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The Ship Asunder: A Maritime History of Britain in Eleven Vessels

by Tom Nancollas

Hardback (unsigned) £20
Published 31st March 2022
Signed first edition £20
First edition, first printing, signed by the author
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Available to order
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A Sunday Times Book of the Year

‘Three and a half millennia of British Maritime history, from the Middle Bronze Age to the early 20th century … This book is written with passion and sympathy. It will live with me for a very long time’
Francis Pryor, author of The Fens

If Britain’s maritime history were embodied in a single ship, she would have a prehistoric prow, a mast plucked from a Victorian steamship, the hull of a modest fishing vessel, the propeller of an ocean liner and an anchor made of stone. We might call her Asunder, and, fantastical though she is, we could in fact find her today, scattered in fragments across the country’s creeks and coastlines.

In his moving and original new history, Tom Nancollas goes in search of eleven relics that together tell the story of Britain at sea. From the swallowtail prow of a Bronze Age vessel to a stone ship moored at a Baroque quayside, each one illuminates a distinct phase of our adventures upon the waves; each brings us close to the people, places and vessels that made a maritime nation. Weaving together stories of great naval architects and unsung shipwrights, fishermen and merchants, shipwrecks and superstition, pilgrimage, trade and war, The Ship Asunder celebrates the richness of Britain’s seafaring tradition in all its glory and tragedy, triumph and disaster, and asks how we might best memorialize it as it vanishes from our shores.


The Ship Asunder: A Maritime History of Britain in Eleven Vessels
by Tom Nancollas


Penguin Books Ltd


Publication date
March 31, 2022

22.2cm x 14.4cm x 3.2cm