Bestselling account of the life of a real Horatio Hornblower The life of Thomas, Lord Cochrane, later 10th Earl of Dundonald, was more extraordinary than that of Nelson, more far fetched than that of Hornblower or Patrick O'Brien's Jack Aubrey. Born the son of an eccentric and indigent Scottish peer, he entered the Royal Navy in 1793. In a series of outstanding and heroic actions, often against seemingly overwhelming odds, he made his name fighting Napoleon's navy as one of the most dashing and daring frigate captains of his day, before embarking on a career as a mercenary admiral.
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(199mm x 136mm x 25mm)
Publisher: Orion Publishing Co
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US Kirkus Review »
Ruined and then redeemed, naval commander Lord Thomas Cochrane (17751860) is presented here as a "supreme romantic hero." In a crisp anecdotal narrative, Thomas anchors Cochrane firmly in the context of his age, while arguing that he was a man ahead of his time in politics (he fought for reform at home and national independence abroad) and military strategy (he developed plans for gas warfare and saturation bombing). Hence, he earned the wrath of officialdom in the first quarter of the 19th century and the admiration of the succeeding generation of Victorians. Thomas does not probe deeply into the contradictory aspects of his life; that Cochrane's impact on the reform movements in Parliament and in the navy was marginal is a point more implicit than explicit. He also accepts Cochrane's reputation as a freedom-fighter when he commanded (for a price, while in disgrace in England) rebel navies in South America and Greece, and glosses over his scheme to install Napoleon as head of the ensuing South American republic. But if Thomas overstates the case for Cochrane as a significant force off the high seas, he admirably supports his reputation as a naval commander of the first rank. In the process, he draws a precise and colorful portrait of British naval life during the Napoleonic Wars. The descriptions of Cochrane's daring exploits and tactical brilliance will delight naval historians and Hornblower enthusiasts alike. (Kirkus Reviews)
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Author Biography - Donald Thomas
Donald Thomas (1926-) was born in Somerset and educated at Queen's College, Taunton, and Balliol College, Oxford. He holds a personal chair in the University of Wales, Cardiff, now Cardiff University. His numerous crime novels include two collections of Sherlock Holmes stories and a hugely successful historical detective series written under the pen name Francis Selwyn and featuring Sergeant Verity of Scotland Yard, as well as gritty police procedurals written under the name of Richard Dacre. He is also the author of seven biographies and a number of other non-fiction works, and won the Gregory Prize for his poems, Points of Contact. He lives in Bath with his wife.