Mark Helprin, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Winter’s Tale and A Soldier of the Great War, presents a fast-paced, beautifully written novel about the majesty of the sea; a life dedicated to duty, honor, and country; and the gift of falling in love.
A Navy captain near the end of a decorated career, Stephen Rensselaer is disciplined, intelligent, and determined to always do what’s right. In defending the development of a new variant of warship, he makes an enemy of the president of the United States, who assigns him to command the doomed line’s only prototype––Athena, Patrol Coastal 15––with the intent to humiliate a man who should have been an admiral.
Rather than resign, Rensselaer takes the new assignment in stride, and while supervising Athena’s fitting out in New Orleans, encounters a brilliant lawyer, Katy Farrar, with whom he falls in last-chance love. Soon thereafter, he is deployed on a mission that subjects his integrity, morality, and skill to the ultimate test, and ensures that Athena will live forever in the annals of the Navy.
As in the Odyssey, Katy is the force that keeps him alive and the beacon that lights the way home through seven battles, mutiny, and court martial. In classic literary form, an enthralling new novel that extolls the virtues of living by the laws of conscience, decency, and sacrifice, The Oceans and the Stars is nothing short of a masterpiece.
“Helprin excels at creating three-dimensional characters, and Rensselaer is a man of high moral character driven by a deep sense of humanity with a Shakespearean reference always at the ready. Helprin masterfully blends adrenaline and heart while the plot pieces fall into place like tumblers in a lock. Military aficionados will appreciate detailed descriptions of weaponry and tactics, while lovers of exquisite prose will be captivated by Rensselaer’s profundity.”
—Booklist, *starred* review
“Helprin’s love letter to the old Navy and all the old virtues that it relied upon to protect our great country and give us peace and the opportunity for a good life . . . Throughout the novel, we learn that seemingly impossible acts of bravery and courage are possible and are remembered in the annals of eternity.”
“A grand epic . . . every situation is thoroughly set up, providing technical how and emotional why, intellectual why, political why. No blind corners here, no unreliable narrators . . . Inspirational.”
—New York Journal of Books
“War, love, and the sea intermix in this novel of bravery and conscience . . . the action is terrific . . . Fans of war stories and nautical tales will enjoy this one.”
“Mark Helprin’s brilliant, swiftly paced epic—a sea, war, and love story—is a moral statement for our time, taking its place in literary history alongside James Jones’ From Here to Eternity and Norman Mailer’s The Naked and the Dead.”
"Mark Helprin is the most compelling novelist in America today...a story of great heroism."
—Mike Pence, American Politician