Top positive review
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A good continuation of the series, but not O'Brian's best
on 19 December 2000
The book's heroes, Aubrey & Maturin, are a little jaded in this Mediterranean episode of the Napoleonic naval wars, and so is the plot. Two or three times we are promised action, but it comes to nothing. I never became as engaged as in previous episodes. The final action, when it comes, is exciting, but cursory and unsatisfying. The interplay between the main characters had a feeling of going through the motions. Nevertheless, even when O'Brian is not at his best, he still produces an enjoyable, well written and thoroughly believable novel that is a pleasure to read.