Boys at Sea is a study of homoerotic life on board ships of the Royal Navy in the age of fighting sail. It deals not only with sex among ordinary crewmen, but reveals that the most conspicuous feature of prosecutions for sodomy and indecency from the reign of Queen Anne almost to the dawn of the Victorian age involved officers forcing their attentions on unwilling ships' boys. The book traces every feature of sexual life at sea, including seduction, rape, prostitution, courts martial, and the punishments meted out to those convicted of violating the stern moral code set down in the Articles of War. It provides a probing look into the careers of youngsters who served on board Britain's warships, revealing a dark and terrifying aspect of their lives. Written largely from trial transcripts preserved in Admiralty archives, it is a tour de force of original scholarship.