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1793. Europe is ablaze with war. The Prime Minister, Pitt, is under pressure to make an active move at sea, and dispatches a squadron to appear off the French coast. To man the ships, ordinary people must be press-ganged.
Thomas Paine Kydd, a young wig-maker from Guildford, is seized, taken across country to Sheerness and the great fleet anchorage of the Nore to be a part of the crew of the 98-gun line-of-battle ship Royal William. The ship sails immediately and Kydd has to learn the harsh realities of shipboard life fast; but despite all that he goes through in dangers of tempest and battle he comes to admire the skills and courage of the seamen - taking up the challenge himself to become a true sailor.
Kydd launches a masterly new writing talent and a thrilling new series. Based on dramatic real events, it is classic storytelling at its very best, rich with action, exceptional characters and a page-turning narrative.