Ex-sea captain publishes book about life at sea

JPCT 30-10-12 S12440984X ,  Author Michael Rawlings-Lloyd  -photo by Steve Cobb
JPCT 30-10-12 S12440984X , Author Michael Rawlings-Lloyd -photo by Steve Cobb

A Horsham resident and respected author has published his first fictional novel ‘Devil’s Cauldron’ drawing from his extraordinary experiences as a sea captain.

The 70-year-old has lifted the veil on the treachery, battles, brothels, pygmies, death and destruction of seafaring in Africa during the Congo’s biggest war.

Michael Lloyd knows a thing or two about working on a ship, he’s done it for 50 years and was recently awarded the Merchant Navy Medal for his loyal service.

Starting out as a young teenager, Michael divulged the darker side of a career at sea.

“I began on the HMS Conway at 14 years old back in the 50s.” he recounted.

“When I was 16 on my first voyage a friend of mine was killed, he was just my age.”

Working his way up the ranks, Michael became a captain at age 32 and oversaw voyages that kept him away from his home in Lower Beeding for up to 18 months at a time.

“You are the supreme authority on board.

“You have the powers of magistrate, you can bury people, you can marry them, you punish, you reward.”

Up against turbulent weather, fatal accidents and modern day pirates, Michael has dealt with it all.

“There’s no real law and order at sea any more.

“Every country has independence and control over the seas in their area, but there’s no one policing it, so it’s becoming more lawless these days.”

Writing papers on various naval subjects, leading lectures and the author of several non-fiction books about his fascinating vocation, Michael has become widely known for creating the definitive guide on life as a captain.

“I teach them how to take a knife off a drunken sailer and bribe their way through ports”

Don’t let the ex-captain’s experience and technical input deter you, everyone can enjoy his writings, expert or not.

“My books have sold just as many to those not at sea than those who are.”

Michael’s first adventure novel is a work of fiction, but contains elements of real life experiences set during the Second Congo war in the late-90s.

“This is about a crew that docked at the Congo for some repairs and found themselves amid the civil war.

“The brothel scenes are completely true; the fight with the United Nations troops completely true; and the pygmies completely true.”

No holds barred, ‘Devil’s Cauldron’ is a real sea adventure that lets your imagination sail away with you.

Out now by Witherby Seamanship for £4.99 and Kindle for £5.14.