This is an exciting story of life in the Russian Navy before the Revolution. The hero, the naval rating Psaltyrev, is a most attractive character; a man of exceptional all-around ability prevented from rising out of the ranks by his humble birth. While showing how the naval training of those days smothered independent thought, the book demonstrates how even then, with a sympathetic captain, a sailor like Psaltyrev could gain immense knowledge and skill. The book contains a fund of racy, lively yarns of life both ashore and afloat, and these, together with its many vivid sketches and impressions of individual sailors and officers, make it most entertaining and absorbing reading. Alexei Novikov-Priboi was born in 1877. Novikov was conscripted when he turned twenty-two, and he became a seaman in the Baltic Fleet. After the Battle of Tsushima in the Russo-Japanese War, which began in 1904, Novikov was in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp. In 1912-13 he lived on Capri as a guest of Maxim Gorky, and there he wrote many stories. He is also the author of The Sea Beckons.