Patrick O'Brian, C. S. Forester and Captain Marryat all based their literary heroes on Thomas Cochrane, but as David Cordingly shows, Cochrane's own real life exploits were far more daring and exciting than those of his fictional counterparts. Cochrane's impulsive nature meant that he was often his own worst enemy. It was this that lay behind his early success, and also behind the stock exchange scandal that saw him blackballed from the City and his beloved country. Taking his wounded pride and his undiminished abilities as a naval commander to South America, he helped liberate Chile, Peru and Brazil from their colonial masters, before returning home to restless retirement. Drawing on his own travels, wide reading and the kind of original research that distinguishedBilly Ruffian, David Cordingly tells the rip-roaring story of the ultimate Romantic hero who helped define his age.