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Age of Sail / Frederick Marryat / Nautical Fiction / Royal Navy

The King’s Own, by Frederick Marryat

The King’s Own, written by Frederick Marryat, a Captain of a frigate in the Royal Navy 200 years ago, shows many of the horrors of naval warfare at close range. It is an interesting and special tale of about the son of a man who was hanged after the mutiny at Nore, was left without parents, and was adopted by a seaman on a navy ship. He advances from ship’s boy, becomes midshipman, and finally lieutenant. We follow him through his many challenges – dealing with shipmates and superiors, and engagements at sea with smugglers, pirates, and the French.

However, the little boy was also, unknown to himself, the grandson of an admiral and the heir to a huge estate. But will he get what is rightfully due to him? So there are two stories in the book that runs parallel to one another.

I found the book to be very exciting and interesting, but also a bit sad. For it is a strange tale, and a tale full of pain and sorrow Marryat tells here. As well, there are some pretty hard scenes in the book, involving for instance torture before a hanging, amputations, shark attacks, and such.

The King’s Own, when it was published, confirmed Captain Frederick Marryat’s status as a good writer and was a great success when it was published. It is a good and very interesting read, not least because it was written nearly two hundred years ago.