Britannia's Reach is the second novel in the Dawlish Chronicles series. It continues the story of the ambitious Royal Navy officer Nicholas Dawlish, who was first introduced in Britannia's Wolf. It's November 1879 and on a broad river deep in the heart of South America, a flotilla of paddle steamers thrashes slowly upstream. It is laden with troops, horses and artillery, and intent on conquest and revenge. Ahead lies a commercial empire that was wrested from a British consortium in a bloody revolution. Now the investors are determined to recoup their losses and are funding a vicious war to do so. Nicholas Dawlish, is playing a leading role in the expedition. But as brutal land and river battles mark its progress upriver, and as both sides inflict and endure ever greater suffering, stalemate threatens. And Dawlish finds himself forced to make a terrible ethical choice if he is to return to Britain with some shreds of integrity remaining… The Dawlish Chronicles feature a naval hero who is more familiar with steam, breech-loaders and torpedoes than with sails, carronades and broadsides. The series, which commenced with Britannia's Wolf, is in the great tradition of the Napoleonic-era naval fiction of Forester, Kent, O'Brian and Pope, but is set in the late nineteenth-century, as Britain's Empire approached its apogee. In this period old enemies were still a threat, new players were joining the ranks of the Great Powers, and the potential for local conflict to escalate into general war – even world war - was never absent. Britain’s ability to project force rapidly and decisively on a global scale was assured by a Royal Navy that was in transition as new technologies emerged at an unprecedented rate. But force alone was often inappropriate and conflicts had often to be resolved by guile and by proxy. It is in this world of change and uncertainty that Nicholas Dawlish, always resourceful, sometimes ruthless, occasionally self-doubting, must contend for the advancement and happiness he hungers for.
Antoine Vanner has survived military coups, a guerrilla war, storms at sea and life in mangrove swamps, tropical forest, offshore oil-platforms and the boardroom. He has lived long-term in eight countries, has travelled widely in all continents except Antarctica and is fluent in three languages. He has a passion for nineteenth-century political and military history, and for the weaponry of the time. His knowledge of human nature and his first-hand experience of the locales - often surprising - of the most important conflicts of the period provide the impetus for his chronicling of the life of the Royal Navy officer Nicholas Dawlish.
"I'm fascinated by the Victorian period," Vanner says, "for not only was it one of colonial expansion and of Great Power rivalry that often came to the brink of war, but it was also one of unprecedented social, political, technological and scientific change. Britain's power may have been at an apogee but it was under constant threat and would demand constant adaptation from those who aspired to shape events. Many born in the 1840s would not only play significant roles in the later decades of the century but be key players in the maelstrom that would engulf the world in 1914. The Dawlish Chronicles are set in that world of change, uncertainty and risk and they involve projection of naval power to meet complex social, political and diplomatic challenges."
Find out more on www.dawlishchronicles.com