I heartily agree with the previous reviewer - it is a terrible shame that this writer is not better known!
Although, in my opinion, Patrick O'Brien is unmatched in his masterly evocation of the Napoleonic era, there is nothing anachronistic, that I can detect, in David Donachie's writing. It is also certainly true that Mr. Donachie shows a greater grasp of pace and narrative than is displayed in the early Aubrey/Maturin novels.
Considered as naval fiction, this was thoroughly enjoyable; however, I found the detective mystery component something of a disappointment. Half of the answer was blatently signposted, but went unnoticed by the main protagonist -though, to be fair, he was under great stress at the time! - whilst the other part was unpredictable due to the underdrawn nature of the minor characters. I would have liked to have seen here more characterisation of the other officers, and the only 'lower rank' with any noticeable personality is the servant, 'Pious' Pendle. It is obvious from the start which 'middie' is going to matter, forexample. This may seem a minor quibble, but is particularly a flaw in a murder mystery. Making the comparison with O'Brien again, this compares unfavourably with the verbal vignettes the latter draws of every character he introduces; no one there is evidently 'more important' than another.
Despite my slight criticisms, I am definitely going to seek out the further adventures of Harry Ludlow!