Reverse of the Medal is the 11th book in Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey & Maturin series, and having got this far it’s safe to say it’s one I’ve enjoyed. In fact, that would be rather understating it – at this point I have lost any objectivity I may have once had, and am a fully-fledged fangirl (especially when it comes to Maturin). Reverse of the Medal hasn’t knocked that status at all, and in fact gave me a little more than I’d have expected to stress over, with a turn of events I would never have predicted.
Starting the book still Captain of the Surprise, though he and his crew are seeing her through the last leg of her journey to retirement, Jack spends the first half of the book in his element on his beloved ship, and anxious about his return home having left his financial and legal affairs in a mess and having had a previously unknown of bastard of his turn up on his wife Sophie’s doorstep. Stephen, however, is anxious to find out how things stand between he and his wife, Diana, after news of his association with an attractive woman (all in the pursuit of an intelligence operation) has reached her ears. But setting foot on shore brings far, far worse problems than that, as Lucky Jack Aubrey isn’t anywhere near so lucky on land, and soon finds himself unwittingly caught up in a conspiracy that could see him booted from the service, while Stephen is finding that conspiracies also abound in his intelligence network.
I was so bound up in Reverse of the Medal that I virtually devoured it in one, and with Jack being literally out of his element for the second half of the book I was more far more worried for the outcome than I would ever have been with a tremendous sea battle. Ending on a bit of a cliffhanger, I’m sure I’ll be reading the next book pretty soon, as I’m desperate to find out how the book’s climax affects…well, everything.