Most helpful critical review
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Subtle and evocative with some nice comedic touches - but...
on 11 June 2010
In this third of the Aubrey-Maturin series we see more of Stephen and his life as a spy, as well as another chapter in his ongoing relationship with the rather wonderful Diana Villiers.
I have to say that this is the third of the series that I have read and I suspect that it just doesn't work for me. I agree with O'Brien fans that the writing is subtle and evocative with some nice comedic touches but I just find the whole package a bit lack-lustre.
In this book, for example, we have another of those episodic plots where Stephen is captured as an enemy spy and tortured but the majority of it happens off-stage, as it were, with only the rescue occupying a few pages. Similarly, Jack's arrest and imprisonment for debt is all over and done with also off-stage.
I wonder if O'Brien books appeal primarily to a male readership? I've never read the other series most often mentioned in comparison (Forrester, Simon Scarrow, Bernard Cornwell et al.) none of which appeal so perhaps I just have to accept that the delights of O'Brien as attested to by his myriad fans are just wasted on me.