The time is the early 1800s, and the British Navy stands as the only bulwark against the militant fanaticism of Napoleonic France. Captain Jack Aubrey, R.N., a brilliant and experienced officer, has been struck off the list of post-captains for a crime he did not commit. His old friend Stephen Maturin, usually cast as a ship's surgeon to mask his discreet activities on behalf of British intelligence, has bought for Aubrey his former ship the Surprise to command as a privateer, more politely termed a letter of marque. Together they sail on a desperate mission against the French which, if successful, may redeem Aubrey from the private hell of his disgrace.Aubrey, the lion in action, leads a solo night attack on a French port; a jewel of great value is returned to its owner; Dr. Maturin's fondness for tincture of opium takes a more serious turn, and he is at last reunited with his estranged wife, the coldly fascinating Diana Villiers. From such seemingly familiar materials Patrick O' Brian fashions a narrative that is both original and profoundly exciting. This is the twelfth in O'Brian's 20-volume Aubrey/Maturin series.More
"The best historical novels ever written." (The New York Times Book Review)
"No writer alive can move one as O'Brian can; no one can make you laugh so loud with hilarity, whiten your knuckles with unbearable tension or choke with emotion. He is the master." (Irish Times)
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