"The mist darkened and edged aside as the anchored ship loomed into view. the boat was approaching her starboard bow and past the long tapering jib-boom. Like Bolitho's new uniform on the wey jetty, the Destiny seemed to shine through the drifting muck. From her lithe and buff hull to her three mastheads she was a thoroughbred. All her shrouds and standing rigging were freshly blacked down, her yards crossed, and each sail neatly furled to match its neighbour."p12
Richard Bolitho is now an officer, newly promoted to third lieutenant. His jump from midshipman's berth to wardroom is a significant one and he's been assigned to a new ship, Destiny. The crew has been tasked with a secret mission in the Caribbean involving revolutionaries. Britain is currently at peace but there are stirrings in the American colonies. Along the way Bolitho runs into pirates, storms and illness. He also must decide where his loyalities lie as his captain makes it clear that his command comes first, before king and country.
This story is chock full of action. We not only flashback to where Bolitho meets his trusty coxswain Stockdale, we also get great battles on land and sea. Bolitho gets romantically involved and comes close to death. The variety within the plot keeps things interesting.
I really liked the dynamics among the crew. Captain Dumaresq was just the right amount of crazy to frustrate both the reader and Bolitho. This story also showed how Bolitho handled his new responsibilities. He's not just one of the crew anymore and has trouble adjusting as an 18 year old trying to tell men three times his age what to do.
It's been my experience that romance in books or movies about war tend to ruin the plot. It's no different here. The romantic subplot was unnecessary and detracted from the story. Overall though, I really enjoyed this book and am looking forward to reading the next in the series.
Follow Richard in his next naval adventure in Sloop of War.