Finally, Captain Aubrey is coming home to Shelmerston and Ashgrove; and Dr Maturin to the same, and to the Liberties of the Savoy; after a long, 4-book voyage (13 gun salute; Nutmeg; Clarissa Oakes; Wine-dark sea). On land, as usual, there has been many a change, and many a worry ensues; but also some bright new things. But oh, the worries on dry land... and not just the dread Mrs Williams, but Mrs Aubrey and Mrs Maturin (well, Ms Villiers at least) as well.
After half the book, we set sail again, and Captain Aubrey leads a squadron to West Africa - this time in admirals' uniform. He is 'only' a Commodore, but with Killick we delight in this new rank.
If you are new to the series, don't begin with this book; start with 'Master and Commander', and you'll have a wonderful experience of a sea of books to look forward to.
The joy of O'Brian's writing - his style, the choice of words, his constructions, so familiar, and giving pleasure time and again. These books are very re-readable, too; O'Brian can make me feel pleasure, and pain; when I am sad, he can make me laugh out loud, and you can't say better than that. I believe I am on my seventh read-through, and I hope many more will follow. I think the pleasure might increase in re-reading!
The interaction Jack/Stephen reaches new sensitivities. Stephen hears Jack playing his Guarnieri in the summerhouse at Ashgrove, and realizes Jack has been holding back in their duets - his playing now is masterful, and infinitely sad. Stephen's interactions with his daughter are an absolute delight. And to the connaisseur, Killick saying "no-one can call me nosy..." is almost worth the price of the book by itself.
A delight, an absolute delight.