Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin tales are widely acknowledged to be the greatest series of historical novels ever written. To commemorate the 40th anniversary of their beginning, with Master and Commander, these evocative stories are being re-issued in paperback with smart new livery. This is the sixteenth book in the series.At the opening of a voyage filled with disaster and delight, Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin are in pursuit of a privateer sailing under American colours through the Great South Sea. Stephen's objective is to set the revolutionary tinder of South America ablaze to relieve the pressure on the British government which has blundered into war with the young and uncomfortably vigorous United States. The shock and barbarity of hand-to-hand fighting are sharpened by O'Brian's exact sense of period, his eye for landscape and his feel for a ship under sail.