Woodman is not a romantic writer. For him life is as the sea: unforgiving, treacherous, beautiful, deadly, and unconquerable. Woodman's novels are characterized by central figures who never rise to heroic status. They are average men, fallen men, flawed men who don't always have all the answers and sometimes act in questionable ways. His main characters are tough ships embarked on "Darkening Seas" but their journey is by no means assured. People die. People die without all the loose ends being tied up. Life is messy, relationships are messy, careers hinge on the petty attitudes of superiors who have an ax to grind.
For all that, Woodman is still probably one of the best historical writers around. If you want a taste of how an average Brit Naval officer experienced and understood a world at war then this book will transport you in time in a marvelous manner. If you are looking for a nice, cozy little story where the good guys win and nobody you like gets hurt - this ain't for you.
I have read all the Drinkwater novels and this is my first Woodman story outside that line. I find that the basic theme is the same and consistent with the above. Good book - well worth reading - just don't expect a bunch of warm and fuzzies.