Captain Richard Delancey heads for the East Indies on the 32-gun frigate Laura to take part in the capture of the Cape of Good Hope. His ingenious tactics gain the attention of his superiors, who recruit him for a high-stakes mission: to seek out and destroy the French privateer Subtile.
Richard Delancey is soon called into action once more, as Britain prepares for the threat of a new French assault. Disturbing rumors are circulating about Napoleon's new weapons of war: vessels driven by steam-engines, new explosive devices, and, most troubling of all, a French secret weapon named Nautilus, which can travel underwater and attach explosive devices below the waterline.
With his Royal Navy commission in hand, Richard Delancey is posted to Gibraltar to command the sloop Merlin for convoy protection in the Mediterranean. Overcoming problems with his crew, Delancey quickly proves his mettle during the siege of Valletta and during the battle at Cadiz.
Richard Delancey, inadvertently embroiled in Liverpool labor riots, sidesteps punishment by "volunteering" for the Navy. Ranked as a midshipman, he is no sooner aboard than his ship sails for the port of New York. But when the events of the American Revolution and the ongoing hostilities between England and France send him back across the sea, Delancey finds himself instrumental in defending the Isle of Jersey and, later, the Rock of Gibraltar.
Many know of Horatio Hornblower's exploits during the Napoleonic Wars through the novels of C.S. Forester, but how many know the true Hornblower-the man who rose from Midshipman to Admiral of the British Fleet? Using Hornblower family papers discovered in the 1970s, C. Northcote Parkinson has set the record straight in this authoritative biography.