The French corvette La Vaillante, built in 1796, was captured and renamed Danae by the British Royal Navy in 1798. Two years later, she was returned to France in an amazing fashion: her British crew mutinied, sailed the Danae to France, and turned her over to the enemy for a cash reward. Accurate, fair, thorough, and lively, this penetrating account of a mutiny and its aftermath is compiled from contemporary British documents and the dusty French naval archives. Dudley Pope describes the men, the ship, and the tragic chain of events following their capture by a press-gang, bringing this extraordinary 1800 mutiny to life and chronicling those who survived, hanged, or died disgraced in a far-off colonial posting. This history is also significant in that it inspired Pope to try his hand at fiction, resulting in the Lord Ramage novels. The historical figures and events found in this true story are the basis for some of the favorite fictional characters and plot elements in Pope’s novels.
Dudley Bernard Egerton Pope was born in 1925 into an ancient Cornish seafaring family. He joined the Merchant Navy at 16 and spent much of his early life at sea. During the Second World War, his boat was torpedoed, resulting in spinal injuries that plagued Pope for the rest of his life. Toward the end of the war, Pope turned to journalism, becoming the Naval and Defense Correspondent for the London Evening News. He also began researching naval history and in time became an authority on the Napoleonic era and Nelson's exploits, authoring several well-received volumes, especially on the Battles of Copenhagen and Trafalgar.
Hornblower creator C. S. Forester urged Pope to try his hand at fiction and saw the younger writer as his literary heir. With Ramage (1965), Pope began what was to become an impressive series; over the next 24 years, he produced 17 more novels tracing the exploits of the fictional Lord Nicholas Ramage's career during the Napoleonic Wars. The Daily Mirror proclaimed him “the first and still favourite rival to Hornblower.”
Pope lived, along with his wife and daughter, aboard boats, where he wrote the majority of his novels. Most of his adult life was spent in the Caribbean. Besides using the locale for fictional settings, he also wrote an authoritative naval history of the region, including a biography of the buccaneer Sir Henry Morgan. Pope died in 1997 at age 71.