The book was published in 1890, so it exhibits the plodding style of the day, and it is, after all, a historical text, not a novel. Don't expect dashing heroes, although many of the captains and admirals were both enterprising and daring. What it does present is an account of naval warfare in the Mediterranean in an age where locomotion was provided by men (often slaves) at oars, cannons were primitive, and combat was hand-to-hand. The pirates of north Africa terrorized commercial shipping along the Spanish, French, Italian, and Greek coasts, raiding coastal towns, carrying off men for slaves, treasure, and women for concubines. The Christian ships reciprocated, of course, and life was pretty exciting. The rise of the Ottoman empire, with huge navies, also wanted in on the plunder, and the triumvirate of Turks, Christians, and corsairs battled constantly. The huge battle of Lepanto was one of the last of the great conflicts of oared navies.
The onset of sailing ships did nothing to stem the corsairs, and European conflicts led one power after another to combine with the pirates to harass their enemies. Finally, first the Americans, then the English, and finally the French to subdue the north Africa satrapies and end the age of the corsairs.
If history interests you, the book is informative on a period in time most Americans Don't know much about.