Secrets of the Fearless
In Edinburgh, a bankrupt father and his son, twelve year old John Barr, are running for their lives, having been falsely accused of murder. At the waterside, John is cruelly separated from his father, and forced to join the navy. On board HMS Fearless, he soon learns that the mighty warship hides many secrets.
His new knowledge thrusts John into a shadowy world of naval espionage, right to the heart of a covert operation. Accompanied only by fellow shipmate Kit, he must go ashore into hostile French territory and outwit a nest of spies. But when disaster strikes, the friends find themselves abandoned behind enemy lines...
Set at the height of the Napoleonic Wars, Secrets of the Fearless is a rip-roaring, heart-stopping adventure.
Secrets of the Fearless was inspired by family stories about my great-great-great grandfather. His name was John Allen. When he was still a boy, he was snatched by the press gang and sent to sea. He found himself serving as a third class boy on board HMS Imperieuse, whose captain, Lord Cochrane, was the most dare-devil sailor of his time. John must have taken part in many hair-raising escapades, both at sea and on land.
Another member of the crew was a young midshipman, Frederick Marryat, who was one year older than John. He grew up to become a famous captain, and the writer of Mr Midshipman Easy, one of the most popular novels of the nineteenth century.
John was taken prisoner at the storming of an Italian fort in 1813, but he escaped, according to family legend, 'with the help of a kind French lady'. He was discharged from the navy in 1815, at the age of 22, when Napoleon was defeated at the Battle of Waterloo and the war with France came to an end.