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Synopsis

The extraordinary story of the mighty Temeraire, the ship behind J. M. W. Turner's iconic painting.

The H.M.S. Temeraire, one of Britain`s most illustrious fighting ships, is known to millions through J.M.W. Turner`s masterpiece, The Fighting Temeraire (1839), which portrays the battle-scarred veteran of Britain`s wars with Napoleonic France. In this evocative new volume, Sam Willis tells the extraordinary story of the vessel behind the painting and the making of the painting itself.

Turner's Temeraire was the second ship in the Royal Navy to carry the name. The first, a French warship captured and commandeered by the British in 1759, served with distinction during the Seven Years' War before being sold off in 1784. The second Temeraire, named in honor of her predecessor, was a prestigious three-decked, 98-gun warship that broke through the French and Spanish line directly astern of Nelson`s flagship Victory at Trafalgar in 1805, saving the Vice-Admiral at a crucial moment in the battle. This tale of two ships spans the heyday of the age of sail: the climaxes of both the Seven Years War (1756-63) and the Napoleonic Wars (1798-1815).

Filled with richly evocative detail, and narrated with the pace and gusto of a master storyteller, The Fighting Temeraire is an enthralling and deeply satisfying work of narrative history.

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