Hello there and welcome. I am a 40 something married man with a beautiful wife and four sons to support. My wife is a Shona princess (Mashonaland, Zimbabwe) and a nursing sister at a major Hospital. My two step sons are aged 14 and 11, and the two youngest are 6 and 4. I started on eBay with the intention of clearing out my large collections of books, CD's, DVD's and Vinyl as I needed to fund my pride and joy, a 1988 XJ-S V12 convertible, and was getting fed up of packing them every time I moved. Now it has expanded into a necessity to help feed my growing family, confirmed bachelor to father of 4 in 28 months! The Jag now sits in the garage gathering dust :-(
You may be wondering about the shop name? Bilgames (Bil guh mesh) is the ancient Sumerian rendition of the more widely known Gilgamesh (Gil guh mesh). Gilgamesh was a king of the ancient city of Uruk in Mesopotamia (Mesopotamia, Ancient Greek for 'between to rivers' the rivers being the Tigris and Euphrates in modern Iraq) some time around 2700 BC. The tales of his deeds are known as the Epic of Gilgamesh and were written on clay tablets in one of the earliest forms of writing known as cuneiform (a sharpened reed (Latin cuneus) was used as a stylus pressed into the wet clay). The Epic is widely accepted as the oldest known 'book', predating the Old Testament by some 2000 years.
The law says I now have to register as a business as I buy and resell. However I do work full time so please do not expect instant responses! I will endeavour to reply to all questions and offers quickly and certainly within 24 hours.
I have always had an interest in all things Naval, my paternal grandfather was an RN regular 1922-1951 and of course served in WWII. He was on the destroyer HMS Icarus minelaying in the North Sea, Second Battle of Narvik (led HMS Warspite into the fjords with her sweeps out armed with a single 4 inch gun!), Bismarck (as part of HMS Hood's escort he came within 1 mile of her during the chase in a blizzard and witnessed HMS Hood exploding) and Arctic convoys and then to the Mediterranean on the famous cunard liner Queen Mary via the Cape (first time 10,000 people had been carried on one ship!) and the cruiser HMS Euryalus on Mediterranean convoys, North Africa, Sicily etc. He finished the war on board the aircraft carrier Theseus whilst she was fitting out.
My shops main focus is thus Naval books especially the highly detailed technical books of the Ensign, man o'war, Warships in Profile and Conway's Warship series. You will also find many books about daring real exploits and the grind and terror of convoy work.
A love for things nautical also leads me to list fiction and non-fiction books by:
Ronald Leslie Bassett (aka William Clive 1924-) former naval officer and author of several naval thrillers The Tinfish Run (1977), Pierhead Jump (1978), (The) Neptune Landing (1979), The Guns of Evening (1980) and a detailed work on RN Battle-Cruisers 1908-1948 (1981) and another on the town class light cruiser HMS Sheffield: The Life and Times of Old Shiny (1988).
Commander Edward 'Ned' Latimer Beach Jr (1918-2002) US author and former highly decorated WWII naval officer with several books on WWII naval submarine adventures including one made into a film, Run Silent, Run Deep (1955) starring Clark Gable and Burt Lancaster. There were two sequels, Run Silent, Run Deep: Dust on the Sea (1972) and Cold is the Sea (1978). Submarine! (1952) is non-fiction.
Garry S Beard () (John Fury) English author of very readable Napoleonic sea adventures. Only two books though, first published Mr Midshipman Fury (2006), Lieutenant Fury (2007) unlikely to be more.
Alaric Bond () (Adam Duncan) American author with four books first published His Majesty's Ship (2008), The Jackass Frigate (2009), True Colours (2010), Cut and Run (2011).
Tom Bowling () (Jean Cottrell) English author of very readable Napoleonic sea adventures featuring a Jerseyman as hero. The first book (The Antigallican) was first published in 2008 and features a unique insight on board a French Revolutionary frigate. Endnote promises more and indeed an ISBN and tiltle (A Ship Aground) have been allocated but no sign so far. There is also a book on Pirates and Privateers.
Brian Callison (1934-) English author of 21 sea going thrillers 1970-2008. A Flock of Ships (1970), A Plague of Sailors (1971), The Dawn Attack (1972), A Web of Salvage (1973), Trapp's War (1974), A Ship is Dying (1976), The Judas Ship (1978), A Frenzy of Merchantmen (1979), Trapp's Peace (1979), The Auriga Madness (1980), The Sextant (1981), Spearfish (1983), The Bone Collectors (1984), A Thunder of Crude (1986), Trapp and World War Three (1988), Trojan Hearse (1990), Crocodile Trapp (1993), Ferry Down (1998), The Stollenberg Legacy (2000), Redcap (2006) and Trapp's Secret War (2008).
Robert Challoner (1924-1987) (Lord Charles Oakshott) English author of a very readable trilogy of Napoleonic sea adventures first published Run Out the Guns (1984), Give Fire! (1986), Into Battle (1987). Keep a dictionary handy ;-) Died early 1987 before third novel published. There is also Jamaica Passage (1982).
John Davis (1774-1854) The Post Captain. First published in 1805 this is the only surviving contemporary comic work about the Georgian / Nelsonian navy. You will probably need the glossary to get some of the humour as some of the references are now obscure.
David Donachie (1944-) (Harry Ludlow, Horation Nelson, John Pearce) Scottish author of very readable Napoleonic sea adventures. Ludlow is a privateer (ex-RN) bit of a detective as well, 6 books first published The Devil's Own Luck (1991), The Dying Trade (1993), A Hanging Matter (1994), An Element of Chance (1995), The Scent of Betrayal (1996), A Game of Bones (1997). Nelson and Emma trilogy first published On A Making Tide (2000), Tested By Fate (2001), Breaking The Line (2003). John Pearce (son of political exile Adam Pearce and a pressed man) is the current series, first published ByThe Mast Divided (2004), A Shot Rolling Ship (2005), An Awkward Commission (2006), Flag of Truce (2008), The Admiral's Game (2008), An Ill Wind (2009), Blown Off Course (2010), Enemies At Every Turn (2011).
Paul Dowswell () (Sam Witchall) English author of very readable Napoleonic Sea adventure trilogy for the younger reader featuring a young boy as the hero. First published Powder Monkey (2005), Prison Ship (2006), Battle Fleet (2007).
John Drake () (Flint and Silver, Fletcher) English author of a series (3 so far) of prequels to Stevenson's Treasure Island. First published Flint and Silver (2008), Pieces of Eight (2009), Skull and Bones (2010).
Alfred Draper (1924-) Author of at least 18 fiction and non-fiction books first published 1970-1993.
J C Edwards () aka John Drake. (Jacob Fletcher) Author of two bawdy novels set in the 18th century Georgian navy Fletcher's Fortune (1992), Fletcher's Glorious First of June (1993). Well worth a read.
Cecil Scott Forester (the pen name of Cecil Lewis Troughton Smith 1899-1966) (Horatio Hornblower) English author of the Napoleonic sea adventures we all know. 11 books and 2 short stories first published 1937-1967. The last written is chronologically the fifth book and was unfinished. Countless omnibuses and reprints and a good few films and TV series. Suggested chronological reading order: Mr Midshipman Hornblower (1950), Hornblower and the Widow McCool (aka Hornblower's Temptation) (1970 short story), Lieutenant Hornblower (1952), Hornblower and the Hotspur (1962), Hornblower and the Crisis (aka Hornblower During the Crisis) (1967 unfinished), Hornblower and the Atropos (1953), The Happy Return (aka Beat to Quarters) (1945), A Ship of the Line (1938), Flying Colours (1949), The Commodore (aka Commodore Hornblower) (1945), Lord Hornblower (1946), Hornblower in the West indies (1958), The Last Encounter (1970 short story).
Alexander Fullerton (1924-) (Nicholas Everard) English author of a family saga encompassing both World Wars first published The Blooding of the Guns (1976), Sixty Minutes for St George (1977), Patrol to the Golden Horn (1978), Storm Force to Narvik (1979), Last Lift from Crete (1980), All the Drowning Seas (1981), A Share of Honour (1982), The Torch Bearers (1983), The Gatecrashers (1984) plus many other adventures (first published 1953-2008).
Edwyn Gray () English author of books on U-Boats and submarines. A Damned un-English Weapon: The Story of British Submarine Warfare 1914-1918 (1971), The Underwater War: Submarines 1914-1918 (1971), The Killing Time: The U-Boat War 1914-1918 (1972), The Devil's Device; The Story of Richard Whitehead, inventor of the Torpedo (1975), Fighting Submarine (1979), Crash Dive 500 (1985), Few Survived: a comprehensive survey of submarine accidents and disasters (1986), Submarine Warriors (1989), Operation Pacific: The Royal Navy's War Against Japan 1941 -1945 (1991), Hitler's Battleships (1993), The U-Boat War 1914-1918 (1994), Nineteenth Century Torpedoes and their inventors (2004).
Tom Grundner () (Sir Sydney Smith) Award winning American author of four books covering the life of this real life firebrand first published The Midshipman Prince (2007), HMS Diamond (2008), The Temple (2009), Acre (2010). Also wrote the Ramage Companion for Dudley Pope's books.
A Cecil Hampshire () author of many excellent World War II books. Armed with Stings, Lilliput Fleet, The Blockaders, Taranto.
Adam Hardy (1921-2005) (George Abercrombie Fox) Very addictive and gruesomely realistic Napoleonic sea adventures in 14 books first published The Press Gang (1972), Prize Money (1972), Siege (aka Savage Siege) (1973), Treasure (aka Treasure Map) (1973), Powder Monkey (aka Sailor's Blood) (1973), Blood for Breakfast (aka Sea of Gold) (1973), Court Martial (1974), Battle Smoke (1974), Cut and Thrust (1975), Boarder's Away! (1975), Fireship (1975), Blood Beach (1975), Sea Flame (1976), Close Quarters (1977). Book 5 (Powder Monkey) deals with his childhood and enlistment. This is a pen name for the Sci-Fi writer Kenneth Bulmer (1921-2005). The series runs from 1793 and ends in mid flow in 1801. No apparent reason why as he wrote more books as Adam Hardy on the Falklands War in the early 1980's.
Richard Alexander Hough (1922-1999) (Archy Buller) English author and historian best known for non-fiction historical works (The Hunting of Force Z, The Fleet That Had to Die, The Longest Battle: The War at Sea 1939-1945) but also author of a trilogy circa 1982-1984 based pre WWI and into 1914 in the last book.
Seth Hunter (1954-) (the pen name of Paul Bryers) (Nathaniel Peake) English journalist and director turned author of 'Napoleonic' sea adventures especially covering the French Revolution and its aftermath, The Terror, in detail. Interesting insights into Napoleon and Josephine. First published The Time of Terror (2008), The Tide of War (2009), The Price of Glory (2010), The Winds of Folly (2011).
Geoffrey Jenkins (1920-2001) South African author of 19 books 1959-1993.
Mark Keating () (Patrick Devlin) English author with very readable tales of early 18th century piracy. Published The Pirate Devlin / The Fight for Freedom (2010), The Hunt for White Gold (2011).
Paul Kemp () author of various World War II naval books
Commander Peter Kemp () former RN Officer who served in the U-Boat Tracking Room at the Admiralty. Several books on sailing, convoys and HM Warships. Decision at Sea: The Convoy Escorts, HM Destroyers, Key to Victory: The Triumph of British Sea Power in World War II, Oxford Companion to Ships and the Sea.
Alexander Kent (1924-) (Richard & Adam Bolitho) Napoleonic sea adventures of the Bolitho family. A good starting point with 29 books first published 1968-2007 and a much delayed and disappointing number 30 released 2011 (Alexander Kent is a pen name for Douglas Reeman whose last book appeared 2008).
Dewey Lambdin (1945-) (Alan Lewrie) American author, 18 addictive books and counting first published The King's Coat (1989), The French Admiral (1990), The King's Commission (1991), The King's Privateer (1992), The Gun Ketch (1993), HMS Cockerel (1995), A King's Commander (1997), Jester's Fortune (1999), King's Captain (2000), Sea of Grey (2002), Havoc's Sword (2003), The Captain's Vengeance (2005), A King's Trade (2006), Troubled Waters (2008), The Baltic Gambit (2009), King, Ship and Sword (2010), The Invasion Year (2011), Reefs and Shoals (2012). Strictly for adults only though...
A E Langsford () Author of three WII adventures first published HMS Marathon (1989), HMS Crusader (1990), HMS Flexible (aka HMS Inflexible) (1991).
Sam Llewellyn (1948-) (George Le Fanu Gurney) British author of a very readable trilogy first published Gurney's Revenge (aka Sea Devil) (1977), Gurney's Reward (1978), Gurney's Release (1979) he also wrote the Guns of Navarone sequels.
Paul Lund & Harry Ludlum () authors of various World War II naval books. The Fate of the Lady Emma, PQ17 Convoy to Hell, Trawlers go to War, Night of the U-Boats, Out Sweeps!
Jonathan Lunn (pen name of Daniel Hall) (Kit Killigrew) set 1847-1854 covering anti-slavery and the Crimean War. Six books first published 2000-2005.
William P Mack () (Christopher, Kilburnie) US author and former naval person
John Mariner () (Daniel Winchip) a trilogy set during the Seven Years War. The Eaglet at the Battle of Minorca (), The Eaglet at the Battle of Lagos Bay (), The Eaglet in the Americas ().
Lieutenant Commander Alastair Campbell Gillespie Mars (1915-1985) One of Britains foremost submarine commanders and following his Court Martial and dismissal a respected author of non-fiction Unbroken (1952) Court Martial (1954) HMS Thule Intercepts (1956) British Submarines at War, 1939-1945 (1971) and fiction Arctic Submarine (1955) Submarine at Bay (1956) Atomic Submarine: a story of tomorrow (1957) Fire in Anger (1958) Mediterranean Wolfpack (1960) Deep Escape (1962) Submarine Attack (1965).
Captain Frederick Marryat (1792-1848) Mr Midshipman Easy the book which started it all in 1836. Usually viewed as semi-autobiographical.
Francis van Wyck Mason (1901-1978) American author, and former Colonel, of over 60 books first published 1931-1978.
Kenneth Maynard (-1987) (Matthew Lamb) British author, and former army officer, of four very readable books first published Lieutenant Lamb (1984), First Lieutenant (1985), Lamb in Command (1986), Lamb's Mixed Fortunes (1987). He died shortly after publication of the fourth book.
Ellis Kirby Meacham (1913-1998) (Percival Merewether) US author of a trilogy of Napoleonic sea adventures set in the Bombay Marine 1806-1808 first published 1968-1976.
Philip McCutchan (aka Duncan MacNeil) (Halfhyde) fifteen books first published 1975-1991. Crimean War era.
Nicholas John Turney Monsarrat (1910-1979) English author of both fiction (The Cruel Sea 1951, an all-time classic made into an equally classic film) and non-fiction (Three Corvettes 1945) based on the authors wartime experiences.
Karl August Muggenthaler () author of a fanatastic book on the German Auxiliary Cruisers of World War II.
James L Nelson (1962-). US author who wrote 5 books 1997-2001 (Isaac Biddlecomb, Revolution series) 3 books 2000-2002 (Thomas Marlowe, Brethren series) and 2 books 2004-2005 (Samuel Bowater, US Civil War).
Patrick O'Brian (1914-2000) (Jack Aubrey & Steven Maturin) the yardstick for Napoleonic sea adventures. 20 books plus an incomplete manuscript. First published 1969-1999. There are other books worth a read e.g The Unknown Shore which follows Midshipman Byron on HMS Wager on Ansons voyage. Wager was shipwrecked in South America.
Cyril Northcote Parkinson (1909-1993) (Richard Delancey) very readable six book Napoleonic sea adventures featuring a Guernseyman hero. First published 1975-1983. Author is famous for Parkinson's Law, "work expands to fill the time alloted to it."
Daniel "Dan" Edward Parkinson (1935-2001) (Patrick Dalton) author of four sea going adventures first published 1987-1991.
Frank Pearce () former naval person (HMS Trinidad) and author of several excellent books on World War II ships. Last Call for HMS Edinburgh, The Ship that Torpedoed Herself (HMS Trinidad)
Kenneth Poolman () author of many World War II naval books including Ark Royal, Illustrious, Kelly, Faith, Hope and Charity, Night Strike from Malta, Escort carrier, HMS Vindex at war.
Dudley Bernard Egerton Pope (1925-1997) (Lord Nicholas Ramage, Ned Yorke) CS Forester encouraged Pope to start writing. Ramage is a very readable 18 book Napoleonic sea adventure and the equally readable four book Yorke series is set during the English Civil War in the West Indies (based loosely on Sir Henry Morgan). Other novels Convoy and Decoy are semi-biographical reflecting Pope's own war experiences and featuring a member of the Yorke family. First published 1965-1989, he was plagued and later crippled by injuries received in the war and did not complete the series. There are other non-fiction books on WWII naval matters (Battle of the River Plate).
Commander Denys Arthur Rayner (1908-1967) English author and former naval person of several books of WWII naval adventures including The Enemy Below which was made into a film, The Crippled Tanker, Escort.
Douglas Edward Reeman (1924-) action and adventure in the World Wars. Much reflecting Reeman's own service in MTB's. 37 books, published 1958-2008. Nothing for a few years now. His latest book was much delayed.
Sean Thomas Russell (1952-) (Charles Hayden) Canadian author of one of the best current Napoleonic sea adventures. Three books so far first published as Under Enemy Colours (2007), A Battle Won (2010) and A Ship Of War (2012).
Rafael Sabatini (1875-1950) Italian writer who hit fame for Scaramouche (1921) set during the French Revolution and Captain Blood (1922). Both were made into films in many versions.
Emilio Salgari (1862-1911) (Pirates of Malaysia, The Black Corsair) Italian author of swashbuckling adventures. Only 5 or so are available in English.
Paul Schmalenbach () German Naval officer (gunnery officer on Prinz Eugen) who authored a great book on German Auxiliary Cruisers and several of the Warships in Profile (Prinz Eugen, Bismarck).
Tim Severin (1940-) (Hector Lynch) English explorer and author of a very readable trilogy set around the time of the English Civil War abounding with kidnapping, slavery and piracy first published 2007-2009.
Peter Smalley (1943-) (William Rennie & James Hayter) Australian author and one of the best current Napoleonic sea adventures series. Six books so far, first published 2005-2010.
Peter C Smith () author of many World War II books. Midway, Massacre at Tobruk, Dive Bomber, Pedestal.
Tobias George Smollet (1721-1771) (Roderick "Rory" Random) first published in 1748 it is semi-autobiographical with the hero being pressed as a surgeons mate aboard HMS Thunder. Smollet served as a surgeons mate.
Julian Stockwin (1944-) (Thomas Paine Kydd and Nicholas 'Renzi' / Lawton) English author of one of the best current Napoleonic sea adventures series. 13 books and counting (21 planned) first published 2001-2011.
Vivian A Stuart (pen name for Violet Vivian Finlay 1914-1986) (Philip Hazard) Indian born English author of a series set in Victorian navy, Crimea etc. first published 1966-1976.
Lieutenant Commander Frank Showell Styles (1908-2005). Prolific Welsh author (aka Glyn Carr, CL Inker) of over 160 books who served as an officer in the Royal Navy during WWII and who wrote 5 books (Midshipman Septimus Quinn) first published 1956-1965 for the junior reader and 11 (?) books for adults (Lieutenant Michael Fitton) first published 1975-2000.
Victor Suthren (1942-) (Edward Mainwaring). Four very readable books first published by this Canadian author and historian 1987-1993 about a "colonial" ship captain serving in the RN. There is also a trilogy first published 1977-1983.
Edwin Thomas (1977-) (Martin Jerrold) English author of a gripping trilogy of sea adventures first published 2003-2006. Lieutenant Martin Jerrold is somewhat of a rake and a magnet for misfortune, despite the greatest 'interest' he manages to disappoint. He is touted as the naval Flashman.
Anthony Trew () author of many WWII sea going thrillers.
Warren Tute (1914-) English author and former naval person (1932-1946) of many WWII sea going thrillers.
John Vader () The Fleet Without a Friend, the French navy in June 1940.
Simon White () (Jethro Cockerill "Cocky" Penhaligon). A trilogy of hard to find Napoleonic sea adventures first published The English Captain (1977), Clear for Action (1978), His Majesty's Frigate (1979).
Richard Woodman (1944-) (Nathaniel Peake) a superb series of 14 books and 2 short stories of Napoleonic sea adventures. Peake is used for landing agents and misses promotion several times but eventually reaches Post Captain and yellow Admiral. A second series features William Kite the son of an Apothecary who runs away to sea fleeing his demons. Set around 1750 onwards.
Jay Worrall () (Charles Edgemont) American author of Napoleonic sea adventures first published Sails on the Horizon (2005), Any Approaching Enemy (2006).
I can do a bookfind service for anyone interested in naval books especially Conway's Warship series. Price will depend on how many of the set you require and what condition you would like. If you are not worried about dust jackets it is cheaper as copies that have none or have faded or ripped ones are much cheaper. Also if you are happy to take US versions by Naval Institute Press they also tend to be cheaper. Some are cheaper than others, some go for £100-£300 in bookshops. I will aim to get them much cheaper to maintain the average price! Volumes XI and XII are next to impossible to find.
Beware, there are an awful lot of bad copies out there going for so called bargain prices. Some are Ex-Library with pages missing and stamps all over them, others are just dirty. I only supply clean copies unless otherwise requested.
I also buy books, so if you have anything of the sort I am already selling please do drop me a line at email@example.com
Please visit my website at bilgamespalaceofpleasure.co.uk