It is 1793.
Europe is ablaze with war. The British prime minister is under pressure to intimidate the French, and dispatches a Navy squadron to appear off the French coast. To man the ships, ordinary citizens must be press-ganged.
Thomas Paine Kydd, a young wig-maker from Guildford, is seized and taken across country to be part of the crew of the ninety-eight-gun line-of-battle ship Duke William. The ship sails immediately and Kydd has to learn the harsh realities of shipboard life fast. Despite all he goes through, amid the dangers of tempest and battle, he comes to admire the skills and courage of his fellow seamen, taking up the challenge himself to become a true sailor and defender of Britain at war.
Kydd launches a masterly new writing talent and a thrilling new series. Based on dramatic real events, it is classic storytelling at its best, rich with action, exceptional characters, and a page-turning narrative.
- Scribner, August 2001
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