From Publishers Weekly
Thomas Cochrane was one of the Royal Navy's greatest frigate captains and most controversial figures during the Napoleonic Wars. A counterpoint to Horatio Nelson and his band of brothers, who were masters of fleet actions and blockade, Cochrane was a daring commerce raider whose prizes were so rich that he sailed into port with solid gold candlesticks lashed to his mastheads. He was a master as well of coastal raiding and cutting-out expeditions, culminating in the crippling of a French squadron at Basque Roads in 1809. Cordingly, an established historian of Nelson's navy, tells Cochrane's story with flair and sympathy—especially when recounting his professional destruction by a corrupt and inefficient naval establishment, which he challenged from his seat in Parliament with the same energy he turned against the French at sea. Cochrane's support of radical domestic causes further marked him, and in 1814 he was convicted in a Stock Exchange scandal whose details remain unclear. Surmounting disgrace and imprisonment, Cochrane in 1818 was offered command of revolutionary Chile's navy. He led it to victory against its Spanish enemy, then repeated the performance for another rebel state, Brazil. Less successful fighting for the Greeks against the Turks, he returned to Britain a national hero, had his case successfully reviewed and was restored to rank and honor. Small wonder that Cochrane's career was a major source of Patrick O'Brian's popular series, though Cochrane might have considered Jack Aubrey a bit of a bore. (Sept.)
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“Most intriguing and satisfying...Within his nearly 85 years, Cochrane packed enough drama and history to shame both Horatio Nelson and Sir Francis Drake...O'Brian fans will find great satisfaction in smoking out similarities and differences between Cochrane and Aubrey.”—Ken Ringle, Washington Post
“[Cordingly] used previously unpublished papers, extensive original research and his own travels to tell Cochrane’s story which is as good as any fiction.”—BoatU.S. Magazine
"Cordingly, an established historian of Nelson's navy, tells Cochrane's story with flair and sympathy"—Publisher's Weekly
“Avast, Horatio Hornblower! Shove off, Jack Aubrey! Give way to a real life knee-breeched naval hero. Maritime historian Cordingly...presents the life of Thomas Cochrane, tenth Earl of Dundonald (1775–1860), a lanky Scot who was the very model, we are told, for the stalwart characters of C.S. Forster and Patrick O’Brian...Readers can practically smell the salt air as Cordingly recreates the age of sail, of press gangs, of round shot, grape, canister and loud nine pounders, of wellarmed ships of the line, jolly boats, bum boats and fire ships. To document the career of his hero, the author draws on memoirs, logbooks, archives, correspondence and ephemera. He chronicles in copious detail Cochrane’s considerable bravery on deck and personal failings ashore. Landlubbers may find this a lengthy voyage, but devotees of yarns about brave British tars will be delighted to be aboard.”—Kirkus Reviews