O'BRIAN, Patrick The Surgeon's Mate. London: William Collins Sons & Co., 1980.
8vo., original dark red cloth, lettered in gilt to spine; with original unclipped pictorial dust jacket showing a painting of H.M. sloop 'Sparrowhawk' by W. Smyth; pp. [ii], 314, [vi]; small scratch to upper cover of cloth, else fine in near-fine jacket which retains the £5.95 price, some light creases and spine a touch sunned, as is common.
First edition. The seventh, but also one of the scarcest titles in the Jack Aubrey series, with a triple entendre in the title, referring to a) ship's surgeon's mate, b) Maturin's successful espionage efforts (checkmate) and c) Diana Villiers becoming Stephen's wife, the surgeon's mate. A cloak-and-dagger work, set in the Baltic with the usual naval shenanigans.