• by David Cordingly
  • Narrated by John Lee
  • 13 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

From the best-selling author of Under the Black Flag comes the definitive biography of the swashbuckling 19th-century maritime hero upon whom Jack Aubrey and Horatio Hornblower are based.Nicknamed le loup des mers ("the sea wolf") by Napoleon, Thomas Cochrane was one of the most daring and successful naval heroes of all time. In this fascinating account of Cochrane's life, historian David Cordingly unearths startling new details about the real-life "Master and Commander", from his daring exploits against the French navy to his role in the liberation of Chile, Peru, and Brazil, and the shock exchange scandal that forced him out of England and almost ended his naval career. Drawing on previously unpublished papers, his own travels, wide reading, and the kind of original research that distinguished The Billy Ruffian, Cordingly tells the rip-roaring story of the archetypal romantic hero who conquered the seas and, in the process, defined his era.


What the Critics Say

"Cordingly...tells Cochrane's story with flair and sympathy." (Publishers Weekly)
"[Listeners] can practically smell the salt air as Cordingly re-creates the age of sail." (Kirkus)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

There is a better book on Lord Cochrane

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

No. The author seems to grant Lord Cochrane only limited and grudging approbation. The author expresses a "balanced" view of this giant of a man - a bit like a shopkeeper's considered opinion of a great hero. This "damning by faint praise" seems mildly distasteful to me. The subject of the book is utterly fascinating and his accomplishments beyond the reach of but a few score of individuals in human history. I liked "Cochrane: The Life and Exploits of a Fighting Captain" by Robert Harvey much better. It is also available on Audible.

Has Cochrane turned you off from other books in this genre?

Not at all - but I've been turned off from other books by Mr. Cordingly.

What about John Lee’s performance did you like?

Good diction, his accents, a pleasant voice.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

A movie about Lord Cochrane could be great fun - but not one based on this book.

Any additional comments?

This book is essentially a tedious laundry list of Lord Cochrane amazing achievements. The subject is fascinating but the author does not seem to be captivated. I liked "Cochrane: The Life and Exploits of a Fighting Captain" by Robert Harvey much better. It is also available on Audible.

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- Mark G

Great biography of a great naval officer

First of all, I was amazed that there was so much information available on Cochrane to put into a book. I suppose, given his exploits and his fame, there would have been plenty of accounts written up about him. As for his personal life, not so much. But in this case, it is the details of his career that are of the most interest. Cordingly does a terrific job of stringing together all his sources to produce a coherent narrative of Cochrane's career. As great a job as Cochrane did, ultimately it seems that his superiors were content to use him as a line officer. Proof once again that who you know matters more than what you do. Or maybe it's about personality. Either way, lessons abound in this book for all of us trying to find our way through our own careers. Of course, for those fans of C.S. Forrester or Patrick O'Brien, it's a great treat to read about the original character on whom they built their respective series of books.
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- Barry

Book Details

  • Release Date: 11-12-2007
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio