Oliver Greeves

Historical Author & Speaker

Featuring his latest Book

Nelson's Folly

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Nelson's Folly attacks the myth-making behind one of history's greatest legends, offering a fresh insight into the lives of Horatio Nelson and his devoted wife Fanny.

It is a thrilling story of sacrifice, betrayal, battles and survival.


A direct descendant of Frances (Fanny), Viscountess Nelson and her son, Josiah Nisbet, Oliver Greeves spent many years working on Wall Street and now lives near his beloved Sydney Harbour in Sydney, Australia. When not writing, he spends his time sailing and advising executive business leaders and the next generation.

Long fascinated by Fanny’s life and times, he has travelled extensively researching her story and the turbulent times of the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic War. He has now embarked on recreating stories of the era based on historical fact, while using fiction to explore the psyche and characters behind the myths.

A keen historian, Oliver believes in the importance of truth-telling in historical fiction. He has a PhD in history from Bristol University in the United Kingdom and studied creative writing at the New School in Greenwich Village New York.


He lived in New York for many years, working for Wall Street financial institutions at senior levels and was a founding partner of Pharos Institute, a leadership and executive coaching company. His understanding of institutions and the psychological perspective of those leading them infuses his novels with an added layer of realistic insights.


Debut Novel

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It's 1792 and a young widow and her son build a happy life in Norfolk with her Naval officer husband, sidelined by rivals. As the Revolutionary War begins, opportunities at sea re-open for Horatio while Fanny learns the twists of Georgian society.


From France to Egypt then into the intrigues of the Court of Naples, Lord Nelson and Fanny's son Josiah see beauty and cruelty as lives intertwine. Years pass and Horatio returns a hero, but he has changed. How is a self-reliant woman going to face down the Navy’s superstar?

A compelling exploration of duty in all its forms, Nelson’s Folly is a sweeping, historically rich novel based on the true story of Horatio and Fanny Nelson and their lives together – and apart.

“Nelson’s Folly is an entertaining story about a good sea captain who became a vain and sometimes cruel admiral. It examines who Fanny really was and recognises her contribution to her husband’s success. Fascinated by Fanny's story, I decided to use a fictionalised approach to tease out the truth. I discovered both her unrecognised contribution to her husband's success and psychological insights into how a heroic tactical sailor could be so changed by fame and frustration." ~ Oliver 

Independent Review

"Nelson's Folly is a compelling, vividly portrayed tale that is well grounded in a sense of the changing times, yet also nicely rooted in memorable characters who each are understandable as they make choices for both themselves and each other against the political and cultural currents of their times.

Both Fanny and Horatio are memorable, likeable characters. Their dilemmas are well presented, both individually and as a couple, making Nelson's Folly an astute consideration of duty, commitment, love, family, and social aspirations alike.


Historical novel and political history readers, as well as general-interest readers who enjoy stories of British society in 18th century England, will find it an accessible, thoroughly involving saga rich in psychological, political, and social inspection."

- Diane Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review USA.


Readers Reflections


Granville Starkey

Engineer and Yachtsman

[Fanny] did not deserve Nelson’s coldness and contempt towards her; she does not deserve history’s (or his story’s) neglect of her story. In a time of MeToo, this novel helps set the story aright…Oliver unsurprisingly and unashamedly takes Fanny’s side yet remains sympathetic to Nelson’s humanity and brilliance … it is a compelling account of people and relationships, of individuals whose names we may know, but whose lives have, until now, been largely two-dimensional. Greeves brings them brilliantly to life. 

Reviewed by: Happy Jack in The Naval Review

See full review at:


Do not be put off by the title; “Nelson’s Folly”. Nelson was brilliant, and cruel, and could be foolish too; he was a flawed genius, not a saint. History is written by, and of, the victors, but the victims and those behind the scenes deserve a voice too, and Oliver Greeves here gives them one. Strongly recommended. Even for Nelson fans.

John Gilbert

 Former British Naval Officer

I thoroughly enjoyed the story and learned a lot from it that I hadn’t known, or had forgotten. Much of it read like a Patrick O’Brian; the action scenes were especially good.

I have just finished reading your book and have to say that I found it compelling reading and as good a story as I have read about those times of the British Navy. I thought the nautical detail and personal/private anecdotes were well combined - with a few obligatory spicy bits thrown in here and there!

Chris Howard, Writer

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Oliver's Insights

For more of Oliver's thoughts on Fanny's life and times, on writing historical fiction, memorabilia or travel related to his writing, see his blog. If you have any questions or ideas for blog topics, contact Oliver at ogreeves@gmail.com.

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Next Steps

Sometimes the heroes are not the ones

we all think we know

“My forthcoming novels are about the Napoleonic war and about the people interwoven with the life of Lord Nelson. I entertain, solve mysteries and immerse the reader in the beauty, the cruelty, the music and the battles of men and women living in a time so different from today"

~ Oliver

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