In this stirring tale from the days of wooden ships, a young sailor enters the king's service with some firm but untried egalitarian notions. "Equality Jack" — known formally as Mr. Midshipman Easy — is initiated into the rigid hierarchy of the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars. His adventures were recounted in 1836 by the founder and master of naval fiction, Captain Frederick Marryat (1792–1848), who entered the service as a fourteen-year-old midshipman and resigned twenty-four years later to devote himself to writing. He based this novel on his own experiences sailing with Lord Thomas Cochrane, the real-life model for Horatio Hornblower and Jack Aubrey. Marrayat combines a sharp wit and sense of irony with realism born of firsthand knowledge of seafaring life. Joseph Conrad praised his works as "enthralling," adding, "His greatness is undeniable." Virginia Woolf declared, "Marryat has the power to set us in the midst of ships and men and sea and sky, all vivid, credible, authentic." This low-priced Dover edition of Marryat's classic includes 37 illustrations and features an Introduction by author John Harland, an expert on maritime literature.