A few pages into this novel, I felt like I struck gold with this tale of high adventure in the South Seas. Captain Delancey has married his sweetheart Fiona, and been posted on a frigate for a dangerous mission to the East Indies. Parkinson writes with an ease and skill that delivers the content whole. He’s like a great chef who whips up delicacies in the kitchen but doesn’t intrude on the guests. He relies heavily on dialog, which carries entire scenes.
Delancey intrigues in China to plant disinformation so that the French will attack his ship. He’s entrusted with a mission against a privateer. He’s also on the trail of his ne’er-do-well brother Michael. He proves himself a master strategist in several actions against Napoleon’s forces. He feels exiled from home and his beloved. While his ship is being repaired, he goes on land as an intelligence agent and seeks his nemesis, the elusive Fabius, who interrogated and tortured British POWs. This is a harder Delancey, too long away from civilization. He sails into the Seychelles under false colors and uses psychology to pry open the hiding place of mutineers.
The geography covers a wide territory, but maps are included. The character development is best appreciated by familiarity with the other books in the series.