Frederick Marryat was a novelist, for both adults and children, between Jane Austen and Charles Dickens. He was also known as Captain Marryat, naval hero of the great war with France, who went on to become a celebrated figure in Dickens' literary circle. A man about town, a journalist, duellist, courtier, and an acutely observant traveller in the United States, he finally settled as a farmer deep in the English countryside. This is his biography. Marryat's life was as extravagant as anything in his books.
As a boy he went to sea with Lord Cochrane, a dashing frigate captain, and saw action in several engagements. He fought the Americans in 1812, but was later lionised by them as a famous author - only to be reviled for helping to suppress a French-Canadian rebellion. A man of charm and wit,Marryat also showed a hot, violent temper and was fined for brawling in London streets.
Spending his way through three inherited fortunes, making and wasting huge earnings from his writing, he finally gambled away his smart London house to become a farmer in Norfolk. There, he planned house parties for his famous friends, but what transpired in that remote corner of England forms an appropriate but poignant surprise conclusion.