‘Full of the energy that comes from a writer having struck a vein … Patrick O'Brian is unquestionably the Homer of the Napoleonic wars.' James Hamilton-Paterson
'You are in for the treat of your lives. Thank God for Patrick O'Brian: his genius illuminates the literature of the English language, and lightens the lives of those who read him.' Kevin Myers, Irish Times
'In a highly competitive field it goes straight to the top. A real first-rater.' Mary Renault
'I never enjoyed a novel about the sea more. It is not only that the author describes the handling of a ship of 1800 with an accuracy that is as comprehensible as it is detailed, a remarkable feat in itself. Mr O'Brian's three chief characters are drawn with no less depth of sympathy than the vessels he describes, a rare achievement save in the greatest writers of this genre. It deserves the widest readership.' Irish Times
"An overwhelming, outstanding novel...!"—Irish Times
Captain Jack Aubrey, R. N., ashore after a successful cruise, is persuaded by a casual acquaintance to make certain investments in the City. This innocent decision ensnares him in the London criminal underground and in government espionage—the province of his friend Stephen Maturin. Is Aubrey's humiliation and the threatened ruin of his career a deliberate plot? This dark tale is a fitting backdrop to the brilliant characterization and sparkling dialogue which O'Brian's readers have come to expect.