The Adventures of Roderick Random is a picaresque novel by Tobias Smollett first published in 1748. It is partially based on Smollett's experience as a naval-surgeon’s mate in the British Navy, especially during Battle of Cartagena de Indias in 1741. In ‘Preface’, Smollett acknowledges the connections of his novel to the two satirical picaresque works he translated into English: Cervantes’ Don Quixote (1605-15) and Alain-René Lesage’s Gil Blas (1715-47)
Roderick ends up finding his maternal uncle, Tom Bowling, a sailor who attempts to support Roderick as best as he can between voyages.
Roderick's companion through most of the story is Hugh Strap, a simple-hearted barber's apprentice and former schoolmate of Roderick's. The two end up serving twice on British ships, once on a privateer and once on a warship. Roderick spends much of the novel trying to marry a wealthy woman so that he can live comfortably, and to that end he poses as a nobleman several times, including once while he is in France.
Roderick's unattainable love interest is Narcissa, whose squire brother refuses to consent to a match and ends up holding Narcissa as a near-prisoner to keep her from marrying Random.