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There is no more famous a vessel in naval fiction than HMS Surprise , the principal ship in Patrick O'Brian's much-celebrated Aubrey-Maturin series of novels. Yet, this 28-gun frigate also had an eventful real career serving in both the French and then the Royal Navies. It was captured from the French in 1796 and took part in the famous cutting-out action on the frigate HMS Hermione , which the Spanish had taken after a savage mutiny. In 1802, after the Peace of Amiens, HMS Surprise was decommissioned and delivered into the fictional captaincy of Jack Aubrey. This sumptuous new volume narrates the career of HMS Surprise in both her historical and her fictional roles and presents an all-embracing construction and fitting history. In addition to historical illustrations, maps, artifacts, and photographs, thirty-five paintings, some specially commissioned, have been contributed by Geoff Hunt, whose art graces the covers of Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin novels. Fifty line plans have been drawn by the marine draftsman Karl Heinz Marquardt.