Blood on the Wave
Scottish Sea Battles
by John Sadler
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Scotland's long coastline runs from the waters of Galloway and the Solway, through the Irish Sea to the long sea lochs and myriad islands of the Celtic west, around grim Cape Wrath, the coast of Caithness, Pentland Firth and the Orkneys, eastward down to the Moray Firth, the eastern seaboard, to the Forth and the sentinel of the Bass Rock. It is an ancient strand redolent with history. Sea battles have been fought in its lee from the time of Agricola to the Atlantic convoys. In Blood on the Wave, John Sadler embarks on a pilgrimage around Scotland's rugged and stunning coastline, to explore the fascinating history that has occurred in its waters. Beautifully illustrated throughout with photographs and line drawings, the narrative also describes developments in ship building technique and design, developments in naval gunnery with a look at coastal defences. From the long oared Norse galleys that swept down through the isles and the sea lochs to Somerled's birlinns and nyvaigs contesting with those of Godred of Man in a moonlit clash of spears, many of the fiercest battles in Scottish history have been fought at sea. Examining an array of skirmishes from the Wars of Independence to the Napoleonic Wars, the scuttling of the Imperial German Navy at Scapa Flow to the lurking threat of Second World War U-boats and nuclear submarines hunting for Soviet spy ships, John Sadler has created a brilliant, insightful and unique portrait of the Scottish war at sea.
- Birlinn, November 2012
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