But there was absolutely no need. The characters are as vital, the dialogue as convincing, and the battles as authentic as ever. This is a series that does not flag.
As it happens, I have just finished my fourth reading of this novel. Why? Because I find the characters quite addictive. They are so real that I want to reacquaint myself with them.
This is particularly the case with the lower deck tars -- the ordinary seamen, the topmen, the boatswain's mates, and the unqualified who work in the dank depths of the ship, the holders. The afterguard -- the officers and their servants -- are compelling, too, but theirs are the stories that have been told so often by C.S. Forester and his many followers, and so they seem familiar. The descriptions of life on the lower deck, by contrast, are fascinatingly new.
A highly recommended addition to a terrific series. I am now embarking on the twelfth, Sea Trials, but without nearly the same trepidation. Watch this space.