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Naval Warfare, Political Intrigue, and Love - Featured Spotlight of "Leeward"

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Katie Daysh

Now in paperback

It is an extraordinary work - absolutely breathtaking. I honestly thought no one

could ever again drop a reader into the world of Hornblower and Aubrey with this much skill and confidence. It absolutely beggars belief and I still can’t see how

Katie Daysh did it… I wasn’t expecting a beautifully written, exciting naval

adventure, with the difficult relationship between two men as the emotional heart.

Yet even the parts that were strange to me were brilliantly done… There is a weight of human insight here that is quite dazzling… A story told with such panache certainly deserves a bestseller mass audience…” Conn Iggulden, author

“A fantastic achievement, tightly written, immersive and with a deeply human main character. A tale of honour and love, deceit and betrayal, Leeward is one of the best debut novels I have read in many years. A magnificent, compelling read. I loved it” Ben Kane, author

1800. HMS Ulysses mutinies off Trinidad and vanishes into the Caribbean. No one knows how many of the crew are left alive or what the mutineers plan to do with the vessel.

Captain Hiram Nightingale is a veteran of the wars that have raged across Europe and the Americas but a grand victory at the Battle of the Nile comes at a devastating cost. Plagued by wounds both physical and mental, he attempts to recover by accepting command of HMS Scylla. His task is to hunt down the mutineers and bring the ship and crew to justice.

However, it soon becomes clear that the Ulysses is just one danger in an immense web. Nightingale finds himself in the middle of a network of secrets that will affect everyone aboard his ship. He has to battle against the perils of the war-torn seas, an unaccepting crew, and meddling, powerful figures from the past. And in the centre, his new lieutenant, the popular Arthur Courtney who seems set on stirring up long repressed feelings.

On this journey, Nightingale must confront his own demons. For it seems, during his dangerous adventure, his greatest enemy might be himself.

KATIE DAYSH works in retail but her passions are writing fiction and history. She lives on the Isle of Wight.


I wanted to write this story as, although I love historical and naval fiction, again and again I felt a lack of representation on bookshelves of this genre; LGBT+ voices and characters, if they existed, were on the side-lines or ended with a stereotypically unhappy conclusion. I wished to make them front and centre, with a lead protagonist who was queer and part of whose storyline dealt with his identity. Captain Hiram Nightingale is a man who, in modern language, would call himself gay or asexual.

That being said, Leeward is not only a queer story. The fact that Captain Nightingale and his to-be partner, Lieutenant Arthur Courtney, are LGBT+ characters is one part of Leeward. In other ways, Leeward is a traditional exciting naval adventure. There are swashbuckling scenes on the high seas, conniving political intrigues, and plots concerning the fascinating history of the late 18th and early 19th century, such as uprisings in the Caribbean and the wars following the French Revolution. As well as this, Leeward centralises themes of found family, confronting abusive figures, and dealing with the difficulties of mental health. Captain Nightingale goes on a journey, not only to hunt down the mutinous ship, Ulysses, but also to make peace with himself and his own past. As someone who, like Nightingale, defines themselves loosely as asexual and has struggled with anxiety, I felt this was an important story to tell.

LEEWARD by Katie Daysh


Canelo | On Sale: 2 November 2023 | Paperback £9.99 | Ebook £3.99

ISBN: 9781804365700

Katie is available for interviews and events.

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