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  1. In the mid seventeenth century England's Parliament quarrelled with its King, Charles the First, fought a very bloody Civil War... and then cut the King's head off. The bloodshed should have settled matters but actually made matters worse. Kings are raised to rule but politicians have to learn. Then as now it's easy to choose the wrong man. England now had Oliver Cromwell, as Lord Protector... King or Emperor in all but name. Wilful and opinionated he proceeded to wreck the economy, and his eventual death didn't solve matters... he left control of the nation to his idiot son. So there we have all the history you need to know. The army under General Monck took control of Parliament, and in 1660 the navy under Admiral Lord Montagu combined forces with him to bring the executed king's son, another Charles, back from exile in Holland. That voyage wasn't going to be easy. Most naval officers expected to lose their posts if he returned, most therefore opposed the Restoration, as it came to be known. That is where our story begins. The task of persuading the navy to cooperate in their own unemployment falls to Samuel Pepys, he who famously kept a diary and re-modelled the Royal Navy. He is Secretary to the Navy and has a young orphan nephew Jeremy. Samuel will play a central role as the fleet sails for Holland. His cousin Admiral Lord Montagu leads the fleet and has his son David with him. David is a year older than Jeremy and a year into his training as a boy-officer. At this period, common seamen could join a ship as young as 10, carrying powder to the guns... the ships were cramped and small boys fitted the space better, could run standing upright, and if they died were easy to replace. Aristocratic officers joined ships at 11yo, as boy-servants to officers and served a sort of informal apprenticeship. At this period they were known as Young-Gentlemen, not midshipmen. The Navy itself could hardly be the Royal Navy, the king was dead... for the present it was The State Ships. But all that was about to change. Through the eyes of young boys, A Royal Achievement tells the tale of the Restoration, of Charles Stuart's return as King, and of the fleet's subsequent deployment to fight Barbary pirates off the coast of Africa. As with my other war stories, the history is as accurate as I can make it, all the major historical characters and events are correct. Two boys have been inserted into history along with other boys and minor characters to keep a ripping yarn romping along.
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