Set A Course For Freedom is a story of young America on the threshold of revolution. Though the story is fictional, it is woven into the fabric of historical events. The characters are meant to portray the different personalities and attitudes of those living in that period and the conflicts and difficult choices they had to make. Christopher Hall, the twenty-one-year-old son of a Maryland fisherman, finds himself drawn into the conflict as his homeland drifts further and further away from Mother England. In this book, the first of a series, Christopher sets out in May of 1774 to find his missing brother-in-law, a Maryland Committee of Correspondence member. Before he can succeed, Christopher is captured by a press gang and is forced to serve in the British Navy. When war between England and the Colonies appears inevitable the following year, Christopher realizes he cannot remain on the British ship. With the aid of a sympathetic shipmate, he makes his escape but nearly loses his life in the process. He is saved by Captain Pierce, a blockade runner, and is nursed back to health by the captain’s family. Christopher accompanies Captain Pierce on his next run in an attempt to work his way home. However, a tragic encounter with a British warship forces Captain Pierce to put into port at Newport. An old friend convinces him to arm his vessel and take up privateering. Christopher joins him in this endeavor which leads to the capture of a British mail packet and information that his brother-in-law, Thomas, is being held prisoner in Boston. They return to Squansett, and with the help of local patriots, an ingenious rescue is planned and executed. As Christopher is drawn into both adventure and romance, he finds he must grapple with several conflicts – between his loyalty to the King and the land of his birth, between his family’s needs at home and the need to go search for his brother-in-law, and between his passions and his upbringing. Subsequent books will describe Christopher’s adventures in America’s infant navy and his growth as a naval officer. Although the U. S. Navy got off to a rather shaky start, it was in the period 1774 to 1812 that we were engaged in our War of Independence, the Quasi-War with France, the war with Tripoli, and the second war with Great Britain, the War of 1812. This period produced our first naval heroes, and many of the naval traditions are still celebrated today. I hope readers will develop an increased appreciation for the people of that period, their struggles, and their sacrifices. They set the course for freedom.
Though born and raised in Ohio, William K. Lewis has nurtured a life-long love of the sea. This, coupled with a passion for American History, has resulted in this first of a series of novels depicting the early days of the American Navy as the young country struggled for its independence.
Bill is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati and the Famous Writer’s School of Connecticut. A retired research chemist turned author; he relies on his own experience as a sailor. He served four years in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War, three years of which were sea duty aboard a destroyer. He has skippered sailboats in the Great Lakes, Chesapeake Bay, Florida Keys, and the Caribbean and trained aboard the frigate Rose, the world’s largest all-wood tall ship.
He now lives with his wife, Jean, in Lebanon, Ohio.