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Extraordinary maritime heroes of the late 18th and early 19th centuries stride across these pages – some, like Warren, Pellew, Cochrane and Collingwood, are still renowned; others are almost unknown today, yet their brilliant exploits deserve to be pulled from under the long shadow of the greatest naval figure of all, Horatio Nelson. The Royal Navy’s struggle is set against the political backdrop of the Napoleonic Wars and the sea war with America.