Lord Cochrane's exploits first inspired another British sea captain, Frederick Marryat, who served under Cochrane as a midshipman. Marryat rose to command his own frigate and engaged in more than fifty sea battles during his career. Thus, he knows better than any other author of fiction, the terror and exhilaration of standing on an open deck amid a hail of canon and small arms fire.
Marryat focuses on character, much like his contemporary, Charles Dickens. The plots are often fanciful, however, the authenticity of his narrative is unsurpassed. Reading a book by Marryat is like sitting by the fire, surrounded by children, listening to the exploits of an aging great grandfather or uncle.
For me, the most pleasurable part of reading a work by Marryat are those times when he lapses into personal recollections in the middle of a story. For example, in one book, the fictional captain performs a wedding at sea, and Marryat wanders off into a tale wherein he performed such a ceremony during one of his commands.
I am certain that a critic would be happy to tear apart a work by Marryat, and they are welcome to it. However, I will still read, and sometimes reread, my favorite Marryat books.