Patrick O'Brian Aubrey/Maturin moves through the series from primarily books about Captain Jack Aubrey to one primarily one about Dr. Stephen Maturin. And while it would be a simplification to say that it was also a shift from swash buckling and sea-fights to espionage and character studies (sea battles also being about espionage and deception and character studies), that too takes place. The Truelove (The Clarissa Oakes outside the U.S.) is well along the scale towards espionage and character studies. In many ways the whole series progresses as O'Brien matured as a writer and less mature readers would want to start with the first book in the series and progress through them slowly, reading perhaps one a year with this book coming in one's early thirties. As a reviewer wrote earlier, this is probably not a book for most high school readers. Having said that, it is one of the best books in the series, with the introduction of a one of the series most interesting characters, Clarissa Oakes, and the tying up of a couple of earlier, unfinished stories. Now that I have finished the series, it also reminds me that O'Brian never finished the series, with certain isolated eventss in the book (for those having read the book, for example, involving Puolani) that surely would have been connected with future books.
The question of naval terminology is a hard one. O'Brien could have, like Sir Walter Scott, put in footnotes explaining it (and perhaps some historical background as well, older readers may not be aware that many young people, for example, have no idea what the Napoleonic Wars were, much less the enclosure movement in England, important in a later volume), but that certainly would have broken up the flow of the books. I would very much like to see a volume put out giving a chapter by chapter book by book glossary of naval terminology and historical background published.
So, while this is probably not the best book to introduce the young, male high school reader to the series; it might very well be the best introduction for the, perhaps stereotypically, older and perhaps female reader.