In "Gentleman Captain," J. D. Davies' first novel, King Charles II of England appoints young nobleman Matthew Quinton to command His Majesty's Ship "Jupiter" on a show-the-flag mission to Scotland. Unfortunately Quinton knows little about sailing, has sunk a previous ship, and really had his heart set on a commission in the Horse Guards instead. The Scottish mission is frought with complications, and treachery ensues.
Davies is a historian of the 17th-century British navy, and it was interesting to read how this earlier navy differed from its more professional successor. It's a different world from the later setting that you find in a lot of nautical fiction, and Davies brings the seamanship and politics to life in an entertaining fashion.
There isn't as much straight-up action in the book as I expected. There is a storm at the beginning, and a battle at the end, but beyond that, the story is more about Quinton's relationships with his crew and the political complications of his mission. The novel is intended as the first of a series, and it will be interesting to watch Quinton develop as a naval captain in future books.