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Secrets of Mary Celeste


Secrets of Mary Celeste by Steve Dahill

Age of Sail Trilogy - Book one

Genre: Historical Fiction

Sub-genre: Maritime Fiction

Format: Soft Cover


Secrets of Mary Celeste is a thrilling account of the 19th century ship whose entire crew vanished without a trace. Fans of Patrick O'Brian and C.S. Forrester seafaring adventures love sailor Steve Dahill’s debut novel wherein he reveals heretofore unsolved secrets behind the mystery-enshrouded American brig, her wealthy namesake, and each of the desperate players involved in her recovery efforts. 


When The Mary Celeste is found adrift off the Azores Islands, Mary Celeste Briggs’ devoted son, Alexander is unaware that his own father absconded with the entire family fortune, now lost at sea. The teenager hires a smuggler to rescue his family. Through nefarious backchannels, the cruel smuggler captain is privy to the fortune, and aims to steal it. Will his lonely daughter help Alexander Briggs outwit the smuggler in a desperate race to find his missing family before they perish?


Spanning the “Age of Sail” era of smugglers, privateers, cutthroat slavers and clipper ship captains, Steve Dahill’s historical fiction trilogy unlocks vivid, violent adventures of two seafaring New England families vying to dominate the expanding maritime economy of the early 19th century.


Steve Dahill is a direct descendant of the privateer Brother of Revolutionary War hero John Barry cited as the “Father of the United States Navy”. The author is also a direct descendant of revered rebels hanged by the British during the Irish Rebellion of 1798. Dahill spent many years as an executive in the software industry in Boston, Massachusetts where he lives, overlooking the USS Constitution in Boston Harbor, and sails Riva, his racing sailboat, along the southern New England coast with his family.


What people are saying about, Secrets of Mary Celeste:


Dahill gives us a reasonable explanation for the missing ship, surrounded by a family saga with lots of excitement. Enjoyable reading about one of the great maritime legends!


Jerry Pallotta. Best-selling author, lobsterman, and sailor


…I smelled the salt air as I read Steve Dahill's fast-paced, suspenseful, Secrets of the Mary Celeste. Enjoy it by candlelight with a tin cup of grog at your side before it comes to a theatre near you.


Dan Shaughnessy, Boston Globe sports columnist, author Wish It Lasted Forever, Francona, Curse of the Bambino, and other books. Member of Major League Baseball Hall of Fame.


The sea and the great sailing ships of the 19th century are no mystery to Steve Dahill. This maiden literary voyage is a treasure chest for those “who go down to the sea in ships.” It will especially engage mystery readers and lovers of New England who relish the tales of history, of family intrigue, treachery, and search for answers about the disappearance of treasure and kin.


Dahill’s nautical knowledge brings serious dimensions that enrich the story, and, like his racing of his own yacht Riva on Buzzard’s Bay, the author masters the current that sweeps through the story. The characters are strong and interesting; he brings the boats and coastal people bring alive and spins a good mystery about family fortune and the villainy of those who would claim the success of others for themselves. You can feel the gale come hard aboard ship and Dahill’s detail makes the clinging crew a visceral experience.


Dt. Westy Egmont founded the Immigrant Integration Lab at Boston College. As a Professor of Global Practice in the School of Social Work, Westy taught social policy and multiple courses focusing on immigrants. He has also lectured in San Miguel the Azores, overlooking the harbor, though sadly after the great era of sail. Author of Immigrant Integration in the United States


While many people have tried to solve the mystery of the Mary Celeste, Steve Dahill re-imagines the disappearance of her crew and the recovery of the ship in a tightly plotted narrative that keeps the reader turning pages until the very end. Dahill writes with the ease and confidence of an experienced mariner, setting scenes above and below deck that rock with every passing wave. With clever turns of phrase and vivid command of the language, Dahill fills the story with characters both fair and foul whom we are not likely soon to forget as he sends them on an adventure designed to thrill fans of both historical and nautical fiction.


Corine Woodworth, Duxbury High School, English Department; sailor on 40' sailing yacht Tango

Secrets of Mary Celeste

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