comes face to face again with Captain Charles ‘Bonny Boy’ Bonalleck, skipper of the doomed Pelorus and now in charge in the Med. Harry blames the Bonny Boy for the tragedy – and has told him to his face. Can Harry trust Bonalleck’s offer to let bygones be bygones? Will the mission he is sent on help end the war – or end his career? Click on the book for a sneak preview of chapter one & two!  

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See You at the Bar

The story so far … In See You at the Bar, Lieutenant Harry Gilmour, captain of the S-Class submarine HMS Scourge, has been tasked with patrolling the Mediterranean and supporting Allied operations leading up to the invasion of Sicily. Someone, however, is on his tail: Captain Charles ‘the Bonny Boy’ Bonalleck VC, who cannot forget Lt Gilmour calling him out on his conduct during an operation early in the war. Harry is tired now, not having had leave for over a year, and when he’s nearly killed whilst on patrol, it makes him question his fitness for the job and how much more he can take. With the shadow of Bonalleck and self-doubt chipping at his confidence, Harry fights his own internal battle to maintain effective command of his boat and crew. Click on the book for a sneak preview of chapter one & two!  

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Never too old for a pierhead jump

It is New Year 1944 and Lieutenant Harry Gilmour RNVR, is recovering in Beirut from wounds received during an ill-fated British campaign to seize the Greek Islands. After four years continuously at sea and at war, he is expecting a shore job as his next appointment. Instead, a flash signal from C-in-C Mediterranean arrives: Report to Alexandria and assume command of HM Submarine Saraband. His new command has just arrived there from her builders, back in Britain, en route to the Indian Ocean and the war against Japan. But there’s been trouble on board. The Navy will only describe it as, ‘conduct prejudicial to naval discipline’, yet her skipper and first lieutenant have been summarily removed. And now it’s up to Harry Gilmour to pick up the pieces. With a sullen and uncooperative crew and a boat plagued by glitches and breakdowns, Harry is ordered into action against the Japanese convoy routes through the shallow, treacherous waters of the Malay Archipelago. There, endless, tedious hunts for targets through the island chains, and sudden, bitter little actions fought in sweltering heat and monsoon rain leaves Saraband’s crew even more exhausted and demoralised. Yet, if they are to survive against an Imperial Japanese Navy growing in anti-submarine expertise, Harry must turn them into a taught, fighting machine. Because waiting for them, as the war in the Far East grinds towards its final conclusion, is a mission as daring and audacious as it is vital. One that could deliver the Royal Navy’s most spectacular success of the war. Click on the book for a sneak preview of chapter one & two!  

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All the freshness of the morning

April 1943. On the Pacific island of Tulagi, a paradise of humidity, bugs and Japanese naval superiority, a young lieutenant arrives. He’s fresh out of Boat School, and although his father’s a big cheese in American politics, the rest of the crew just know him as Lieutenant Jack Kennedy. A lifetime of privilege has been cut short by war. And while he could easily have invalided out, or used his connections to avoid the conflict, young John F. Kennedy is soon promoted to captain of PT-109, a flimsy little boat out-gunned by anything the enemy cares to send its way. Kennedy quickly finds himself faced with responsibility, life-and-death decisions and the chance to show true leadership—to earn the respect he’s always taken for granted. This is a work of fiction, but is based on historical fact. It’s the story of how one man, faced with incredible danger, first showed what he was capable of.

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