My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I almost skipped this first story and would have started on Post Captain, which is the second of these acclaimed stories of the Royal Navy during the time of Nelson etc. However, I was informed that the movie of the same name is nothing like the first Patrick O'Brien novel of the same name. All the characters are there, but I think the movie is more like another Aubrey–Maturin story called the Far Side of the World. The movie was most enjoyable, so I'm not trying to knock it. I just thought I might already know the story.
Alas, I did not. The whole Aubrey–Maturin saga starts off splendidly in the Mediterranean. Our two heroes are on the island of Majorca. This is where they first meet at a concert hosted by musicians and wives of the British gentry. I was absolutely enthralled by the dialogue of these many seamen and the author presents the times wonderfully well. The characters are splendid and the action sequences are gripping. I would highly recommend this novel. Especially if you enjoy historical fiction of a nautical flavour. I will eventually read other stories of the Aubrey–Maturin series. I am now a fan.