This book is a companion to Patrick O'Brian's sea novels, a straightforward exploration of what daily life in Nelson's navy was really like, for everyone from the captain down to the rawest recruit. What did they eat? What songs did they sing? What was the schedule of watches? How were the officers and crew paid, and what was the division of prize-money?
These questions and many more are answered in Patrick O'Brian's elegant narrative, which includes wonderful anecdotal material on the battles and commanders that established Britain's naval supremacy. Line drawings and charts help us to understand the construction and rigging of the great ships, the types and disposition of the guns, and how they were operated in battle. A number of contemporary drawings and cartoons illustrate aspects of naval life from the press gang to the scullery. Finally, a generous selection of full-color paintings render the majesty and the excitement of fleet actions in the age of fighting sail.