In this eighth novel, Commander Lewrie, in his sloop-of-war Jester, is attached to a British squadron tasked to the Adriatic to cooperate with incompetent Austrian and uncooperative Venetian allies. In desperation the British are driven to attempt to enlist the assistance of Serbian pirates to harass French trade in naval stores. A quirk of this novel is that Lewrie spends a lot of time on shore or in negotiations, rather than in his usual settings of boudoir or battle. While offered opportunities to play his usual "ram-cat," Lewrie now acts like an "old maid." Maybe it's understandable why this particular volume fell out of print.
On the other hand, an attactive new plot device here is that the Great Enemy, Napoleon, is seen closeup with his admiring staff, plotting the ever-surprising tactics of his rapid conquest, er "liberation," of Italy, in occasional chapters counterpoised to slow Allied expectations or Commander Lewrie all at sea. Also, in one surprising chapter we have no idea what's going on-has the author gone mad?-until the ruse is explained in the next chapter. While the infamous Alan Lewrie contends with the expectable obstructive superior, here this stock character becomes much more understanding and empathetic than usual, to Lewrie's discomfiture. Travel quotations from an ancient Roman author are vaguely relevant. A map of the Adriatic would help visual the movements.