Twenty-two enthralling stories of the Royal Navy, bringing to vivid life the greatest battles and daily struggles of seafaring in the Napoleonic era At the dawn of the nineteenth century, the British Navy was the mightiest instrument of war the world had ever known. The Royal Navy patrolled the seas from India to the Caribbean, connecting an empire with footholds in every corner of the earth. Such a massive Navy required the service of more than 100,000 men—from officers to deckhands to surgeons. These are their stories. The inspiration for the bestselling novels by Patrick O’Brian and C. S. Forester, these memoirs and diaries, edited by Dean King, provide a true portrait of life aboard British warships during one of the most significant eras of world history. Their tellers are officers and ordinary sailors, and their subjects range from barroom brawls to the legendary heroics of Lord Horatio Nelson himself. Though these “iron men on wooden ships” are long gone, their deeds echo through the centuries.