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Fortune’s Whelp

By Benerson Little

Maritime adventure and historical intrigue set amidst the
attempted assassination of King William III.

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With the heart of a lion and the craft of a fox!

In print: trade paper and ebook! Penmore Press, 2016


“But fortune is a fickle mistress… Intrigue abounds throughout Fortune’s Whelp and it shines as a grand adventure. Edward MacNaughton deservedly joins the ranks of such swashbuckling legends as Rafael Sabatini’s Captain Blood, Johnston McCulley’s Zorro, and Alexander Dumas’s Musketeers.”

“An enterprising protagonist, Captain MacNaughton can extricate himself from almost certain death every time so he can complete his mission, all the while trying to obtain his own ship. I hope Mr. Little plans on providing more stories about this interesting character and his interactions with women, ‘with sword in hand, and a dark ship on the horizon.'”

“This is an historical novel on a grand scale.”

—Roger Paine, former Royal Navy officer & author of
Clear Lower Deck: A Collection of My Naval Yarns.

“I see in Little a simpatico soul. We must confront honestly the sordid brutality and nastiness of the world we explore — no romantic gloss. Yet still we love it.”

—Jim Cornelius, Frontier Partisans.

“Perhaps it is MacNaughton’s magnetic draw of intrigue, or the historical details, mundane and enthralling alike, that Little weaves through his tale—the elements of reality that haunt the reading and our tendency to read rapidly, as if fast-flipping pages might get our protagonist more swiftly away from those who track him—that amp up the tension and render this novel one not easily surrendered to the tasks of daily life… For those who love a great tale, written with engaging and realistic characters who call you to their side, for seafaring types and landlubbers alike, Fortune’s Whelp is a compelling and captivating novel whose fate it is to draw readers over and over again.”

Tierce cut off in time by a seconde Laroon


From the Publisher

From the back cover: Set in the 17th century during the heyday of privateering and the decline of buccaneering, Fortune’s Whelp is a brash, swords-out sea-going adventure. Scotsman Edward MacNaughton, a former privateer captain, twice accused and acquitted of piracy and currently seeking a commission, is ensnared in the intrigue associated with the attempt to assassinate King William III in 1696. Who plots to kill the king, who will rise in rebellion—and which of three women in his life, the dangerous smuggler, the wealthy widow with a dark past, or the former lover seeking independence—might kill to further political ends? Variously wooing and defying Fortune, Captain MacNaughton approaches life in the same way he wields a sword or commands a fighting ship: with the heart of a lion and the craft of a fox.

From the publisher: Benerson Little’s new novel, Fortune’s Whelp, is part of an intended series inspired by his love of maritime adventure and intrigue, in particular the novels of Rafael Sabatini, Alexandre Dumas, and Arturo Pérez-Reverte. Benerson draws heavily upon his research as a maritime historian, his practical knowledge of fencing, and his naval experience to lend authenticity to the novel’s high seas adventures. Although the protagonist in Fortune’s Whelp is male, Benerson has been keen to include influential, accurately depicted female characters. Penmore Press.

28 July 2015: Benerson Little has turned in the final draft of “Fortune’s Whelp” and the staff is damn excited. Michael James declared it “full of action, pirates, treason, wry humor, women, and gunpowder and swords.” Watch for it soon!

25 November 2015: A sneak preview of bookcover in process for Benerson Little’s 17th century swashbuckling, sword-fighting, sea-adventure “Fortune’s Whelp” due out soon! Privateers, sirens, spies, and ships. And dangerous plots to kill the King.

Mary Rose Action

On the right is the ketch HMS Roe in action alongside the HMS Mary Rose against seven Algerine corsairs in December 1669. The HMS Kingfisher commanded by Edward MacNaughton is virtually identical. On the left is a Scottish merchant flute or flyboat. Detail from The “Mary Rose” Action by Willem Van de Velde the Younger, 1676. (Royal Collection Trust.)

Associated Blog Posts

The Night Thrust; or, More Politely, the Passata Soto

Fencing Salles & Fencing Commandments

Fencing Books For Swordsmen & Swordswomen

Commands at Sea: The Boatswain’s Call, Pipe, or Whistle, with a Note or Two on Boatswain Speech as Well

Buccaneer Cutlasses: What We Know

Pirate Versus Privateer

F8985 001

Late seventeenth century Dutch man-of-war. Sized down to roughly fifty guns, she would represent La Tulipe Noire well.

Notes, Comments, & Errata

In the novel, La Tulipe Noire is spelled La Tulipe Noir. This obvious error is clearly due to a correct transcription of Edw. MacNaughton’s own error in his journal.


On the bottom, a Spanish espadin or smallsword circa 1700, whose hilt is similar to that of Edw. MacNaughton’s favorite dueling sword. At top is a Dutch transitional smallsword circa 1680, whose blade of the rapier colichemarde form, as is mounted in Edward’s Spanish smallsword.

Copyright Benerson Little 2016-2018.

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