Tobias Smollett, in his creation of the Scot Roderick Random, exposes the sheer incompetence and injustice of the Royal Navy, as well as the snobbery and hypocrisy prevalent in English middle-class society at the time. Set in the mid-18th century, this picaresque novel follows the life and adventures of Roderick, the eponymous hero who has been shunned by his gentleman father's family on the basis of the lowliness of his mother's family. Expelled from school, Roderick falls back on his natural wit and the support of his maternal uncle. Embarking on a global voyage, hindered by his naivete and with only a few friends to help him, he pursues the rich ladies of the world in order to rise into the high society from which he was rudely ejected. He ends up twice serving on British ships, latterly a warship onto which he is press-ganged. Where will his travels take him?
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