Favourite of Fortune

"Captain John Quilliam, Trafalgar Hero"

  • Subject: Biography & Memoirs | Summer 2024 Sale
  • Format:
  • Pages:
  • Illustrations:
    16 color and 15 b/w illustrations
  • Published:
    November 15, 2021
  • ISBN-10:
  • ISBN-13:
  • Product Dimensions:
    9.25 × 6.125 × 1 in
  • Product Weight:
    16 oz
Hardcover $46.95
Member Price $37.56 Save 20%
Book: Cover Type


Born on the Isle of Man two hundred fifty years ago, Captain John Quilliam has, until now, evaded detailed study of his extraordinary life. While celebrated as a Manx hero, in the wider world beyond the Island one of the most important men on the quarter deck of HMS Victory at the Battle of Trafalgar remains largely unrecognized.

Trafalgar, however, was not even the high point of Quilliam’s professional journey. From the lowest rung of the ladder in the dockyard at Portsmouth he climbed to become Victory’s First Lieutenant, having already survived two of the bloodiest sea-battles of the era at Camperdown and Copenhagen. In the process he won a share in undreamed of wealth through the seizure of one of the largest hauls of Spanish gold ever taken by the Georgian navy.

Promoted post-Captain, Quilliam reached the apogee of his profession, commanding frigates in the Baltic and on the Newfoundland station in the War of 1812. There, in a bizarre twist worthy of a novel by O’Brian or Forester, he defeated an accusation of shirking an engagement with the American super-frigate President in a court-martial brought by his own First Lieutenant.

About the Author

Editorial Reviews

“This biography is a worthy read about a Royal Navy officer who was rather unique in his profession; not only a master at commanding a sailing man of war at sea and in combat, but also a master of the technology of building, maintaining, and refitting the complex machinery of sailing warships. He was ‘truly styled a favourite of Fortune’.” —Nautical Research Journal
“From historical records, the authors provide an almost complete timeline of his naval career and strip away the inaccuracies and myths surrounding him. They incorporate maps, illustrations, and end notes, as well as a bibliography, glossary, and index. Each author has a connection to this man, be it a familial relationship or through research. They combine their knowledge of the Royal Navy, the Isle of Man, and this 'man who steered the Victory at Trafalgar' to craft an authoritative, yet highly readable biography.” —Pirates and Privateers