It is the evening of 1 August 1798, in a sticky Mediterranean dusk, and Horatio Nelson’s Mediterranean Fleet has fi nally tracked down their French opponents at anchor in Aboukir Bay on the Egyptian coast. He is determined to bring them to action, even in the gathering gloom. The British gun crews are crouching by their cannon while their French counterparts heave their heavy armaments onto the seaward side where the British will come. Ahead of Nelson is a more powerful fl eet, commanded by François-Paul Bruey in his fl agship L’Orient, bigger than any ship in the Royal Navy at the time. The Battle of the Nile is about to begin.