Books Should Be Free
Loyal Books
Free Public Domain Audiobooks & eBook Downloads
Search by: Title, Author or Keyword

Percival Keene   By: (1792-1848)

Book cover

Percival Keene by Frederick Marryat follows the adventures of its eponymous protagonist as he navigates a series of remarkable events across different locations and naval battles during the Napoleonic Wars. Marryat, a former Royal Navy officer, infuses the narrative with his personal experiences, providing a realistic and engaging glimpse into life at sea during this turbulent time in European history.

The story begins with Percival, an orphaned boy who yearns for excitement and adventure, leaving his mundane life as a midshipman to join the British Navy. As he joins a new crew and faces numerous challenges, Percival quickly rises through the ranks due to his intelligence, determination, and unique abilities. His exceptional skill in sketching and drawing, as well as his quick-thinking, becomes instrumental to his success and the safety of his comrades.

What sets Percival Keene apart from other naval adventure novels of the era is the depth and development given to its characters, particularly the titular protagonist. Percival is not merely a larger-than-life hero; he is flawed, occasionally impulsive, and struggles with a mix of ambition, self-doubt, and a strong sense of justice. Marryat cleverly uses these flaws to shape Percival's growth throughout the novel, as he reflects on his choices and learns from mistakes.

Another noteworthy aspect of Percival Keene is Marryat's skill in interweaving humor with drama. Witty banter between characters and comical situations provide much-needed levity amidst the intense battles and perilous journeys. This balance keeps the reader engaged and invested in the characters, making for an enjoyable and entertaining read.

Marryat's own naval background is evident in his meticulous attention to nautical detail, which brings authenticity to the story. Readers are transported to the deck of a warship, experiencing the hardships faced by sailors and officers alike. From the intricacies of ship maneuvers to the portrayal of the camaraderie and rivalries among crew members, Marryat's expertise shines through, leaving the audience with a profound sense of the era.

Admittedly, at times, the plot of Percival Keene becomes somewhat convoluted, with an abundance of subplots and a plethora of characters. This complexity may prove overwhelming to some readers, requiring close attention to fully appreciate the intricacies of the narrative. However, for those who enjoy a richly detailed and multifaceted story, this aspect only enhances the depth and realism of the world Marryat has created.

Overall, Percival Keene is a captivating novel that blends action, adventure, and coming-of-age themes into a compelling tale set against the backdrop of the Napoleonic Wars. Marryat's brilliant storytelling, combined with his knowledge of naval life, creates an immersive experience for readers. With its well-rounded characters, humor, and historical accuracy, Percival Keene is an excellent choice for anyone seeking an engaging and rewarding adventure on the high seas.

First Page:

Percival Keene, by Captain Marryat.

Captain Frederick Marryat was born July 10 1792, and died August 8 1848. He retired from the British navy in 1828 in order to devote himself to writing. In the following 20 years he wrote 26 books, many of which are among the very best of English literature, and some of which are still in print.

Marryat had an extraordinary gift for the invention of episodes in his stories. He says somewhere that when he sat down for the day's work, he never knew what he was going to write. He certainly was a literary genius.

"Percival Keene" was published in 1842, the nineteenth book to flow from Marryat's pen.

This e text was transcribed in 1998 by Nick Hodson, and was reformatted in 2003, and again in 2005.



A few miles from the town of Southampton there is an old mansion house, which has been for centuries known as Madeline Hall, in the possession of the de Versely family. It is a handsome building, surrounded by a finely timbered park of some extent, and, what is more important, by about 12,000 acres of land, which also appertain to it. At the period in which I commence this history, there resided in this mansion an elderly spinster of rank, named the Honourable Miss Delmar, sister of the late Lord de Versely and aunt to the present earl, and an Honourable Captain Delmar, who was the second son of the deceased nobleman... Continue reading book >>

eBook Downloads
ePUB eBook
• iBooks for iPhone and iPad
• Nook
• Sony Reader
Kindle eBook
• Mobi file format for Kindle
Read eBook
• Load eBook in browser
Text File eBook
• Computers
• Windows
• Mac

Review this book

Popular Genres
More Genres
Paid Books