Matthew Willis was born in the historic naval town of Harwich, Essex in 1976. He grew up in a nearby village, never far from the sea, becoming a keen racing dinghy sailor in his teens. A family connection with the 4th Dovercourt, a troop of Sea Scouts associated with the Royal Navy, helped foster a passion for the age of sail, and Nelson's Navy in particular.
Matthew studied Literature and History of Science at the University of Kent, where he wrote an MA thesis on Joseph Conrad and sailed for the University in national competitions. He subsequently worked as a journalist for Autosport and F1 Racing magazines, before switching to a career with the National Health Service, where he wrote everything from press releases to consultation papers.
His first non-fiction book, a history of the Blackburn Skua WW2 naval dive bomber, was published in 2007. He currently lives in Southampton with his University lecturer wife Rosalind, and writes both fiction and non-fiction for a living.
Daedalus and the Deep is based on a real, historical encounter. In 1848, officers from HMS Daedalus, including the Captain and First Lieutenant, reported sighting a large sea serpent off St Helena. Reports appeared in the illustrated press. Such sightings were not especially rare – the following year, the sloop HMS Plumper recorded a remarkably similar encounter in the North Atlantic. Nevertheless, the giant sea serpent has remained elusive to science.
Daedalus and the Deep: For Midshipman Colyer of the corvette HMS Daedalus, life is a constant struggle: savage pirates in the South China Sea, an erratic Captain, and a perfectionist First Lieutenant. Things are made no easier by the need to guard a personal secret at all costs. But the voyage of the Daedalus takes a stranger turn when the ship encounters a giant sea-serpent in the South Atlantic, and is plunged into a headlong pursuit of the creature in the name of science, personal glory, and the promise of fortune. But as the quest leads further into the cold wastes of the Southern Ocean, becoming ever more dangerous, Colyer begins to wonder just who is hunting whom? The sea-serpent’s purpose could turn out to be more sinister than anyone on board the Daedalus imagined.