Southern Seahawk

Southern Seahawk

Available for: Kindle | NOOK | Apple

“…a compelling and colorful read.”
—Publishers Weekly



Southern Seahawk, the first novel in the Seahawk Trilogy, grows from the true story of Commander Rafael Semmes’ rise to infamy, becoming the Union’s Public Enemy Number One. In June, 1861, Semmes’ Confederate cruiser Sumter makes a daring escape through the Federal Blockade of the Mississippi. So begins the commander’s career as the Southern Seahawk. With a hand-picked crew of Southern officers and mercenary seamen, Semmes seizes eight enemy ships in four days, a record never surpassed by any other captain of a warship.

By the time the cruises of the Sumter and her successor Alabama end, Semmes will have taken and burned more than eighty prizes, making him the most successful maritime predator in history. For two and a half years Semmes eludes a pack of pursuers and almost single-handedly
drives marine insurance rates so high in the North, that many Yankee ships refuse to sail until he is caught.

Back in Washington, Semmes’ predations fuel feuds within the Lincoln cabinet and incite the spy games of historical figures like courtesans Rose Greenhow, Betty Duval, detective Allan Pinkerton and the commander s mistress.


“In the exciting first of a projected trilogy featuring real-life Confederate naval hero Cmdr. Rafael Semmes, mystery author Peffer (Old School Bones) spends as much time ashore as at sea as he tacks from the infighting among Lincoln’s cabinet to the unsavory adventures of Semmes’s Irish lover, Maude Galway, and the almost endless maneuvering and bickering among federal officials and officers over capturing Semmes. After joining the nascent Confederate navy in 1861, Semmes converts a packet boat into a warship in New Orleans, escapes the Federal blockade and begins a remarkable and lengthy run of predations on Yankee shipping. While some readers may wish for more high seas action, the character of Semmes, an ardent believer in the Southern cause as well as a daring and resourceful commander, and the difficult conditions under which he operated make this a compelling and colorful read.”
—Publishers Weekly

“A historian can give you the facts; a novelist can illuminate them. But it takes a historian/novelist/experienced sailor to bring nautical history to life. Randall Peffer is that rare combination.”
—SAIL Magazine