Hannah Snell’s story begins in 1744, with tragedy. That year, she married James Summs, a Dutch seaman. Soon after their marriage, she fell pregnant and Summs abandoned her. The baby died just a year after she was born. At this juncture, Snell donned a suit, assumed her brother-in-law’s identity and set off in search of her husband. At first she joined the army, but, coming under the Sergeant’s lash, deserted, and went to Portsmouth, where she boarded the sloop of war and went off to capture Pondicherry. After that she fought in various battles, and sustained multiple injuries – some of which made it difficult to keep her sex concealed. In 1750, she returned to London and sold her story, which went on to pique the interest of readers for centuries.