Jack Aubrey was disgraced in The Reverse of the Medal. He is now a civilian privateer, bitter at having been framed. Two extraordinary actions do much to recommend him to the general public and make him wealthy, and by the end of this book, it seems certain that he will soon be restored to the Navy List. Stephen Maturin’s own fortunes improve as he effects a reconciliation with his wife.
The Letter of Marque is the twelfth novel in the Aubrey-Maturin series. O’Brian once again writes a convincing seafaring Jane Austen novel. The naval lingo is dense and impenetrable, but no matter: it adds texture and color. The naval engagements are exciting, the voyages, richly described. Jack Aubrey, heartstruck, is at his lowest ebb. Stephen Maturin is much concerned for his friend. The humor is subtle, coming to the fore when each man is out of his element, Jack on land, Stephen at sea.