John Schettler is taking us on a new adventure for the new year, with an all new Historical Military Fiction…and  a twist involving Time Travel. Fans of this prolific writer have been marking its progress through November and December holidays.
The Devil Ship for a title also hints at a naval fiction here. The preview Blurbs bring that into a little focus: “It was the product of a Secret Committee in the largest company on earth, so enormous that it commanded its own standing army, bigger than that of its native homeland, and hundreds of ships, more ships than the largest military navy on earth at the time, England’s Royal Navy. The company controlled fully 50% of the world’s annual trade, and administered 25% of the world’s total population, a feat never matched by any other company in history. It was four centuries old, and now it was on a mission, and one that needed a very special ship, one unlike any other in the world—purpose built for a very special task.”

It would be a dangerous ship, a Devil Ship, and on its maiden voyage one man comes aboard with Letters of Marque in hand and a document bestowing him with the full authority of the company itself. This man and his secret mission remained a complete mystery. Everything about the launch of the ship was wreathed in shadow, even its destination. For Captain William Hall, the ship itself was as much a mystery as it was a marvel of new engineering, a strange hybrid of tried shipbuilding methods with novel new techniques and materials that were opening the door to a whole new modern era on the seas. But where was he taking it? What was his mission? Why was it built as it was, and who was this man who had come aboard as the company’s special representative?

They were going, ‘out on the high seas,’ but no one knew where, and more so, why. Little did the Captain know that this voyage was fated, and that his ship would soon find itself on the grinding cusp between two great empires, to  shake all under heaven.

That’s got my attention!  The book is being presented as the third volume in John’s Keyholder’s Saga, but this is a series where the books can be read in any order. The first offering took us to the Battle of Waterloo, and the second to the opening weeks of Lord Chelmsford’s Zulu Campaign. This one is taking us somewhere else, to a nasty little war involving a nasty little ship—a Devil Ship. As always, John will leap into a historical period, and then his characters will tinker with those events to make that history into something else. But this time Sir Roger Ames has an ulterior motive for teeing up this campaign, for there is something he very much wants at its calamitous end.


Astute historians might guess what this war is, and a look at the map links will certainly reveal much. So if you prefer the mystery, download them only as you need them.

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Authors’ Note:

While this volume stands as Volume 3 in the Keyholder’s Saga, the books in this series can be read in any order. It is a complete, stand-alone novel, but those wanting more insight into two of the main characters can learn about them here in a free 2-Chapter file.


Keyholders Saga:

      The Devil Ship


      John Schettler


      Part I – A Curious Secret

      Part II – Trouble at Sea

      Part III – The Coming Storm

      Part IV – Confrontation

      Part V – The Mandate of Heaven

      Part VI – Clash of Empires

      Part VII – Death of a Thousand Cuts

      Part VIII– The Lion and Dragon

      Part IX – Black Wind

      Part X – The Final March

      Part XI – The Garden of Perfect Brightness

      Part XII – Calamity