Much of the novel's plot concerns intelligence and counter-intelligence, the field in which Aubrey's friend Stephen Maturin excels, and there is action and excitement aplenty, but it is the atmosphere of Malta that is so freshly and vividly conveyed here, crowded with senior officers waiting for news of the French and wondering whether the war will end before they get their turn for prize money and fame.
© Patrick O'Brian; (P)1998 HarperCollins UK
"Aubrey and Maturin are men to believe in as they come to terms with their comfortable flaws against an exceedingly accurate Maltese backdrop in this, the ninth Aubrey novel. "(The Times)
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