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"Fine stuff...[The Letter of Marque] leaves the devotee of naval fiction eager for sequels." —Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post Book World
Captain Jack Aubrey, a brilliant and experienced officer, has been struck off the list of post-captains for a crime he did not commit. His old friend Stephen Maturin, usually cast as a ship’s surgeon to mask his discreet activities on behalf of British Intelligence, has bought for Aubrey his former ship the Surprise
to command as a privateer, more politely termed a letter of marque. Together they sail on a desperate mission against the French, which, if successful, may redeem Aubrey from the private hell of his disgrace. A nighttime battle with an unusual climax, a jewel of great value, and Maturin’s fondness for opium make this segment of Patrick O’Brian’s masterful series both original and profoundly exciting.