It is still the War of 1812 and Jack Aubrey - with his tetchy, sardonic friend Stephen Maturin - has set course across the South Atlantic to intercept a powerful American frigate outward bound to play havoc with the British whaling trade. If they do not come up with her before she rounds the Horn, they must follow her into the Great South Sea and as far across the Pacific as she may lead them.
But Aubrey has to cope with a succession of disasters - men overboard, castaways, encounters with savages, storms, typhoons, groundings, shipwrecks, to say nothing of murder and criminal insanity.
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