I read this book about 29-Dec-2003. This is the first time I've read this book. The book is copyright 1984. This note was last modified Tuesday, 30-Dec-2003 21:21:06 PST.
This note contains spoilers for the book.
14th in the Lord Ramage novels.
This one was really compelling. While escorting a convoy home, they encounter an English frigate with a mad captain, who fires a broadside at them. And then prefers charges against Ramage as soon as they reach England. The people running the court martial are using every trick they can to hang Ramage. In the end he's saved by the sister of Sidney Yorke (from the Post Office packet adventure) going to London and stumbling onto a witness willing to testify against the mad captain, and invoking influence to make the court martial board listen.
Ramage is having a bad few weeks; he's also learned that the ship his brand-new wife is on is overdue and nearly presumed sunk or captured.
In fact, from the point of view of plot, the book makes little sense. The saving throw is entirely luck, and not to be anticipated. It helps that the mad captain is mad enough to testify on the stand that he'd murdered his surgeon, too.