The Mauritius Command, Patrick O'Brian. HarperCollins Publishers, London, 1977.
I have been reading the Patrick O'Brian novels in order. I think this is the fourth one in a series of about 20. I didn't like this one as much as some of the other ones for two reasons. The first reason is that, like Master & Commander (the first book in the series) it is basically just one naval engagement after another, which I find somewhat boring and more than a little hard to follow. This book does have a plot, and the naval battles are pretty central to it, but I find the important parts a little hard to dig out from all of the detailed jargon. I think maybe for the next one in the series I will make myself a cheat sheet of who the captain, lieutenants, and petty officers are of each ship.
The second reason why I didn't enjoy this one as much was because I kept feeling sorry for Jack. He still has no money, his marriage isn't quite living up to his expectations, he has to deal with difficult lieutenants, captains, and admirals, and he's hideously outnumbered by the French. I won't say how the campaign ends, in case you were planning to read this book, but I felt happy for Jack when the campaign was over so he could hopefully move on to something better.