For all that, I was glad for the sea-scenes of this book, where Aubrey is comfortable and at home and everything makes sense, in its jargon-laden way.
There are scenes in the story which are amazingly vivid in my mind, like Stephen Maturin being fed by his very young and scolding native guide, who clearly thinks he needs a keeper. She is nine or ten, and she is right: he does. I'm at the stage in the series where I don't want to discuss details much in my review for fear of spoilers. (Spoilers will probably be in the comments, when I talk to alltoseek about the book.) I felt rather sorry for Dr. Maturin in most of this book, while at the same time keenly aware that he had brought the worst of his troubles on himself. I think my stock of pity for him is about exhausted, though. If he's going to insist on making himself miserable, that's his own problem. I'm rating the book overall an 8 of 10.
I think I am going to take a break from the Aubreyad and read something else from my stack o' library books, which has six non-Aubreyad books in it that I really ought to read or return. And while I do want to read more Aubrey/Maturin stories, I've read enough of those two that I will not be annoyed at other books for not being about them.