Seabooks Press


Castlemaine Cover
Naval Historical Society of Australia, Dec 2021 "This fine publication is an accompaniment to the ship that survives with us today and provides a genuine insight to what it was like on board a World War Two vessel during those critical years. HMAS Castlemaine may have been a small ship, but she was tenacious in performance, undertaking the inexorable roles of convoy and escort duties, minesweeping, anti-submarine patrols and transport of troops amongst others. Apart from her combat roles, she also saved lives, rescuing more than 30 commandos from Timor in 1942. The book has been carefully put together in the same method the ship was constructed, in a coordinated and integrated manner, from the laying of the keel, the installation of her boilers and machinery, to being brought to life by the courage of the crew eager to do their bit. A highly recommended read and handy reference."
Ship Visitor "It was gratifying to read a history of the last Bathurst Class corvette still afloat. This delightful book deals with the birth, service, near death and resurrection of the ship in all its gritty detail. The efforts of the volunteers who have worked tirelessly over many years to bring the ship up to the condition it is today is inspiring."
Maritime Trust of Australia "Over eighty years ago a small warship started life at the Melbourne Harbour Trust in Williamstown, Victoria, to become HMAS Castlemaine, one of fifty-six corvettes built in Australia that served in the Royal Australian Navy during World War II. Castlemaine is still afloat today as a museum ship in Williamstown. This book is not only a good read, but a great tribute to the people who built and served in the ship, and those who saved her from the breakers yard and restored her wartime configuration."

Atomic Sea Cover
5 stars "I loved this book... it's a clever story about thoughtful, caring people from different backgrounds (there's even a love story or two woven into it) thrown into an unexpectedly terrifying and violent political situation, and how they deal with it with humor and ingenuity."
5 stars "Brilliant! Every chapter holds a twist you can't see coming. Fast moving and worth the reading ride."
5 stars "Took me a couple of days to get into it, but hit the halfway point and could. not. put. it. down. Great read. Sort of this weird mix of thriller style action, contrasted really strongly with the down to earth Australian thing. Also, the protagonist is female and in her forties - she's not James Bond, not bullet-proof. Completely relatable. And in a world where there's a lot of men with a lot of guns, it was a perspective I found pretty enjoyable! Giving this five stars."
5 stars "Atomic Sea is a novel I loved from start to finish. With so many twists and turns one could be fooled into thinking this is a straight up action thriller (and it certainly feels like it is in some parts - in a great way), but what sets Atomic Sea apart from others is the wonderful beating heart of its delightful, intelligent cast of characters who must face very relate-able and human challenges amidst all the carnage around them."
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Turning Tide Cover
5 stars "It took me about two pages to fall in love with this beautiful Australian book. The writing reminded me strongly of George Johnston in My Brother Jack. It had the same sweet-sad narration, heavy with regret but also a sense of wonder and joy. Best of all, it was a pleasure to read, and I fell easily into the pages each time I picked it up."
5 stars "The story is told in the two time frames, and it’s told beautifully. There was mystery, deep friendship between mates, love and sadness; but there was also happiness and profound passion. I found the ending extremely satisfying as well – The Turning Tide is a novel that I have no hesitation in recommending highly."
4 stars "This is a love story, one suited as much to the male reader as to the female. It contains many elements, tenderness, savagery, soft longings, harsh realities, care, hate, trust and betrayal, all set against a backdrop of tides: tidal Broome, Wilsons Promontory’s Tidal River, the varying tides of life and times, the turning tide of World War Two and the constant tide that is the human condition. All of this is woven through an appealing read by an excellent author."
5 stars "From the picturesque descriptions of each locale to the sheer turbulence of wartime, family and love, C.M. Lance masterfully paints a thoughtful exploration of wartime Australia that I simply couldn't put down. I had to know what happened to each character and was longing for a satisfying conclusion for Mike Whalen's tale. Needless to say Lance delivers and I can't wait to read more stories from this author. A great read."
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Mountbatten Maritime Awards "For her truly illuminating biography of Alan Villiers, a complex and sometime difficult man who had an immense influence on the popular understanding of voyaging under sail. Voyager of the Winds is outstandingly researched and beautifully written as it unfurls the true character of this extraordinary seafarer."
August 2009
"A delightful warts-and-all biography of one of the world's most notable chroniclers of seafaring life. A prickly perfectionist, Villiers made plenty of enemies but he also enjoyed the support and backing of many others. His memorial is still to be found in libraries all over the world ... This fine biography does him proud."
The Age
30 May 2009
"Emphasising the vast differences between his published and private words, [Lance] writes more about his private life than he did in his autobiography, and speculates on the inner qualities of her subject. She is clear-eyed about his flaws and virtues ... The result is a book that draws in even a landlubber."
5 stars "This book should be read by anyone who ever read a Villiers book or who loves sailing ships and real life adventure. I congratulate author Kate Lance on this achievement and worthy addition to my maritime library."
5 stars "I bought both Redbill and the Alan Villiers biography as soon as I discovered them. I was not disappointed. Kate Lance is a meticulous researcher, so these books are not just the retelling of stories and material already in the hands of serious students of the age of sail. The author uses her considerable insight into human nature to interpret both stories in a most readable style."

More reviews of Alan Villiers on Amazon

WA Premier's Book Award "Built in 1903 for the Broome pearling industry, Redbill went on to an eventful life that spanned nearly a century and some major historical events. It was requisitioned by the navy during World War II, took part in Greenpeace protests in the Pacific, and was used to raise funds for the East Timorese. At various times it was crewed by troubled teenagers, crocodile farmers, ecologists and others who all fell under its spell. One of those captivated was Lance, who chronicles with warmth and affection its remarkable adventures. "
West Australian
8 January 2005
"Redbill is a clever device that charts a course through 100 years of Australia's economic, political and social development and, in so doing, describes who we are and why we are – even if it pricks our social conscience at times. As Redbill maintains its easy pace, Kate Lance explores the wider view ... Like an unfolding fractal, the more she delves the more there is to delve into. Lance's ability to hold such a complex set of relationships together is remarkable."
API Review of Books
July 2006
"Not long into this book I found it to be exceptionally accessible, well researched and written. But this is not just a story about where Redbill went and how she was used. Here is a wonderfully woven, at times very intimate, story of the life of a vessel and its owners in which the author draws a compelling picture of the social and political environment in which Redbill worked."
September 2004
"Author Kate Lance makes it hard not to fall in love with Redbill ... Books that follow the lives of individual Australian vessels are rare enough. This one, using extensive historic research to chart the entire career of one of these remarkable luggers, and the lives of the people who were involved with her, is unique and ensures that Redbill becomes part of Australia's maritime history. It's a voyage across a remarkable century, through war and peace and politics, navigating the shoals of race and labour relations and social issues on the way. This is a unique Australian story that's well worth reading."
Campus Review
11 February 2004
"Like a diver returning from the depths laden with pearl shell, the story of Redbill brings to light a trove of historical treasure. [Lance] has presented the biography of Redbill with quiet passion and exquisite detail ... Redbill is a portrait of Australian history painted from the experiences of many people."