One of the darker books in Woodman’s Nat Drinkwater set, but very well done.
Drinkwater, afflicted with a justifiably mutinous crew (the key members have not been ashore in a friendly port for four years), finds himself assigned to prevent the Russians from settling on the Pacific Coast of North America. Many of the crew desert at San Francisco or Drakes Bay, and nearly everyone spends some time imprisoned in either Spanish or Russian custody. Eventually Mr. Q manages to rescue Drinkwater and the situation improves.
And that synopsis leaves out all the diplomatic complications, which are considerable. As usual, Drinkwater mostly muddles through, with an occasional creative flash.
This review was originally published on LibraryThing.