Commander: The Life and Exploits of Britain’s Greatest Frigate Captain by Stephen Taylor


Though he is more often remembered for his role as a sort-of-mentor to the fictional Horatio Hornblower, Sir Edward Pellew’s actual career was no less spectacular.

Famous for his exploits as a frigate captain (most notably as captain of HMS Indefatigable, his most famous command) he was equally infamous for the lengths he would go to promote the careers of his family and proteges in a period of naval history when a certain amount of nepotism was considered the norm. Though he could inspire incredible personal loyalty among the sailors under his command he could just as easily inspire enmity among his peers and superiors.

Running away to sea at the age of fourteen, young Ned Pellew entered the Royal Navy an ordinary sailor and through a combination of skill, courage, and not a small amount of good fortune rose through the ranks Navy’s ranks to end his career as a Vice-Admiral of the United Kingdom (the second-most powerful position in the Royal Navy) and a Peer of the Realm.