Picture of author.

Frederick Marryat (1792–1848)

Author of The Children of the New Forest

134+ Works 3,840 Members 60 Reviews 7 Favorited

About the Author

Frederick Marryat was born on July 10, 1792 in London, England. He entered the Royal Navy at the age of 14 and served with distinction in many parts of the world before retiring in 1830 with the rank of captain. From 1832 to 1835, he edited the Metropolitan Magazine. His first novel, The Naval show more Officer, was published in 1829. His other adult novels include Mr. Midshipman Easy, The Kings Own, Newton Forster, Peter Simple, Jacob Faithful, and The Phantom Ship. He also wrote a number of children's books including Masterman Ready, Settlers in Canada, The Mission, The Children of the New Forest, and The Little Savages. He travelled in Canada and the United States from 1837 to 1839. Afterward, he recorded his impressions in A Diary in America. He died on August 9, 1848. (Bowker Author Biography) show less
Image credit: Capt. Frederick Marryat, Royal Navy (Author. UK,1792-1848). Author portrait (frontis) from the the nautical novel, Percival Kane, 1848 edition. Engraving from a William Behnes drawing. Public Domain Book available for FREE download at Archive.org

Works by Frederick Marryat

The Children of the New Forest (1847) 1,632 copies
Mr Midshipman Easy (1836) 579 copies
The Phantom Ship (1839) 221 copies
Masterman Ready (1841) 213 copies
Peter Simple (1834) 199 copies
Percival Keene (1842) 92 copies
The Settlers in Canada (1844) 73 copies
The King's Own (1856) 71 copies
Jacob Faithful (1834) 55 copies
The Privateersman (1866) 42 copies
Poor Jack (1840) 29 copies
Monsieur Violet (1853) 27 copies
The Little Savage (1848) 21 copies
The Mission (1845) 20 copies
The Pirate (1955) 20 copies
The Poacher (2004) 20 copies
The Pacha of Many Tales (2006) 19 copies
Valerie (2004) 16 copies
Olla Podrida (1874) 13 copies
Diary in America (1839) 12 copies
Relatos de hombres lobos y otra (1997) — Contributor — 8 copies
The Three Cutters (2004) 6 copies
La mujer loba (2005) 2 copies
Nybyggerne i Canada II (1985) 1 copy
The Naval Officer (2014) 1 copy
Propiedad del rey (2004) 1 copy
Novels 1 copy
Kapergasten 1 copy
La lloba que fou (1984) 1 copy
Den flygende hollender (1992) 1 copy
The Werewolf 1 copy

Associated Works

Great Stories of the Sea & Ships (1940) — Contributor — 173 copies
The Supernatural Omnibus (1931) — Contributor — 141 copies
The Children of the New Forest [adapted - Oxford Bookworms] (2000) — Original text — 106 copies
Wolf's Complete Book of Terror (1979) — Contributor — 76 copies
World's Great Adventure Stories (1929) — Contributor — 75 copies
65 Great Tales of Horror (1981) — Contributor — 59 copies
The Werewolf Pack (2008) — Contributor — 44 copies
Anthology of Fear 20 Haunting Stories for Winter Nights (1988) — Contributor — 37 copies
The Book of the Sea (1954) — Contributor — 36 copies
The Best Crime Stories Ever Told (2012) — Contributor — 34 copies
Mysterious Sea Stories (1985) — Contributor — 30 copies
The Mystery Book (1934) — Contributor — 29 copies
The Great Book of Thrillers (1935) — Contributor — 27 copies
Great English Short Stories (1930) — Contributor — 20 copies
A Century of Thrillers from Poe to Arlen (First Series) (1934) — Contributor — 18 copies
Horror by Lamplight (1993) — Contributor — 18 copies
Ghosts and Marvels (1924) — Contributor — 17 copies
Rattlin the reefer (1836) — some editions — 16 copies
Fifty Enthralling Stories of the Mysterious East (1930) — Contributor — 15 copies
Shapes of the Supernatural (1969) — Contributor — 11 copies
International Short Stories English (Volume 2) (1910) — Contributor — 8 copies
A Seaman's Book of Sea Stories (2009) — Contributor — 7 copies
Famous Stories of Five Centuries (1934) — Contributor — 4 copies
After Dark Classics: Short Stories (2011) — Contributor — 3 copies

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Allowing for the fact that this an adventure book for children, it is a rollicking (if usually far-fetched) tale, which holds the attention.
½
 
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DramMan | 8 other reviews | Oct 18, 2023 |
Interesting for its period depictions of human innocence and piety.
 
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farrhon | 1 other review | Oct 11, 2023 |
This is indeed the first time I have read a book from this author and I learned quite a lot about the seafaring life from the early 1800's London. I have read quite a few British novels from this time period, but they were always aimed at upper middle class people clawing their way into the highest social class by marriage with wealthy third daughters of lofty lords. Books in which even a governess was hailed as someone ill fit for the rich and powerful.

So indeed reading a book about ordinary working class families in the docks of southern London was most eye opening, written by a naval officer who likely mingled with all sorts of folk during his career. Yes, there were industrious women that made a good fortune with hard work. Apparently being the personal maid of an elderly lady was a huge honor and countless young women would fighting over such eye watering 7 day a week jobs cleaning calluses and spoon feeding breakfast to their charge.

This is pretty much a coming of age story of Thomas Saunders, the unwanted son product of a mismatched marriage between a humble (but drop dead handsome in a scruffy way) boatswain and a prepotent lady's maid who were probably not thinking things through when they ended up marrying each other and ultimately regretting it every step of the way.

After Thomas's dad (also named Thomas Saunders) is tricked into getting pressed into forced service of a royal vessel from his wife for the sake of getting rid of him, she gets into a fight with her employer and forced to suck her pride and live in a lower working class neighborhood near the docks offering tea, bacon and ale to the sailors while she treats Thomas with the utter worst of scorn for no reason whatsoever and pampering her daughter Virginia.

Thomas pretty much hates his abusive mother and prefers to spend most of his free time working as a mudlark hewing the boats to the dock for a copper under the nickname "Poor Jack". I believe the moral of the story revolves a lot on how Thomas was both a level headed mixture between ambition and kindness. He worked very hard and might have even scuffed with his competition, and yet he was always polite to the sailors and honest. His pleasant personality attracted the interest of a semi-retired officer named Anderson of the nearby Naval hospital for retired injured sailors who teaches him how to read & write and guides the boy during his childhood.

Thomas eventually meets his father who ended up as a permanent resident of the hospital after losing a leg in a battle (much to his mother's annoyance). While abusive to his wife at first due to equal horrible things she did to him (one of them getting pressed into service which ultimately left him crippled), he is otherwise likeable and envious Thomas has a closer relationship to Anderson.

We also get to meet other characters from the town, including fellow hospital retirees Ben and a former pirate with a sketchy past Slider who both taking a liking to the boy, a pleasant tobacco seller from Ireland named Miss St. Felix and a tragic past she keeps hidden, the village doctor and an old crone who buys driftwood and other trinkets Thomas sometimes salvages from the river and borrows him cash early into the story to purchase decent clothes to go to church (and ultimately entices the mother to start tolerating her son and treat him better).

As a way to offer Thomas an honorable job working in a boat without the constant fear of getting pressed into military service, his father and Anderson find him an apprenticeship as a boat pilot with a kind man named Mr. Bramble who also ends up acting like a father figure to the teenager. I have never heard of this profession and would like to see more of it in other books. They are basically a sort of guide who know the terrains of the estuaries surrounding London and hitch rides on all sorts of vessels and steer the vessel in and out of the city safely. Bramble has an adoptive daughter named Bessie who was salvaged from a Dutch shipwreck.

Contrary to what I expected, Virginia never ends up spoiled or petulant from her mother's upbringing. She is actually a perfectly sweet person and gets along well with Thomas. And yes, her mother worked very hard in a successful clothing factory she opened with Thomas's help to give Virginia a good education in the hopes of marrying her off to the highest suitor, much to her annoyance.

I think if there was anything annoying about the book's finale; it would be how it worked too hard to give everyone a super duper happy ending with a bow on top. It seems hardly credible a newly licensed 21 year old pilot would end up so damn wealthy at that age with so much ridiculous ease. I won't spoil how it happened, but it does seem quite incoherent. In today's money, he would have ended up 100 million USD rich. Yeah, seriously.

One other huge qualm I have with the book which is probably just a reflection of the era in which it was written is the portrayal of black and mulatto characters. They are universally either hot-headed trigger happy idiots, blood thirsty (literally) cannibals or a vestige of absolute buffoonery like the crippled sailor of the hospital who at one point of the story drank too much grog and after his peg leg got stuck in a hole, he hops around in circles around and around singing nonsense. Those scenes are very cringey and knocked an additional half star from the book.

For the most part, I did enjoy the story despite its shortcomings and might read additional books from the author. 3 1/2 stars.
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chirikosan | Jul 24, 2023 |
It's worth noting that Captain Marryat wrote this book in response to Swiss Family Robinson. He was expected (by the children in his family) to read Swiss Family aloud to them, and what between the romanticized shipwreck and the bizarrely improbably assortment of animal and plant life all found on one island, he just couldn't get very far. So he wrote his own, informed by his naval experience and his travels. It seems odd that Swiss Family is still widely read today and the more plausible Masterman Ready is less known. I suppose we can blame Walt Disney!… (more)
 
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muumi | 4 other reviews | Jul 1, 2023 |

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