“This one is mainly of interest for O’Brian fans (like me). I wouldn’t recommend it to someone new to this series about British Naval activities in the Napoleanic Wars. This is because most of the novel’s action takes place on land. There is an exciting chase of Jack’s frigate in pursuit a privateer in the first part of the book, but we are deprived of a chance to see his special friend and ship’s surgeon, Stephen Maturin, engage in his naturist avocation in exotic locales. Those who have already come to love Lucky Jack for his heart and courage in battle will be moved by the jeopardy he stands up to in the court case in this story. Stephen is really in his element dealing with the political intrigue that lies behind this case.
The rich and vibrant friendship between Jack and Stephen is the true heart of the series, and it brings me much elation and tender feelings over their mutual welfare. O’Brian’s portrait of the special society and teamwork aboard a ship of the Royal Navy is effectively the soul the collective work. On top of this bounty, the tales thrill me with exciting battles and educate me a lot on the history of competition between the colonial giants of Europe. It is no exaggeration to say that the capabilities of British Navy to project power throughout the world’s oceans was the most important key to the success of this island nation in building an empire. I envy anyone who is just now setting out to read from this body of work. A reason this particular book was special to me is that it completes my thirty year tour of the complete set of 20 novels. ”
Someday I would like to finish the Aubrey/Maturin series. I finished novel #7 and would like to complete the series. Great reads!