With no more sublime stories forthcoming from Patrick O’Brian, something simply had to be done!
Hence the barky has been brought out of literary dry dock, at long last, to serve once again our voracious appetites for more of Maturin’s ilk!
Sadly, Stephen Maturin is not aboard and neither is Jack; however, aficionados of Aubrey will find a familiar treasure trove of joy when reading the tales of a new crew come aboard: Captain Patrick O’Connor and Doctor Simon Ferguson are joined by a third stalwart at the cabin table: Lieutenant Duncan Macleod.
Additionally there is verse from the ship’s poet, Lt. James Mower, and witty humour from Lt. Tom Pickering.
It is 1823 and this later HMS SURPRISE (38 guns), a Leda class frigate, is a covert instrument of the Admiralty, sent to serve the emerging Greek revolutionary government in their fight for freedom from their Ottoman overlords.
The (mostly) actual historical events within each book closely follow those within its predecessor, but all may be read as standalone stories.
Our voyage begins with O’Connor, Ferguson and Macleod returning from half-pay with huge enthusiasm as they contemplate a return to sea after a long layoff, Bonaparte’s France long being defeated. As the series progresses, the rising tide of losses and the ghastly experiences they encounter together bring a grim re-evaluation of perspectives to them all as the realities of a particularly bloody war brutally strike home.
Give you joy, dear reader! Welcome aboard! Quickly now, there is not a moment to be lost!