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Witherle Words

A Zoom chat with author Chris Durbin

by Rich Hewitt

Fans of naval fiction have a treat in store for them.

Direct from south coast of England, Witherle Memorial Library and the Friend Memorial Library will present a Zoom chat with Chris Durbin, the British author of the Holbrooke & Carlisle naval adventure series that has generated interest among a cadre of local readers.

Durbin’s novels follow the careers of Edward Carlisle, a native of Williamsburg, Virginia, and his protégé George Holbrooke of Wickham, Hampshire, as they navigate the political and professional storms of the period between the Seven Years War through to the War of American Independence. The events of those years challenge the naval skills of the two heroes, as well as their loyalties as tensions grow between Great Britain and her American colonies.

His novels have been compared favorably with those of Patrick O’Brien, long the gold standard for naval fiction. They have the attributes of appealing characters, spot-on historical accuracy and detailed accounts of seamanship.

A native of southern Wales, Durbin Chris spent twenty-four years as a warfare officer in the Royal Navy, serving in all classes of ship from aircraft carriers through destroyers and frigates to the smallest minesweepers. He took part in operational campaigns in the Falkland Islands, the Middle East and the Adriatic. As a personnel exchange officer, he spent two years teaching tactics at a US Navy training center in San Diego.

On his retirement from the Royal Navy, Chris joined a large American company and spent eighteen years in the aerospace, defense and security industry, including two years on the design team for the Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers. He still sails from Chichester Harbour with his wife Lucia (US Navy, Ret.) aboard their Cornish Shrimper 21.

With a life-long relationship with the sea, Durbin has a boatload of sea stories that, we hope, he will share during the Zoom session which will take place at noon on Wednesday, Oct. 20. Durbin will visit the library remotely from his home in England.

Castine resident Bill Eisenhardt will moderate the conversation.  Participants can join the Zoom discussion in person at the library’s Reading Room in Castine and Friend Memorial Library’s Exhibit Room in Brooklin or on their home computer.