"Post Captain" by Patrick O'Brian
"Post Captain" was first published in 1972. It is the second novel in Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin series. It is also the sequel to "Master and Commander," which was made into a movie.
I read "Master and Commander" about a year back, and thought it was an excellent book. I liked it even more than the movie. Patrick O'Brian had a definite command of his subject, and of the time period in which the Aubrey/Maturin novels are set. Reading his books, one would have thought that he was writing in the 1800s, rather than in an age of satellites, telecommunications, and supersonic aircraft.
Compared to "Master and Commander," "Post Captain" is more of a mixed bag. There are some great chapters in this book, and the naval action never fails to impress. Jack Aubrey presides in all his militaristic, womanizing splendor, and Stephen Maturin is the kind of right hand man we all wish we had. Maturin is, in this novel, a much more complex character than in their first outing, and this is at least one area in which "Post Captain" surpasses its predecessor.
Nevertheless, this book has some boring patches, and the Jane Austenesque beginning to this novel doesn't quite convince. This book has too much backstory for its own good, and the plot is about as unseaworthy as Aubrey's ship, the Polychrest.
If you were dazzled by "Master and Commander," you will certainly find a lot within "Post Captain" to like. If, however, you are looking for less labored accounts of nautical drama, then you might pass this one over. Patrick O'Brian was a superb writer, and I'm certain other installments in the Aubrey/Maturin series are better.