Patrick O'Brian's intrepid Captain Aubrey and his sidekick Dr. Stephen Maturin sail to the Pacific (the far side of the Earth) in pursuit of a dastardly American Frigate which is terrorising English whalers. Like all of O'Brian's Aubrey Maturin novels this is a great read and simply oozes with terrific historical detail of life in the British Navy during Napoleonic times.
I read a bunch of these type of books during my teens and this has enamoured me of the period all over again.
I do have one gripe about this particular book though:
[Big Spoiler ahead, Highlight to read]
The whole book sets the reader up for an epic naval battle between Aubrey and the the American frigate but the longed for battle never actually happens. In fact not a single canon ball is fired in anger in the whole book!.