At this point, reading the Aubrey/Maturin series has become more pleasurable than slipping into a hot bath on a cold night, although the predicaments they've lately found themselves facing are much less pleasant.
Having survived the disasters of Desolation Island, the long-presumed dead crew of the Leopard have limped into safe harbour and are now bound for home (and a better ship). But they've got to get there first - something that won't be happening for a while if the events of this book are anything to go by. First, the ship that's sailing them to their new command burns to cinders leaving the men to take to the cutters in the hopes of rescue...rescue which is a long time coming and, when it finally appears, takes the form of an American ship.
Which is unfortunate, as war has been declared between the United Kingdom and the States, and some of Maturin's previous activities are making life extremely difficult for my favourite BFFF's who are now suspected of being spies. Nor is the war going so well for the entire Royal Navy, who are getting their teeth repeatedly kicked in by a foe they'd assumed they could easily vanquish.
Not that that's going to keep my boys down for long...
Filled with intrigue, intelligence, astonishing sea battles and hints of the changes to come to seafaring - the men are already muttering darkly and wholeheartedly dissaproving of rumoured steam-powered boats - this entry was as perfect as all those that have preceded it. I can hardly wait for my next trip to sea with them.