It is remarkable that it deals largely with the merchant navy, as opposed to the military. Newton Forster, the master of a coastal brig, is illegally pressed into the Royal Navy. Through a variety of maneuvers, however, he winds up on an East Indiaman where he undergoes a series of adventures with the Bombay Marine-the East India Company's private military arm. Included are shipwrecks, escapes, and love interests as he eventually rises to command his own ship. Especially interesting is Marryat's fictional account of the Battle of Pulo Aura, in which a squadron of merchant ships engaged, defeated, and then chased a powerful French naval squadron in the Indian Ocean.