A fascinating biography of a ship called the Bellerophon known as Billy Ruffian to her crew.
The story begins with her birth in a shipyard on the Medway in 1782 and describes her prominent role in some of the most famous of all sea battles, including the Battle of the Nile and the Battle of Trafalgar.
Her real moment of glory, however, came in 1815, six weeks after the Battle of Waterloo, when Napoleon surrendered to the ship's captain and was hosted on board for some weeks, before he was sent into exile.
Sadly, the Bellerophon came to an ignominious end, serving as a prison ship for several years, before being destroyed in a breaker's yard fifty-four years after her birth.
Filled with vivid details of life above and below deck, Billy Ruffian captures the drama of the great sea battles and offers a fascinating insight into the shipbuilder's craft.
It also provides a fresh perspective on the days following Napoleon's surrender, when he and the Bellerophon were moored off the DEVONshire coast, attracting huge crowds of 'tourists' hoping to catch a glimpse of the famous Emperor.