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Bill Baldwin Books In Order

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Publication Order of The Helmsman Books

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Canby's Legion (1995)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Enigma Strategy (2008)Description / Buy at Amazon

Bill Baldwin
Bill Baldwin was born June 6,1935. He was an American science fiction writer. Baldwin wrote militaristic space opera with his main series about a male protagonist called Wilf Ansor Brim. Many of his “Helmsman” novels were influenced by a World War II autobiography called “The Big Show” by Pierre Clostermann.

He graduated from The Mercersburg Academy and the University of Pittsburgh, where he received a BA in Journalism and a Master of Letters degree. He served as a lieutenant at the US Air Force Missile Test Center. Bill worked at NASA at Cap Canaveral, Florida in support of Project Mercury as Chief of the Reports Division. Later on, he served as a contractor for the NASA Manned Spacecraft Center.

Bill was the president for the Wooden Boat Association of north Texas. Additionally, he was the managing editor of The Brass Bell magazine of the Chris-Craft Antique Boat Club. He, along with others, helped create the Lawson Boating Heritage Center on Chautauqua Lake Bemus Point, New York.

Bill died at the age of eighty on October 14, 2015.

“The Helmsman” is the first novel in the “Helmsman” series and was released in the year 1985. Brim is a 21 year old Sub Lieutenant in the Imperial Fleet. He shows up at the Eorean Starwharves, a maintenance complex inside the planet spanning Fleet base on watery Gimmas-Haefdon. On his first assignment since getting his commission, he is fresh from The Helmsman’s Academy, where he weathered years of torment from other wealthy classmates due to his impoverished background.

The Academy had previously been a “private club” for the scions of Imperial wealth, but enormous amounts of casualties during the current war with the League of Dark Stars has called for rather desperate measures to expedite replacement of these losses.

His first ship is IFS Truculent, a “T” class destroyer, exactly the right kind of starship for this young man to cut his teeth on, with challenges galore to quickly make a veteran of this young Helmsman. Despite the torments continuing, in part due to long held prejudices held by the wealthy, the starship is populated with a crew primarily made up from economic classes and races glad to help this young man with his career any way they are able.

As one would expect, the love interest for this poor-as-a-church mouse hero is none other than one of the most desirable and most beautiful in the Empire’s royalty: Princess Margot of the Effer wyck star kingdom. Even though nothing goes easy for him, that includes Princess Margot, he acquits himself with daring, courage, and aplomb while starting to carve out a future for himself in the midst of a complex and long Galactic struggle.

“Galactic Convoy” is the second novel in the “Helmsman” series and was released in the year 1987. This opens while Brim, now a Lieutenant in the Imperial Fleet, gets assigned to the military team monitoring the construction and outfitting of IFS Defiant, the first starship in a whole new class of light cruisers.

The Defiant experiences some serious growing pains before she gets commissioned, however does eventually set off for duty at the sprawling Fleet base in the exotic city of Atalanta on the watery planet Haelic, which orbits the great star Hador (Hador-Haelic). Here, while his relationship with Princess Margot runs into issues, he meets Claudia Valemont and starts a new romance, along with surviving many dangerous missions.

The book ends with Brim and IFS Defiant engaged in an interstellar fight between the Imperial forces and the League of Dark Stars which is so all-encompassing, that it changes the course of history and turns on a single element of tech so ancient that nobody’s able to recall its precise origin.

“The Trophy” is the third novel in the “Helmsman” series and was released in the year 1990. Brim was once a fast rising First Lieutenant in the Imperial Fleet but has just been thrown out of the service during a post-war reduction in force, along with thousands of other warriors by some Imperial Government that all-too-easily forgets about how much it relied upon them prior.

The change devastates him, much like so many other young guys that come from humble beginnings, he bases a lot of his self-worth on his success in his occupation. For a short time, he hangs on by piloting worn out third rate spaceliners, however when this operation flops, he’s got nowhere to go.

As a last option, he works passage on one of the grand liners as a baggage handler to the City of Atalanta on the planet Hador-Haelic where, eventually, some of his old friends involve him in the great Mitchell Trophy astroplane races, and he winds up piloting for the Imperial Starflight Society.

“The Enigma Strategy” is the second stand alone novel and was released in the year 2008. As a vanquished British Army escapes across the Channel from the Dunkirk beaches, in London, Bart Robbins a Flight Lieutenant in the RAF, American volunteer Spitfire driver, decks an Air Commodore in self defense. As a result, he finds himself getting sentenced to twenty years’ imprisonment.

Later, while getting offered a full pardon and transfer into the US Navy if he’ll fly a dicey mission to retrieve a stolen Nazi Enigma coding/decoding Machine located in enemy territory, he figures he’ll risk it. Even once he learns he has to fly this mission in a ten year old racing seaplane fresh out of a museum, he pushes forward, only recently mastering the dangerous old Supermarine racer with enough time left for the mission.

Ferried to the Gulf of Genoa on board a Royal Navy cruiser, he takes off for Lake Maggiore, located north of Milan, Italy, where partisans have stashed the Enigma Machine. Upon landing, though, he’s told that the cruiser, which is his ride back to England, got torpedoed right after he had taken off. Now he’s inadvertently marooned with the world’s fastest seaplane and the purloined Enigma Machine.

Thus begins a desperate struggle to complete his mission somehow before getting captured by Mussolini’s dreaded secret police, the OVRA.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Bill Baldwin

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