THE PHANTOM SHIP is the most notable of the three novels constructed by Marryat on an historic basis, and like its predecessor in the same category, Snarleyyow, depends largely for its interest on the element of diablerie, which is very skilfully manipulated. Here, however, the supernatural appearances are never explained away, and the ghostly agencies are introduced in the spirit of serious, if somewhat melodramatic, romance. Marryat's personal experience enabled him, with little research, to produce a life-like picture of old Dutch seamanship, and his powers in racy narrative have transformed the Vanderdecken legend into a stirring tale of terror. The plot cannot be called original, but it is more carefully worked out and, from the nature of the material at hand, more effective than most of Marryat's own. He has put life into it, moreover, by the creation of some genuine characters, designed for nobler ends than to move the machinery.