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Tars is a gripping firsthand account of life in the Royal Navy at its bloodiest and most temptestuous phase, beginning in 1758. Through the lives of the main protagonists – a small band of sailors from across the ranks – Trafalgar author Tim Clayton paints a vivid picture of the navy and the era, from close-quarter battles and roistering on the streets of London to the political decisions that built up and knocked down empires.

In this death-or-glory era the navy became the main weapon of an aggressive and power-hungry government, and fighting at sea was carried out at ever-closer quarters and with ever-increasing amounts of firepower. Using never-before published first-person sources, Tars takes us through these men’s daily struggles as Britain navigated her course on the political map.


Winner of the Mountbatten Award for Naval Literature 2008

The Mountbatten Maritime Award for Best Literary Contribution was presented to Tim Clayton for his book Tars: The Men who made Britain rule the waves. The judges commended the originality of the writing, which describes life at sea through the eyes of captains, officers and men on two warships, the Monmouth and the Dragon, during the Seven Years War. This title was selected from over twenty-five entries because it was “accessible, well researched, and a true literary masterpiece”.

'Highly accessible and exceptionally well-researched . . . this is a book with a wide appeal. The overwhelming strength of Clayton's excellent and worthwhile book is his deep understanding of the human dimension of naval power. No naval library should be without it.'

Navy News

'Ideal for fans of Patrick O'Brien'



10th January 2015