Don't read this book. If I could, I would give it zero stars. O'Brian's series of Aubrey/Maturin novels are among the greatest works of historical fiction ever written, but the series should have ended with the previous volume, a gem, #18, "The Yellow Admiral," which nicely ties up a number of plot threads, leaving us to imagine a happy future for our favorite characters. "The Hundred Days" is both unnecesssary and bad. I am not the only Aubrey fan I know who was left wondering whether O'Brian was in fact the author -- it reads like someone trying to imitate O'Brian's style, and failing badly. Abandoning his beloved slow match in favor of the flint lock is just one of several things that Jack does that are completely out of character. In the subsequent and final volume, #20, "Blue at the Mizzen," little better than this one, O'Brian attempts to backtrack and have Aubrey compensate for the most glaring one of these lapses, but it's too little and too late.