SPOILERS for H.M.S. Surprise; here’s the non-spoiler post if you got here by mistake.
I said that Post Captain was a book where Jack gets put through the wringer; H.M.S. Surprise is a book where Stephen perhaps literally gets put through the wringer. (O’Brian’s glossing of details was a sound decision.) First captivity, then Dil, then Canning (and another movie incident with the self-surgery), then Diana . . . (Speaking of glossing, I feel like I’m supposed to know where the “ancient small iron ring” came from, but I can’t bring it to mind now. If we’ve seen it before, it would have been nice to be reminded of that.)
At sea, there was the tense rounding of the Cape (I was surprised that they went first to Brazil to get to India, but it appears that this is a matter of prevailing winds), and the driving-off of Linois’s squadron from the East India Company’s convoy. And Sophie joining them off Madeira.
It’s hard for me to know what to think of Diana. I can’t like anyone who treats Stephen so, and yet I have some sympathy for her situation, which O’Brian paints clearly. I can’t imagine Diana happy, actually, absent a genderswitch or time travel.