HMS Reliant

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The ship captained by William Laurence before the hatching of Temeraire.

The Reliant was a 36-gun frigate with 200-300 men. Such ships had a powerful combination of maneuverability and firepower, and were used as fast scouts or to interdict enemy shipping, which brought the potential of prize money.

After Laurence's departure, the Reliant remained with Horatio Nelson's fleet as it chased the French across the Atlantic. The Reliant then became part of the blockade at Cadiz during the period leading up to the Battle of Trafalgar. The ship took serious damage in a storm after the battle, and went into drydock for repairs.


  • Gibbs -- first lieutenant; assigned to bring the captured Amitie into port
  • Tom Riley -- second lieutenant before the capture of the Amitie; becomes acting first lieutenant upon Gibbs's departure and is breveted to captain when Laurence harnesses Temeraire.
  • Wells -- third lieutenant
  • Fanshawe -- fourth (?) lieutenant
  • Pollitt -- ship's surgeon
  • Battersea - midshipman
  • Jonathan Carver - midshipman


  • Giles - Laurence's steward; spooked by dragons
  • Rabson - armourer; improvises Temeraire's first harness
  • Masterson - later serves aboard the HMS Allegiance
  • Gordon - rescued by Laurence and Temeraire (their first flight) after falling overboard during a storm
  • Bill Swallow - somewhat simple-minded, like Volatilus