From the Father of Modern Nautical Fiction One of the great things about the writings of Frederick Marryat is that he introduces you to all aspects of early 19th Century nautical life. It's not just the Royal Navy sending salvos in all directions. In Newton Forster we got a glimpse of the merchant navy. In Jacob Faithful we learn about one of the most under-represented groups in the genre-the Thames waterman. Jacob Faithful grows up literally on his father's Thames lighter. When both of his parents die in a very strange freak accident, Jacob is left with a sum of money large enough to get a good start in life. But rather than leave the river, he stays. He is brought up by the owner of the dock where his family's boat was based; and becomes an apprentice first to a bargeman, then a wherryman, and eventually is pressed into the Royal Navy. It's a wonderful story, with great yarns, that accurately shows the bustling Thames River as it was almost 200 years ago.
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