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Creator / Nicholas Monsarrat

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Nicholas John Turney Monsarrat FRSL (22 March 1910 – 8 August 1979) was a British novelist best known as the author of The Cruel Sea. Monsarrat served in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (RNVR) during World War II, and drew on his wartime experience for his most famous work. He had been a journalist and had had several novels published (although none of them sold particularly well) prior to the war, following which he worked as a diplomat (with postings to South Africa and Canada) before becoming a full-time writer in 1959. In later life, he lived on the Maltese island of Gozo.

    Works by Nicholas Monsarrat 
  • Think of Tomorrow (1934)
  • At First Sight (1935)
  • The Whipping Boy (1937)
  • This is the Schoolroom (1939)
  • Three Corvettes (1945)
  • HMS Marlborough Will Enter Harbour (1947) — short stories
  • My Brother Denys (1948)
  • The Cruel Sea (1951)
  • The Story of Esther Costello (1952)
  • The Tribe That Lost Its Head (1956)
  • The Ship That Died of Shame (1959) — short stories
  • The Nylon Pirates (1960)
  • The White Rajah (1961)
  • The Time Before This (1962)
  • To Stratford with Love (1963)
  • Smith and Jones (1963)
  • Something to Hide (1963)
  • A Fair Day's Work (1964)
  • The Pillow Fight (1965)
  • Life Is a Four-Letter Word, Volume 1: Breaking In (1966) -– autobiography
  • Richer Than All His Tribe (1968)
  • Life Is a Four-Letter Word, Volume 2: Breaking Out (1970) -– autobiography
  • The Kappillan of Malta (1973)
  • The Master Mariner, Book 1: Running Proud (1978)
  • The Master Mariner, Book 2: Darken Ship (1981) — unfinished and published posthumously.

The following tropes can be found in Nicholas Monsarrat's books (except for The Cruel Sea, which has its own page)

  • Author Avatar: Marcus Hendrycks in This is the Schoolroom and Lockhart in The Cruel Sea are notable examples of this.
  • Bulungi: Pharamaul, a large island off the south-west coast of Africa, is one of these. In The Tribe That Lost Its Head, it's a British colony; in Richer Than All His Tribe, it becomes an independent country — with the leader of the anti-colonial revolt of the first novel in charge.
  • Drunk with Power: Dinamaula, the tribal leader in The Tribe That Lost Its Head, quickly becomes this after his country achieves independence in Richer Than All His Tribe. Truth in Television, as this happened to a lot of post-independence African leaders.
  • The Film of the Book: As well as The Cruel Sea, The Ship That Died of Shame, The Story of Esther Costello and Something to Hide were also made into movies.
  • Flying Dutchman: Matthew Lawe, the protagonist of The Master Mariner, is an English sailor condemned to immortality for his cowardice against the Spanish Armada. The first book sees him serve on Hudson's attempt to find the Northwest Passage and Cook's voyages, ending with him witnessing Nelson's death at Trafalgar, 217 years after the Armada. Monsarrat died before he could finish the second volume, although surviving notes indicate that he planned to have Lawe serve in both World Wars before finally dying as the result of an Heroic Sacrifice to save the lives of his shipmates on a doomed Great Lakes freighter in the 1970s — an ending that was probably inspired by the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald in 1975.
  • Framing Device: The Kappillan of Malta begins with a Monsarrat-like narrator observing the funeral procession of the title character while on a day trip to Gozo.
  • Good Shepherd: Father Salvatore, the title character in The Kappillan of Malta, who brings hope to the ordinary Maltese people sheltering from the relentless German bombing of their island during World War II.
  • Historical Domain Character: Sir Francis Drake, Samuel Pepys and Horatio Nelson all appear in The Master Mariner.
  • Most Writers Are Writers: Marcus Hendrycks, the protagonist of This is the Schoolroom is a struggling writer, much like his creator was at the time. Also, Lockhart was a journalist before joining the RNVR in The Cruel Sea.
  • Undying Warrior: Matthew Lawe in The Master Mariner.
  • World War II: Monsarrat's experiences in this conflict as a naval officer were used to good effect in The Cruel Sea and several other works, such as Three Corvettes (actually an anthology of three true-experience stories originally published separately during the war years, with various details changed or omitted in order to get it past the wartime censors), HMS Marlborough Will Enter Harbour and The Ship That Died of Shame.