Not even Simon Vance could liven this one up. It's not that it wasn't interesting subject matter, but it's mainly a book of measures, both disciplinary and quantity-wise. How many years, how many lashes, how much salt pork, how much space in the holds, etc. The panorama of characters should have made for a more colorful and exciting read but it was mostly just sad. Can't exactly put my finger on what made this book so dull, but it was. Good research, graceful writing but taken as a whole, I would only recommend it to someone who was crazy for historical minutua.