Another wonderful sea-tale set in the Napoleonic Wars in Patrick O'Brian's incomparable series. This one follows the fortunes of Captain Jack Aubrey's career in the Royal Navy as he attempts to hold his ground against admirals, colleagues and the enemy, accepting a commission to convey a British ambassador to the East Indies. The voyage takes him and his friend Stephen Maturin to the strange sights and smells of the Indian sub-continent, and through the archipelago of spice islands where the French have a near-overwhelming local superiority. PB. 362pp.