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John Pearce Books In Order

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Publication Order of John Pearce Books

By the Mast Divided (2005)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Shot Rolling Ship (2005)Description / Buy at Amazon
An Awkward Commission (2007)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Flag of Truce (2008)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Admiral's Game (2008)Description / Buy at Amazon
An Ill Wind (2009)Description / Buy at Amazon
Blown Off Course (2010)Description / Buy at Amazon
Enemies at Every Turn (2012)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Sea of Troubles (2012)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Divided Command (2013)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Devil to Pay (2014)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Perils of Command (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Treacherous Coast (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon
On a Particular Service (2017)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Close Run Thing (2019)Description / Buy at Amazon
HMS Hazard (2021)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Troubled Course (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon
Droits of the Crown (2023)Description / Buy at Amazon

The John Pearce series is one of well known novel series written by the Scottish author Donald Donahie. This series is based on the historical fiction genre. Author Donachie has set the series during the end of the 18th century. The chief protagonist featured in the series is John Pearce, who is introduced as a Pelican. In the beginning of the series, John Pearce gets forcefully press ganged to join the Royal Navy. He, along with some of his comrades from the Pelican gang, gets placed on the HMS Brilliant, a British frigate sent on a voyage to fight the French. On board the frigate, John befriends several fellow crew members and again forms his Pelican gang with the objective of looking after one another. The ones like John Pearce are listed among the pressed ones and so form the lowest members on board the overcrowded ship. During the voyage, John Pearce goes on to shine as a natural leader as he helps to come out of difficult situations with the use of natural skills. Author Donachie began writing the series in the year 2004 and published its debut book in the following year. As of now, the book series is still going on as author Donachie is working to bring out a new book as a part of the series very soon.

One of the initial books of the John Pearce series written by Donald Donachie is titled as ‘A Flaf of Truce’. It was released in 2008 by the Allison and Busby publishers. Author Donachie has depicted the main characters in this story as John Pearce, Admiral Hotham, Henry Digby, Captain Barclay, and Emily Barclay. At the start of the book, John Pearce is shown returning back to his homeland from Corsica after being pressed into the Royal Navy. He demands that Captain Barclay of the HMS Brilliant be tried in a civilian court at home. John Pearce is pissed at Captain Barclay because he is the one responsible for pressing him and his fellow comrades of the Pelican gang in the Navy. As the background is set with the ongoing Toulan siege and as the Revolutionary Army is busy in preparing for an attack, John’s request is not entertained by anyone in the authority as they think that the time is not right to pay attention to such things. Barclay orders one of his patrons named Admiral Hotham to find a way out of this dilemma. Hotham goes on to staff the ship that John Pearce had captured and brought under control in Corsica.

Admiral Hotham fills this ship with all those members of the Navy who refused to serve under the flag of Bourbon, including John Pearce. Later, Hotham hands the ship to Henry Digby. Henry transports the Pelicans and the renegade sailors of France to a port in the Atlantic so as to give them their freedom. As John Pearce is moved out of his way, Admiral Hotham arranges a court martial in which Captain Barclay is declared innocent due to lack of eligible evidence. Because of this act of Barclay, a breach takes place between him and his beautiful wife named Emily Barclay. After some time, John Pearce makes a return back to the siege after surviving conflicts on both water and land. He learns that Captain Barclay has been acquitted of all the charges laid by him and that he has been exempted from any further trials as per the double jeopardy law. In order to teach Barclay a lesson and take his revenge from him, he begins to romance with his wife Emily Barclay. He is warned to stop doing it, but, he does not seem to care and continues to do so. In the background, the mayhem continues to mount as the revolutionary forces are getting closer to recapture the port and one among them is the ferocious Napoleon Bonaparte. Emergency evacuation takes place in Toulon in order to avoid the destruction of life and property on a larger scale.

Another popular book written by Donachie in the series is entitled ‘The Admirals’ Game’. It was also released by Allison & Busby in 2009. Author Donachie has mentioned the central characters in this book as Emily Barclay, Admiral Hood, Ralph Barclay, and Admiral Hotham. The other supporting characters include the Pelican gang members. Donachie has set the plot against the backdrop of the 1794 French Revolution. At the start of the novel, it is shown that John Pearce has gone through a number of adversaries, since he was press ganged illegally to join the Navy of King George. Because of successfully overcoming all the adversaries, he secured a commanding position on board the HMS Faron. Previously, John Pearce had overcome the attack of the French forces during the Toulon Siege with the help of his Pelican comrades. Now, he is facing a bloody battle in the on-going attempt to defend the overtaking of the port by the French naval forces. As all this is happening, his ongoing conflict with Ralph Barclay continues to intensify as Barclay is about to face another court martial to explain his actions. The future of Captain Ralp Barclay seems highly uncertain because his superiors, Admiral Hotham and Admiral Lord Hood are in a fight as they want to implement their own ways to deal with misgivings of Ralph Barclay. Also, Emily Barclay finds it very difficult to cope with the barbarous nature of her husband. Due to all these factors, John Pearce hopes that his retribution may happen sooner than expected. But, doubts still remain whether it will prove to be in his advantage or not. As the story continues further, John Pearce confronts continuing assaults from his superiors as well as from the French Army. The growing assaults make Pearce realize that he and his Pelican gang are part of a potentially fatal and large plan. He also realizes that the ongoing war is just a calculated game where everyone is trying to win, but no one seems ready to sacrifice what is needed to win the important war. The overall writing of the story is very interesting and gripping. All the historical details mentioned seem very accurate, which makes the story even more exciting and absorbing to read. Author Donachie was highly appreciated for his depiction of historically accurate and realistic naval battles, which seems to be improving with the publication of each book.

Book Series In Order » Characters » John Pearce

4 Responses to “John Pearce”

  1. Sue Bastisn: 2 years ago

    I’m in the end of the series (loving it) HMS Hazard and I’m confused. I’ve forgotten how the ship that ends up being sold and the main Tolland brothers taken… Jalil most specifically. We hear Jalil doing his beastly best on a ship but I’ve forgotten how he got there. I thought that the 2 brothers were free to go… Is there a list somewhere of the main points of all the books?

  2. Paul: 3 years ago

    In which book does John sail an armed cutter to meet with the anti-revolutionary movement in France?

  3. David: 3 years ago

    You say that “As say that of now, the book series is still going on as author Donachie is working to bring out a new book as a part of the series very soon.” Do you know when that might be, as this author is totally absorbing and sequels to ‘A close Run Thing’ are eagerly looked forward to.

    • Graeme: 3 years ago

      I looked into it and unfortunately seeing no updates from Donachie as to when the next one will be.


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