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The Fastest Ship

The Fastest Ship


larita1At the close of the Golden Age of Sail…
Elusive pirate Captain McGwyer left a trail of abduction and murder throughout the Caribbean. But the HMS Griswald, a British Royal Navy frigate, rescued one of his victims, a young girl named Elena. She was destined to marry the Captain, the man who would also build the HMS Warrior, England’s first ironclad warship.

Now Warrior’s maiden voyage to the Caribbean will solve the mysteries of a lost treasure and a lost memory. Sail the Caribbean and the Atlantic in this tale of high adventure, romance, and technological revolution.

Author:  Larita Arnold
ISBN:  0-9774849-0-4 (Global Distribution: 1-4116-3950-2)
LCCN:  2005907476
Pages:  224
Edition:  Second
Published in Softcover Only
Price:  $9.95 Retail
Publication Date:  This book is globally available for purchase now through most online booksellers including global

Contact Information:
Toll-free:  877.355.0462
FAX:  303.470.2910
P. O. Box 260620
Highlands Ranch, CO  80163-0620

The Fastest Ship

Contemporary Authors

Larita’s entry in Contemporary Authors, a reference series published by Thomson Gale, that provides information on approximately 112,000 writers in a wide range of media, including fiction, nonfiction, poetry, journalism, drama, and screenwriting.

ARNOLD, Larita –

PERSONAL:  Married; children:  Lonnie (son).

ADDRESSES:  Home–Highlands Ranch, CO.  Office–Silver Messages 925 Sterling Silver Jewelry, P. O. Box 260620, Highlands Ranch, CO  80163-0620.  Email–


The Fastest Ship (historical romance novel), Lulu Press, 2005.


Larita Arnold’s first novel, The Fastest Ship, is a romance set in 1860.  The mid-nineteenth century was a momentous period in the history of naval design and, by extension, the history of the British empire.  Prior to that time, the best, fastest fighting ships on the ocean were still made almost entirely of wood.  Then the HMS Warrior, the first iron-clad ship, was launched.  In Arnold’s tale, the HMS Warrior‘s builder, Captain Jack Ashbury, rescues a young woman from the ocean off the coast of Barbados.  The woman has been savagely beaten, which has given her amnesia.  The two fall in love on their journey back to England, but eventually must return to the Caribbean–on the HMS Warrior–and discover who she, renamed “Angelica,” really is.

“I got interested in the HMS Warrior because I could see the transition from wind to fuels in the ship design,” Arnold explained on her Web site.  “It was fascinating to research how everything had to change:  battle strategies, armament, command structure.”  Indeed, the author’s careful research was apparent to critics.  A Lighthouse Literary Reviews contributor “was extremely impressed with the knowledge and use of the actual ship the HMS Warrior.  It fit perfectly into this story of love and lost treasure.” critic Heather Froeschl praised another aspect of the book, noting that “Arnold has created a cast of personable characters that jump off the page and into the reader’s mind.”



SelfPublisher News, November, 2005, “Her Books Will Shine Like Her Jewelry.”

ONLINE, (October 22, 2005), Heather Froeschl, review of The Fastest Ship.

Lighthouse Literary Reviews, (October 22, 2005), review of The Fastest Ship.

PRWeb, (August 13, 2005), “The Fastest Ship Released Globally”; (September 10, 2005), “Modern American Author Explores Nineteenth Century Romantic Ideas in New Historical Novel:  The Fastest Ship.”

Larita Arnold Home Page, (November 11, 2005).”

Further Information Provided to Contemporary Authors:

—What first got you interested in writing?

 For about 10 years now, I’ve held this extraordinary story in my mind, one that has grown out of topics I adore and have researched for 25 years.  I thought people might greatly enjoy it if I took the time to write it all down, and I wanted to know if I had the talent to develop the story into a book-length novel.  As a staff engineer, I developed training materials and documents, trained other engineers and was fairly well known for my stories and jokes.  Teaching my son’s Sunday School class, I discovered I had the ability to keep a room full of small children spellbound with my stories.  So I wanted to develop that gift and see where it might lead me. 

There is a magical thing that happens when fingers touch the keyboard.  The story actually takes a form, begins to have a life and reality all its own.  There is a mysterious energy at work in translating a story into words that is truly fascinating and exciting.  I found myself wanting so much to work on the story, because I wanted to know what would happen next.  I’ve read that other authors also have that experience.  Sounds a little crazy doesn’t it?  Perhaps that’s part of the gift of storytelling, that the storyteller enjoys inventing the story as much as the listener enjoys hearing it.

—Who or what particularly influences your work?

People say you should write about the things you know best.  That’s not quite right.  You should write about the things you adore, things that fascinate you.  That cannot be called work.  It was the easiest thing in the world to write about the Caribbean, sailing the tall ships, a romantic marriage.  Those things captivate me and wove themselves into a story as naturally as they are woven into my own heart and mind.

—Describe your writing process.

I review the work before retiring, and the next morning, there will be something in my mind that will keep me writing for about 90 minutes or so.

—What is the most surprising thing you have learned as a writer?

A rose bud has everything it needs to be a rose, but there is a process at work, supplying the energy for the bud to bloom.  I believe each person has innate gifts, but there are processes at work that supply the energy to transform the gift into a finished work.  I’ve long believed this, but I didn’t learn that I could actually have faith in those mysterious, magical processes until I wrote The Fastest Ship

When I started out, I knew the whole plot from start to finish in a broad-brush sort of way, of course.  But somehow in the “doing” of the thing, the translation from thoughts to sentences appearing on my computer screen, I triggered some sort of process that carried me along, gave me and the story energy and life, made time fly by without my notice, made me ignore hunger and weariness and other work that had to be done.  This story intrigued me for many years, but when I wrote it, it compelled me, entranced me, held me captive until the last page.  Revision, extension, rearrangement, editing, it had to be done!  And then when the story was finished, and there was nothing left in my soul, heart or mind that hadn’t already appeared in the story, the compulsion left me, and when it did, that magical energy left me too.  It was such a joy, and along the way, I feel I must have “bloomed” in all sorts of ways.

I learned how to get the energy to write a book.  The energy comes from the process of actually writing a book.

—Which of your books is your favorite and why?

The Fastest Ship – it’s my only one!

—What kind of effect do you hope your books will have?

I hope this book will entertain, and along the way, inform.  I hope it will show aspects of a world devoid of technology, a world long gone, never to be seen again.  I wanted to write a book where evil is real, but human.  I hope my characters are archetypes for love, faith, justice, forgiveness, trust, and that people will feel they know them, intuitively, and like them because they can identify with them.

The Fastest Ship

Midwest Book Review: Reviewers Bookwatch, Reviewers Choice!

Published in the December 2005 issue of Reviewers Bookwatch, Reviewers Choice, at

The Fastest Ship
Larita Arnold
ISBN: 1411639502, $9.95, 220 pp.

Shirley Roe, Reviewer

Elena Williams, daughter of the Governor of Jamaica, is kidnapped by pirates in the mid 1800’s. Her fiance searches frantically only to discover she has married another man. Elena now lives in England with Admiral Jack Ashbury and although she is expecting a child by her fiance Colonel Whitworth, she has no memory of her past life.

The Fastest Ship is a tale of swashbuckling pirates, true romance and high adventure in the Caribbean Sea. Pirate McGwyer is a privateer, hired by the English government to rid the seas of foreign vessels. He meets and falls in love with Christina, a brown skinned island girl. Author Larita Arnold spins a tale of intrigue and excitement as we learn how Elena was kidnapped by McGwyer in revenge for the death of his wife Christina and her unborn child. Confined to the caves of Barbados, she discovers the pirate’s gold. How does Elena Williams become Angelica Ashbury? Will she return to Jamaica with her fiance or stay in England? What will become of the pirates treasure hidden away in the caves of Barbados?

Captivating colorful characters are endearing to readers as the tale unfolds. Faultless technological research of the HMS Warrior, England’s first iron-clad ship, add realism and timeline to this novel. The pace will hold the reader’s attention until the last page.

Author, Larita Arnold lives in Colorado with family and owns a silver jewelry company. Recommended for historical fiction and adventure buffs. Books may be purchased directly from the publisher or

The Fastest Ship

BookWire Review Magazine

From:  BookWire Review
April 3, 2006

The Fastest Ship:  A Novel
Larita Arnold
Silver Messages Publishing, Highlands Ranch, CO, paperback, (252p)
ISBN:  0-9774849-0-4

Larita Arnold has scored a winner with her novel, “The Fastest Ship.”  It is a moving and dynamic story of romance and passion, revenge and retribution, pirates, plunder and pirate’s treasure-which takes place for the most part on the high seas of the Caribbean in the mid-19th century.  As the author states, the tale is set “at the close of the Golden Age of Sail,” – 1860, a turning point for European maritime history.  It was a time when the mighty all-sail wooden ships were being made obsolescent by the advent of the steam-and-sail ironclads, which were faster, better armed and protected.

Placed within this historical framework is the story of sixteen-year-old Elena Williams of the British colony of Jamaica.  Kidnapped by the dreaded pirate John McGwyer, she manages to escape his clutches, and is rescued off the high seas by Admiral John “Jack” Ashbury of the Royal Navy on board the HMS Griswald.  “My crew spotted her lying unconscious in a longboat floating in the open sea off the coast of Barbados…and our ship’s Doctor said he feared her skull had been cracked,” recounts Jack.  Elena’s traumatic experience at the hands of the pirate causes total amnesia, obliterating from her shocked and ravaged mind the fact that she is actually the daughter of the Governor of Jamaica, and the fiancee of Colonel James Whitworth of the Jamaican Royal Guards-and she is carrying his child.

The seven-foot-tall McGwyer is the terror of the Barbados seas, and captain of the privateer, the ship-with-no-name.  He had kidnapped Elena in a crazed act of revenge, for he blamed Whitworth for the death of his beloved wife Christine and their child, while in custody.  Meanwhile romance blossoms on board HMS Griswald; Jack and Elena find true love and marry in London.  Elena, now called Angelica Ashbury, is happy with her new life with husband Jack and baby Charles.  However, as her memory returns slowly and painfully, she and Jack are horrified to discover that she is the legal wife of McGwyer!

The author’s adept use of the flash back technique keeps the story going at a swift pace.  It moves from the open seas of the Indies to the opulence and high society of London-and to the “world’s first iron-hulled capital ship”-the mighty ironclad of the Royal Navy, HMS Warrior.  Jack is promoted to Admiral, and given the task of supervision and financial management of her construction.  Crewed by seven hundred men, she has a top speed of 17 knots, is four hundred and twenty feet long, and very heavily armed.  Jack’s aim is to get the ship operational as early as possible, for he seeks revenge for the agony caused to his beloved Angelica by the crazed McGwyer.  There is also the interesting question of McGwyer’s hidden treasure, its secret location known only to the pirates-and Angelica!

This is a novel with a difference.  Author Larita Arnold has managed an intricate yet vibrant interweave of historical fact with romantic fiction, putting together a tapestry that comes alive when she tells the story of HMS Warrior, “The Fastest Ship.”  This ship actually existed, and was built to the specifications mentioned in the book.  She commenced active service in the Channel Squadron in 1862, and was de-commissioned in 1883.  A retired telecommunication engineer, the author has always had a passion for tall sailing ships, the Caribbean, and pirate history.

The Fastest Ship

Wholesale Sales

 Wholesale books can be purchased from Silver Messages Publishing, toll-free 877.355.0462.  All orders must be pre-paid with a VISA, MasterCard, Discover or American Express credit card that has a statement address in the US.  Silver Messages only ships to locations inside the United States.

Silver Messages Discount Schedule for Book Stores and Booksellers

# of Books Wholesale Discount Off the $9.95 Retail Price Number of 40 lb. boxes of 38 books each
Non-Returnable Returnable
1 to 38 45% 40% 1
39 to 190 50% 45% 2 to 5
191 to 380 55% 50% 6 to 10
381 or more 60% 55% 11 or more
Buyer pays the freight.  For copies autographed by the author, please add $1 per book.

International wholesale sales can be arranged through  Please contact for more information and reference the global distribution ISBN:  1-4116-3950-2.

The Fastest Ship

Ships and Locations in The Fastest Ship

The HMS Warrior:

The ship has been restored and is on display at Portsmouth, England.
A Virtual Tour of the HMS Warrior

HMS Warrior

Shipbuilding on the Thames:

Thames Ironworks

Old King’s House, Spanish Town, Jamaica:

Angelica’s girlhood home and the residence of the British Governors of Jamaica until the capital was moved to Kingston.  The Emancipation Proclamation was read from the steps of Old King’s House. The building burned to the ground in 1925, but the brick facade remains.
Spanish Town Square

Photos of the Old King’s House Facade

Animal Flower Cave, Barbados:

Entrance to McGwyer’s Treasure Cavern

More Photos from Barbados Photo Gallery (click the small photos)

Royal Naval College, Greenwich:

Where Dr. Peter Miles taught battlefield surgery
Grounds showing Thames in foreground

USS Constitution, Frigate:

Reference for HMS Griswald
Virtual Tour

The Fastest Ship

Author Interviews

Date Station Location
4/17/2006 KRUE-FM 92.1 Waseca, MN
4/14/2006 WKLK 96.5 FM Cloquet, MN
4/12/2006 Michelle Lee
Milan, OH
4/3/2006 Brazos Writers

KEOS 89.1 FM
Bryan/College Station, TX
3/31/2006 KWAY 99.3 FM
The Breakfast Bunch
Waverly, IA
3/28/2006 WBTN
1370 AM
Southern Vermont College
Bennington, VT
3/21/2006 Chris Young
The Breakfast Bunch
Oldies 93 WMQX
Greensboro, NC
3/9/2006 Marcia Littlejohn
Space and Treasure Coast Radio
WGYL 937 Soft Rock
Vero Beach, FL
3/7/2006 David Andrews
Newsradio 950 WIBX
Marcy, NY
3/6/2006 Gen Timms
Morning Show
WBOW – 102.7 FM
Terre Haute, IN
3/1/2006 Dan Collier
Norfolk, MA
2/10/2006 Charlie Profit
Talk Radio for Women
Plantsville, CT
11/23/2005 World Talk Radio

Larita joined Cynthia Brian and Susan Jeffers on World Talk Radio, 11/23/2005! Larita Arnold and The Fastest Ship
(Click to Listen to the Interview)

If you love the lore of pirates, tall ships, mystery and treasure, this is a fun-filled novel for you. Larita is a creative writer who paints pictures with words so that the reader rides the waves and witnesses the action. Her book, The Fastest Ship, is a page turner of intrigue in the azure blue waters of the Caribbean, as well as the chilly parlors of England. Based in the 1860’s, her story chronicles the kidnapping by pirates of a young lady, Elena, the daughter of the Governor of Jamaica and the adventures on the high seas that follow. Love, romance, and the loss of memory are weaved through a tale of a charming, debonair, yet cruel pirate and a considerate, integrity- filled English Captain both involved with the same woman. Based on real ships and real places in the Caribbean, Larita has done her homework to create a novel that is a page turner. Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate’s life for me! Enjoy….
Internet Radio
10/31/2005 Global Talk Radio
Internet Radio

●Tell us about the story.
The Fastest Ship is a fictional story set against the historical backdrop of the HMS Warrior story, England’s first ironclad warship commissioned in 1861.

But The Fastest Ship also tells the story of Elena (who later becomes Angelica), who is abducted by a notorious pirate and rescued by a British Navy frigate.  The Captain of the frigate is the man who is destined to be the Navy’s representative to the Warrior project.

●What is the origin or inspiration for this story?
My husband served in the Peace Corps in Jamaica, and we went there on our honeymoon 26 years ago.  Since then, we’ve been back many times and have learned a lot about Caribbean history and pirate lore and legend.  The characters started to develop in mind about 10 years ago.  As I researched the ships and locations, the plot line started to develop.  But when I sat down to actually write it last summer, all the flavors and sites and sounds and personalities came alive.

●Why the Warrior?  Why 1861?
I’ve always loved the tall ships, and researching them for the story was a labor of love.  Warrior literally marked the end of the Golden Age of Sail.  In one year, Warrior made every other ship of the line obsolete.  It was a “killer technology” just as we so often experience today.

The first British Governor of Jamaica came to power in 1860, and we have all the turmoil of British Colonization in the Caribbean.

The European Nations made privateering illegal at the Declaration of Paris in 1856.

The American Civil War started in 1861.

So there were a lot of events and issues in that short space of time that merge in this story.

But I don’t want to give the impression that this is a predominately political and military history novel.  This is predominately a love story, “a story of unconditional love under tremendous strain,” as one reviewer said.

●What makes this book unique as compared to other romance novels?
Probably the most unique thing about this book is that men enjoy the story as much as women do, women being the traditional audience for romance novels.  Besides the strong romance themes, there are also strong action and adventure elements in the story.

Men usually comment on Jack, and they usually like him very much.  Women focus on Angelica, relating to her.

My book, although it has its steamy moments, reflects the values of the Victorian era.  The characters act on their ideas about exclusivity and propriety.

This story is a historical romance story in the sense that Cold Mountain is a historical romance story.

●What do you want readers to take away from this story?
There are several strong themes in this book.  I would say the two major themes are:  finding contentment in marriage and family, and letting love and hope overtake sorrow and loss.  I would hope the story would speak to readers with many, many positive messages about those issues.

The characters in this story seem to be archetypes.  People seem to understand them and like them, perhaps because all of them are part of all of us at least to some extent.

●Tell us more about the characters.
Jack, a British Navy Captain, is accustomed to having the lives of hundreds of men hang in the balance of his words and actions.  He is the kindest, gentlest and wisest of souls, and his men love him for his fairness.  He is a tall, powerful man with great personal power, and inspires good behavior in everyone, just with his presence and expressions.  He is someone you can trust with your life and with your heart.

Angelica is a young girl who has been lost at sea.  Jack’s crew found her adrift in a longboat suffering from a head injury.  She has amnesia and cannot remember anything before she regained consciousness aboard Jack’s ship.

She is the personification of a theory I’ve had about young women for a long time, that their psyches are something like a blank slate.  At about 16 years old, people start to ascribe traits, abilities, talents on the blank slate of a young girl’s heart.  We come to believe those things about ourselves and begin to act as though everything written on our heart’s slate is absolutely true.

Jack protects Angelica and tries to help her remember, having her take her meals with him in the great cabin and spending a lot of time with her.  He begins to write on her heart, and gives her a new name, Angelica, because she can’t remember her name.  He calls her Angelica, because she is his angel, and he ascribes to her all the best traits in women, which she accepts as true and begins to act out.

Jack doesn’t realize he is actually programming this woman to love him and be his wife.  Of course he loves her, how can you not love someone who is everything you admire about the opposite sex?

There is only one little difficulty: Angelica is pregnant.

McGwyer is the antagonist, the pirate.  He has so many great traits, and most readers really like this character.  But he has one serious flaw: he has no moral compass, no conscience.  He lives entirely in the base human nature, with never a higher thought of good and evil, right and wrong.  The choices he made in life brought him to circumstances where he can easily make the wrong moral choices, and eventually he does fall into that trap.

He meets Christine and is attracted to her because she has the one thing he lacks, moral virtue.  As their relationship develops, Christine gives him what he needs most, and it’s what we all need most:  acceptance, tolerance and forgiveness.  But those are costly gifts, and they cost her everything.

And when Christine is taken away, McGwyer loses the forgiveness that could have helped him find his moral path.  Without that, he is truly lost, both morally and spiritually, and he does his worst.

Whitworth is a tragic lover, who tends toward obsession and dark romance.  He is a Colonel in the Jamaican Royal Guard, the British Governor’s personal band of guards, and he is Justice’s servant in all things, even if it means there will be an unbearable personal cost.  He is truly a moral man.  That is his great strength and also his greatest weakness.  He tends to see everything through a filter of morality, looking for justice in every situation, and always trying to take the “just” path.

Whitworth was engaged to Christine before she met McGwyer, and he was engaged to Angelica before she was abducted by McGwyer.  McGwyer has taken away every happiness in Whitworth’s life.

And Whitworth took Christine away from McGwyer.

●Where can readers learn more about you and the book?
At, my website.

The Fastest Ship

Author Biography

larita1Larita Arnold lives in Highlands Ranch, Colorado, with her husband of 26 years, 9-year-old son and Keeshond puppy.  She also owns Silver Messages 925 Sterling Silver Jewelry, which you can find online.  Prior to the birth of her son, she was an engineer, planner and manager in the telecommunications industry for 20 years.

“I had such a great time researching locations and ships for this project.  I’ve always loved the tall wooden sailing ships of the 19th century.  My husband was in the Peace Corps in Jamaica, so we have learned a lot about Caribbean history–including lots of pirate lore and legend.

“I got interested in the HMS Warrior because I could see the transition from wind to fuels in the ship design.  In 1860 the entire British fleet was rendered obsolete in one year because of the new iron-clad designs.  They were invincible against all ships of their day.  It was fascinating to research how everything had to change:  battle strategies, armament, command structure.”

The Fastest Ship

Mining Lights

mining lights
mining lights

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mineral light
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