During World War II he joined the Royal Navy and served in corvettes. His war experiences provided the framework for the novel HMS Marlborough will enter Harbour, which is one of his best known books, along with 'The Cruel Sea'. The latter was made into a classic film starring Jack Hawkins. Established as a top name writer, Monsarrat's career concluded with The Master Mariner, a historical novel of epic proportions the final part of which was both finished (using his notes) and published posthumously.
Well known for his concise story telling and tense narrative on a wide range of subjects, although nonetheless famous for those connected with the sea and war, he became one of the most successful novelists of the twentieth century, whose rich and varied collection bears the hallmarks of a truly gifted writer. The Daily Telegraph summed him up thus: 'A professional who gives us our money's worth. The entertainment value is high'.
Think of Tomorrow (London, Hurst & Blackett, 1934)
(no UK paperback)
At First Sight (London, Hurst & Blackett, 1935)
(no UK paperback)
Pan Books 0330-02295-4, 1969, 239pp, 5/-. Cover photo
Set against the glittering background of a fashionable Swiss ski-resort, this is the story of a young man's discovery of love – and of hate.
When Ian betrays his pregnant wife, his young brother-in-law Denys plans a terrible revenge – despite his own involvement with Ian's sister.
But from murder follows blackmail, leading to 'a climax startling in its unexpectedness and completeness' (Manchester Evening News)
Pan Books X63, 1960, 344pp, 3/6. Cover by S. Boldero
Pan Books 0330-28401-0, 1983?, £1.95. Cover by Gino D'Achile
'I was unusually drunk the night my father died...'H. M. Corvette (London, Cassell, 1942; New York, Lippincott, 1943)
So begins the chronicle of Marcus Hendrycks, a man who had played with life for twenty-one years, while all around him cried the discordant voices of hunger and death in the turbulent Thirties.
Discovering the poverty and filth of the slums, enduring the horrors of war-torn Spain, he was to become a pilgrim through a world that teetered on the edge of disaster.
Nicholas Monsarrat's first great novel, the quintessential novel of its time and an indictment of an age, stands today as a modern classic.
(no UK paperback)
East Coast Corvette (London, Cassell, 1943; New York, Lippincott, 1943)
(no UK paperback)
Corvette Command (London, Cassell, 1944)
(no UK paperback)
Panther Books 652, 1957, 224pp.
---- [2nd imp.] 1958.
---- [3rd imp.] Sep 1959, 224pp, 2/6. Cover by Derek A. Stowe
---- [4th imp.], Apr 1960.
---- [5th imp.] 1962; [6th imp.] 1962; [7th imp.] 1964; [8th imp.] 1964;
---- [9th imp.] 1967, 222pp. Cover from a painting by Norman Wilkinson (The Tanker 'Ohio' in a Malta Convoy: August 1942, 1942)
---- [10th imp.] 1969, 222pp, 5/-.
Mayflower Books 0583-12085-7, 1972, 223pp.
---- [2nd imp.] 1972
---- [3rd imp.] 1973, 223pp, 35p. Cover by Chris Mayger
Three brilliant finger-biting stories of men in small ships one of the most crucial battles of the last war . . . the Battle of the Atlantic, when the convoys had to get through, despite the double threat of German bombers in the air, and U-boats, the invisible enemy below . . . Tales of heroism, fear and death, by the author of The Cruel Sea.Leave Cancelled (New York, Knopf, 1945)
(no UK Paperback)
H. M. Frigate (London, Cassell, 1946)
(no UK paperback)
Panther Books 560, (Jan) 1956, 157pp.
---- [2nd imp.] 1956; [3rd imp.] 1956; [4th imp.] 1958; [5th imp.] 1959; [6th imp.] 1960.
---- [7th imp,] Jan 1962, 157pp, 2/6.
---- [8th imp.] 1962
---- [9th imp.] Jan 1964
---- [10th imp.] Aug 1964, 157pp, 2/6. Cover by John Berry
Panther Books, 1967.
Panther Books, 1971, 220pp.
Mayflower Books 12096, 1972, 219pp. Cover from a painting by Norman Wilkinson (The Tanker 'Ohio' in a Malta Convoy: August 1942, 1942)
---- [2nd imp.] 1973, 219pp, 35p.
The Faces of War
Three contrasting faces
A torpedoed warship, crippled and sinking, adrift in hostile seas . . . and the gallant fight of the captain and crew to bring her safely into harbour...
Twenty-four all-too-short hours of passionate lovemaking between an officer and a girl...
Courage and self-sacrifice in the bomb-blasted streets of London during the blitz...
Three unforgettable stories by the incomparible author of The Cruel Sea.
Chariot Books, 1952, 180pp, 2/-.
My brother Denys, subtitled The Monsarrat Story, can be enjoyed both as a moving evocation of the years between the two World Wars and as a carefully etched family portrait. Indispensible to the vast public which, having read The Cruel Sea, is eager to "meet the author." My Brother Denys has for its widely-varied background, Britain, the Continent and, of course, some authentic seascapes. It is an autobiographical record written with humour, tenderness, economy, and stamped with that intangible "something" best described as personality—qualities which more than justify its selection as the Chariot Book Choice of the Month.
Penguin Books 1121, 1956, 444pp.
Penguin Books 1121, 1960s, 5/-. Cover designed by Martin Bassett/Keystone Press
Penguin Books 0140-01121-8, 1972, 445pp.
Penguin Books 978-0141-04283-1, (Aug) 2009, 448pp, £8.99.
Based on the author's own vivid experiences, The Cruel Sea is the nail-biting story of the crew of HMS Compass Rose, a corvette assigned to protect convoys in World War Two.
Darting back and forth across the icy North Atlantic, Compass Rose played a deadly cat and mouse game with packs of German U-boats lying in wait beneath the ocean waves.
Packed with tension and vivid descriptions of agonizing U-boat hunts, this tale of the most bitter and chilling campaign of the war tells of ordinary, heroic men who had to face a brutal menace which would strike without warning from the deep . . .
Corgi Books T179, 1956, 255pp, 2/-. Cover by John Richards
---- [2nd imp.] 1957; [3rd imp.] 1957; [4th imp.] 1957.
Pan Books X497, 1966, 203pp.
Pan Books 0330-10497-7, 1972, 30p. Cover photo
House of Stratus 1842-32157-9, (Sep) 2000, 250pp.
Power, greed and vanity were at the core of Mrs Bannister's hard determination; against them, Esther Costello – young frightened, ashamed – had nothing to set save her isolated will. Esther, deaf, dumb and blind, as a result of an accident, is brutally awakened to the reality of her existence and becomes a helpless pawn in a vicious imposition on public sympathy...
Pan Books 0330-02001-3, 1968, 3/6.
What a job for a virile but penniless young American... looking for a lovely nineteen-year-old French blonde along the Riviera... a blonde without family or ties, and who would not be missed – by anyone...
There were snags, of course... having to find a genuine medieval castle... to entertain his employer's glamorous wife... but as Tom Welles said, 'What had he got to lose?'
Only his life...
Pan Books M4, 1959, 506pp, 5/-. Cover by Dave Taylor
Pan Books 0330-02470-1, 1970, 383pp.
Pan Books 0330-40020-7 [xth imp.] 1974, 506pp, 60p. Cover photo
---- [xth imp.] n.d., 506pp, £2.50. Cover by Gino D'Achille
A sullen restlessness stirs in Pharamaul, an African island where a policeman's uniform was the signal for silence...
A young chief nurses hatred, disappointment, and wounded pride . . . his rivals fan the hot temper of his tribe . . . and through the northern jungle, the Sign of the Fish perverted by pagan ritual becomes a terrifying symbol of revolt and obscene death . . .
A handful of white men and women become hostages to fortune as the explosive situation moves towards its barbaric climax.
Pan Books G511, 1961, 203pp, 2/6. Cover by Pat Owen
Pan Books X499
Pan Books 0330-10499-3, 1970s.
Pan Books 0330-10499-3, 1980, 204pp. Cover by Brian Sweet
A star-studded collection of ten tales specially chosen by this outstanding novelist.
The Ship That Died Of Shame. The story of a motor gun-boat dishonoured by smugglers which took its revenge in a raging sea.
Licensed To Kill. A honeymoon turns into a man-hunt when an ex-commando employs the tricks of his trade.
The Thousand Islands Snatch. Days of terror for a beautiful girl – hostage for a fortune.
Whether he writes of fighting ships or luxury liners, of men and women struggling to survive, Monsarrat exhibits his own brand of hard-hitting storytelling.
Pan Books X183, 1963, 348pp, 3/6. Cover by J. Oval
---- [2nd imp.] 1963; [3rd imp.] 1963; [4th imp.] 1964; [5th imp.] 1964; [6th imp.] 1964; [7th imp.] 1965; [8th imp.] 1967
Pan Books 0330-10183-8 [9th imp.] 1969, 348pp, 5/-. Cover photo
---- [10th imp.] 1969
---- [xth imp.] 1972, 35p.
Carl, the poker-playing mastermind...
Diane and Kathy, the two fast-working sirens...
Louis, the vicious young gigolo...
The Professor, their 'respectable' treasurer...
– these were the pirates of the twentieth-century sea lanes – more ruthless, cunning and predatory than any cut-throats of old.
Footloose millionaires, legacy-laden matrons, lonely divorcees – these were their pleasure-seeking victims.
The Alcestis, outward bound from New York on a sun-soaked cruise – this is their fabulous hunting ground.
Pan Books M46, 1963, 365pp, 5/-. Cover by W. F. Phillipps
Pan Books, 1970. Cover photo
Pan Books 0330-20046-1, 1980, 365pp, £1.75. Cover by George Sharp
Makassang – an island in the tropic Java Sea, at once savage and splendid, red with the stain of blood and the glow of rubies . . .
Richard Marriott – baronet's son-turned-buccaneer, promised a fortune if he saves the throne of the island's ancient and cruel Rajah . . .
Sunara – the Rajah's daughter, irresistible in her flowe-like beauty and unashamed passion . . .
Fierce battles, voluptuous dances and barbaric tortures breathtakingly mingle in this tremendous historical novel.
Pan Books G694, 1965, 126pp, 2/6. Cover by J. Oval
The great ice mountain towered above the northern coast, piercing the Canadian Arctic sky. One slope had eroded – leaving a natural pathway. Shepherd, long attracted to the shimmering beauty of the giant, took the pathway through the wall of ice and came face to face with the time before this.To Stratford With Love (Toronto, McClelland & Stewart, 1963)
(no UK paperback)
Pan Books G695, 1965, 127pp.
What sort of men are those who desert their own country for another, openly hostile and alien? What do they hope to gain? How do they actually fare on that other side of the fence where the grass seems greener? Read this book and the answers to these questions become abundantly clear.
In this engrossing story there is violence, both physical and moral, and suspense that builds up to a mind-jarring climax.
Pan Books X498, 1966, 156pp, 3/6.
Liverpool Docks, on Merseyside – a great liner has already been delayed from setting sail by a senseless strike.
As the last of the frustrated passengers come aboard, including the shipping line's chairman, a walk-out of stewards is suddenly threatened. Below decks agitation and unrest mount, tightening their grip as the tide waters rise and the vital hour for sailing approaches.
Pan Books, 1968, 124pp.
Pan Books 0330-02002-1, [3rd imp.] 1972, 123pp, 25p. Cover still. Movie tie-in.
When a man believes himself a failure at his job and in his marriage, he is easy prey to the enticements of a pregnant seventeen-year-old girl.
Mercilessly she leads him to a relentless destiny . . . towards the moment of truth . . . the precipice of fear . . .
Something to Hide is the fourth of Nicholas Monsarrat's series of short novels Signs of the Times in which he comments with perceptive insight on the problems attendant to this day and age. The first three books in the series dealing respectively with nuclear holocaust, treason in the Cold War, and 'Wildcat' strikes are already Pan books.
Pan Books M188, 1967, 333pp, 5/-.
Pan Books 0330-20188-3, 1977, 333pp.
What happens when a beautiful, successful career girl marries an idealistic young writer? There's a fascinating twist to the answer when he tastes the corrupting fruit of success and she starts to question her former values...
This is a gripping story of two people and their marriage, set against the glittering background of glamorous high life in South Africa, New York and Barbados.
Passion, conflict and infidelity are vividly depicted before the moving climax is reached in a novel you won't be able to put down.
Pan Books 0330-02294-6, 1969, 458pp, 7/6. Cover photo
---- [xth imp.] c.1972. Cover photo
One of the world's most phenomenally successful authors tells with candour, wit and splendid gusto the fascinating story of his own life. It is not only the story of a boy growing up to be a writer but of a man coming to know himself, learning to live and to love in the gay, sad, turbulent years before the Second World War.
Pan Books 0330-02470-1, 1970, 382pp, 7/- (35p). Cover photo
The new Monsarrat bombshell reveals, with all the mastery of character and scene for which he is famous, how the African island of Pharamaul betrays her independence.
The new Prime Minister – formerly exiled by the British – is Dinamaula. His intentions are good, his path to hell straight.
Visiting the UN leaves him with a Black Power complex and a white mistress.
In Pharamaul, lechery and treachery soon replace principles and idealism. Corruption and extravagance reap civil war and cannibalism. And Dinamaula, now dictator, dreams of fresh empires...
Pan Books 0330-23352-1, 1972, 476pp, 50p. Cover photo
Breaking In, Breaking Out (New York, Morrow, 1971; contains Life is a Four-Letter Word: Breaking In and Life is a Four-Letter Word: Breaking Out)
(no UK paperback)
Pan Books 0330-24266-0, 1975.
---- [xth imp.]
---- [xth imp.] c.1980.
Cassell Military Paperbacks 0304-35844-4, 2001, xxx+427pp, £8.99. Cover photo
Monsarrat at Sea (London, Cassell, 1975; New York, Morrow, 1976; omnibus contains "The Longest Love, The Longest Hate"; Three Corvettes; "I Was There"; "A Ship to Remember"; H. M. S. Marlborough Will Enter Harbour; "It Was Cruel" and The Ship That Died of Shame)A classic novel set in the siege of Malta 1940-1942 from the bestselling author of The Cruel Sea
Father Salvatore was a simple, lumbering priest, a Kappillan serving the poor Valetta, when war came out of the blue skies to pound the island to dust.
Now amid the catacombs discovered by a chance bomb, he cared for the flood of homeless, starving, frightened people who sought shelter from the death that fell unceasingly from the sky.
His story, and the story of Malta, is told in superbly graphic pictures of six days during the siege. Each of those days brought forth from the Kappillan a message of inspiration to keep them going - the legendary tales of six mighty events of Malta's history which shone through the centuries and gathered them together in a fervent belief in their survival.
(no UK paperback)
Pan Books 0330-25845-1, 1979, 509pp, £1.50. Cover by Chris Mayger
When Drake's fireships sailed against the Armada in the Calais Roads, it was the flawed courage of one man that imperilled his admiral's master stroke.
That coward was Matthew Lawe, Drake's own coxwain. His cowardice brought upon him a curse – that he sail the seas for the rest of time to purge the guilt of one fatal day... Through all the centuries of wind and wave and warfare, to the Arctic with the doomed Hudson expedition and to the sunbleached Main with Morgan the pirate... as fisherman on the Grand Banks and clerk to Pepys at the Admiralty... with Cook to the bloodstained Hawaii beach and with Nelson to his last great seafight off Cape Trafalgar...
Pan Books 0330-26553-9, 1981, 200pp, £1.50. Cover by Paul Wright
In the bitter days that followed Trafalgar, Matthew Lawe watched as England mourned her greatest sailor son and then turned sadly away, a man damned to live forever. If damned he was then he'd take the trade of the damned, as master of a slaver bound out of Liverpool for the hellhole of Africa and the Caribbean paradise of rum and tobacco and trader's gold...