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1. 21: The Final Unfinished Voyage
2. The Wine-Dark Sea (Vol. Book 16)(Aubrey/Maturin
3. The Far Side of the World (Vol.
4. The Golden Ocean
5. Master and Commander (Movie Tie-In
6. Post Captain (Vol. Book 2)(Aubrey/Maturin
7. Patrick O'Brian's Navy: The Illustrated
8. The Mauritius Command (Vol. Book
9. H. M. S. Surprise (Vol. Book 3)(Aubrey/Maturin
10. A Sea of Words, Third Edition:
11. The Truelove (Aubrey / Maturin
12. Harbors and High Seas, 3rd Edition
13. The Fortune of War (Vol. Book
14. The Hundred Days (Vol. Book 19)(Aubrey/Maturin
15. The Complete Aubrey/Maturin Novels
16. The Ionian Mission (Vol. Book
17. Men-of-War: Life in Nelson's Navy
18. The Hundred Days: Aubrey-Maturin
19. Blue at the Mizzen (Vol. Book
20. Treason's Harbour

1. 21: The Final Unfinished Voyage of Jack Aubrey (Vol. Book 21)(Aubrey/Maturin Novels)
by Patrick O'Brian
Paperback: 140 Pages (2010-09-20)
list price: US$18.95 -- used & new: US$11.49
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0393339335
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
To the delight of millions of Patrick O'Brian fans, here is the final, partial installment of the Aubrey/Maturin series, for the first time in paperback.Blue at the Mizzen (novel #20) ended with Jack Aubrey getting the news, in Chile, of his elevation to flag rank: Rear Admiral of the Blue Squadron, with orders to sail to the South Africa station. The next novel, unfinished and untitled at the time of the author's death, would have been the chronicle of that mission, and much else besides. The three chapters left on O'Brian's desk are presented here both in printed version-including his corrections to the typescript-and a facsimile of his manuscript, which goes several pages beyond the end of the typescript to include a duel between Stephen Maturin and an impertinent officer who is courting his fiancée.

Of course we would rather have had the whole story; instead we have this proof that O'Brian's powers of observation, his humor, and his understanding of his characters were undiminished to the end. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (43)

3-0 out of 5 stars I wish Patrick Obrien had lived to be 130
I rated this only 3 stars simply because it was only a couple chapters long and those were rough drafts...Oh how I will miss the writtings of Patrick Obrien as well as the narrations made by Patrick Tull. Both men passed on way too soon

3-0 out of 5 stars 21- wish there was more, of course
Because each book in the series doesn't actually finish until the first few chapters of the next book, this does a fairly good job at closing off Blue at the Mizzen. I bought it just to get closure on the series. The book is thin, and the fact that there's also handwritten copy for each printed page, and many printed pages aren't all that full means it doesn't take long to read. There's maybe only 50 pages of actual story, but it's enough to close things off -- and make you wish he'd been able to write more.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Study In Opposites?
I introduced myself to the series in the late 80's via audio books read by Patrick Tull. In the late 90's/early 00's I read them through. Now another decade has passed and in April I began again with "Master and Commander." I just finished "Blue at the Mizzen" last week, for 20 books in 10 weeks, not bad.

I often visit the gunroom and read the postings. Over time I have sharpened my "O'Brian wits" and learned to read Chapter 1 very carefully for tips on what was to follow. I'd say that "21" was to be a study in contrasts or opposites.

1) In the Straits the Surprise is inundated with birds. In Buenos Aires the ship is inundated with...well, poop. Things are going to happen in bunches and not necessarily nice things.

2) Jack's daughters get seasick and are useless at sea. Stephen's daughter Brigid is quite at home on the sea. In each case it is the opposite of their father. Here's one bunch: two whole families, GIRLS, descend on the stage. (We've seen what happens with women aboard.)

3) The healer becomes a willing killer when Maturin fights a duel. What is going to become of Jack the seaman? Will he find high rank ultimately means a desk job? And what effect would such a duel have on the girls?

The story needs a lot of work. It is loose as it stands, not merely incomplete. For instance the Surprise and Ringle would take at least six weeks to get to England and another six weeks to get back. Does O'Brian mean to say the squadron stayed at Buenos Aires for 12 weeks taking on provisions, etc.? Dubious. And how could Capt Miller not know that Christine was "spoken for"? His gallantries are puzzling. And it looks like Jack performed great gun exercises while anchored in the roadstead. Dubious.

One thing I can say about the series as it is fresh in mind, the final three books were not up to the standard of the earlier novels. Is there any reason to think this (21) would have changed the trend? We can see him employing the tried-and-true techniques of foreshadowing, etc., but his sentences are not as well-crafted and he seems to be sort of skimming above his story, not getting into it as deeply as previously. For instance, remember the episode of the word "Seth"? Those few pages are very vivid. I think there should have been some sort of parting ceremony -- some dancing or music-making or paying-off, some closure to the people leaving the barky for home. O'Brian somehow lost some sensitivity to his characters.

Oh, well. We do have 20!

5-0 out of 5 stars O'Brian's Dog watch
Now why have you entitled this piece "O'Brian's Dog Watch", my dear?
Because, it is of the shortest book which is therefore cur-tailed! Curtailed!
Whereas, there's some toasted cheese and some coffee going cold after your duel - I don't know . . .

Well, those 3 lines should deter any newcomer to the Aubrey-Maturin series from this review.And so it should as this book is only for the diehard O'Brian fan who wants some kind of closure to his relationship with the author. The book gets 5 stars for that function alone.It is a memento for those suffering a little grief as the author gets sown into a sheet and dropped over the side.

There is little to say about the contents of this morsel.A couple of introductory chapters for continuity with "Blue at the Mizzen" and brief episodes and ceremonies.Most of this is typed and there is an accompanying manuscript.

So, we some to the end of a series of books that are like a long ocean voyage. The characters of Aubrey and Maturin are interesting foils for each other.Also, the polymath Maturin serves may function - surgeon, spy, companion and, not least, as the perennially unseamanlike lubber to whom Aubrey and the author could direct repeated explanations of matters related to the sea and sailing.

So, now we are at the end of our voyage and must disembark. It seems unlikely that anyone will presume to step in and continue the series.

3-0 out of 5 stars Rushed to print
This shows signs of being rushed to print, including obvious typos in the printed text.Conceivably, these were O'Brian's typos in his typescript and the publisher diligently reproduced them, but that seems unlikely at best.It's also disappointing that the publisher couldn't find someone to transcribe the final pages of the handwritten draft reproduced here; presumably time and money were issues. ... Read more

2. The Wine-Dark Sea (Vol. Book 16)(Aubrey/Maturin Novels)
by Patrick O'Brian
Paperback: 352 Pages (1994-10-17)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$4.34
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0393312445
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
At the outset of this adventure filled with disaster and delight, Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin pursue an American privateer through the great South Sea. Their ship, the Surprise, is now also a privateer, the better to escape diplomatic complications from Stephen's mission, which is to ignite the revolutionary tinder of South America.Amazon.com Review
In this installment of O'Brian's maritime epic, Captain Aubreyand the crew of the Surprise are pursuing an American privateerthrough the Great South Sea. As is his custom, O'Brian grabs yourattention with the first, beautifully memorable sentence: "A purple ocean,vast under the sky and devoid of all visible life apart from twominute ships racing across its immensity." And he doesn't relinquishit until 260 pages later, by which point Jack Aubrey is delighted atthe mere fact of being alive. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (19)

5-0 out of 5 stars Gz20090709
Patrick O'Brian continues to impress with his ability. It is unfortunate that he passed away before completing the Aubrey story.

5-0 out of 5 stars stirring adventure, strong characters, and gentle good humor
One of the best of the series, and its combination of stirring adventure, strong characters, and gentle good humor leaves me a bit ahoo that only one more remains in the series.

Seventeenth in the series:The Commodore (O'Brian, Patrick, Aubrey/Maturin Novels, 17.)

4-0 out of 5 stars Epic series keeps going strong
From the opening chapter of "The Wine-Dark Sea," the 16th book in Patrick O'Brian's hallowed Master & Commander series, the reader knows that something special is going on.Aubrey and Maturin sail their privateer, the Surprise, into waters made lethal by an erupting volcano that has just emerged from the sea, spewing lava and death.No other writer could so effortlessly blend natural beauty and naval drama (for an enemy American ship is close by).

"WDS" is a rollicking novel, even if it is one of the shorter books in the series.There is plenty of naval action, both as the Surprise matches broadsides with enemy ships as well as fighting through the icebergs of Cape Horn.Maturin is also charged with a daring political mission as he attempts to finance a coup in Peru - an enterprise that sends him fleeing over the Andes and minus a few toes.

And then there are the characters.And what characters!O'Brian seems to work overtime to get almost every beloved minor character shoe-horned into this book, and nobody minds.

This is definitely a book that should be read in its proper order - you will miss too much back story if you dive in right here, although if you do you will surely love the action and gorgeous travel-writing O'Brian brings to bear.

Grab Master & Commander and start sailing!

4-0 out of 5 stars very impressed
Very impressed with this book. I really enjoyed when they went to Peru. This is my 3rd of his books and really enjoyed this.

5-0 out of 5 stars Don't Read This Book. . .
. . .without first reading Truelove. Wine Dark Sea is the 16th
book in the Aubrey/Marturin series and as usual, the writing
is as rhythmic and sensual as the sea itself. O'Brian does his
usual great job of spiking the plot with layers of meaning and
twists and turns. He is also at his best in emphasizing the
'novel' part of his historical-novel niche.

If this is your first experience of the series though, you might
find the characters and motivations a bit hard to follow, especially
since so much groundwork was laid in Truelove. Some diehard
fans may be disappointed by transport of so much of the action
from the sea to the mountains.
Still any O'Brian is better than no O'Brian at all and this is one of
the bestbooks in the series.

--Lynn Hoffman, author of New Short Course in Wine,Theand
bang BANG: A Novel ISBN 9781601640005 ... Read more

3. The Far Side of the World (Vol. Book 10)(Aubrey/Maturin Novels)
by Patrick O'Brian
Hardcover: 368 Pages (1994-11-17)
list price: US$24.00 -- used & new: US$9.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 039303710X
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
The inspiration for the major new motion picture starring Russell Crowe.
The war of 1812 continues, and Jack Aubrey sets course for Cape Horn on a mission after his own heart: intercepting a powerful American frigate outward bound to play havoc with the British whaling trade. Stephen Maturin has fish of his own to fry in the world of secret intelligence. Disaster in various guises awaits them in the Great South Sea and in the far reaches of the Pacific: typhoons, castaways, shipwrecks, murder, and criminal insanity.Amazon.com Review
Captain Jack Aubrey sets sail for Cape Horn, determined tointercept an American frigate before it can wreak havoc on the Britishwhaling trade. As always, he is accompanied by intelligence operativeStephen Maturin, and as always, Aubrey has no idea of what hiscompanion is up to. Another impeccably written adventure, by the endof which you should be able to identify a mizzen topsail in your sleep. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (48)

4-0 out of 5 stars Mostly Historical Fiction With a Bit of the Twilight Zone
First of all, let us dispose of one possible connection that may exist in some reader's mind:There is utterly no similarity between the motion picture "Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World" and this novel except for the names of the major protagonists.If one has watched the motion picture and hesitates to read the book, fearing it will be repetitious, dismiss that misapprehension.The book and film are recognizably separate.Now then, on to the qualities of the novel.

This is the tenth book of the series of seafaring novels featuring Post-Captain Jack Aubrey and Dr. Stephen Maturin, part surgeon, part spy.It is also by far the best written of the series to date (that is, the best of the first ten books, for I have yet to read the following volumes).Patrick O'Brian, whose real name is the very English and very non-Irish Richard Russ, has consistently shown at least three annoying weaknesses in his writing, all of which are almost absent from THE FAR SIDE OF THEWORLD:

First, O'Brian/Russ has the trait of eliding time.One line of text, for example, may have the captain calling for a mate, and in the very next line he will be speaking to that mate, absolutely no time having elapsed between the two acts.Even the transporter on the Starship Enterprise requires a few seconds to reassemble the molecules of the transportee, but not O'Brian.In his books, time can be folded upon itself, it seems.Surprisingly and happily, however, I can recall only a single instance of this nonsense in THE FAR SIDE OF THE WORLD.Bravo!

Second, O'Brian/Russ is fond of cobbling together entire paragraphs of late 18th and early 19th century nautical jargon which may or may not be technically accurate.The typical modern reader has no way of knowing, and such descriptions of spritsails and staysails and bowlines and rigging and lines and boots and whatnot come across pretty much as just so much gibberish.Again, though, there is only one instance of really extended incomprehensible verbiage in the novel, so again, I must say "Bravo, O'Brian.Your writing is improving dramatically!"

Third, the reader's understanding of several of the preceding nine novels in this series is highly dependent upon having read the books in chronological order and proper sequence.Numerous references to people, ships and actions can be interpreted only with a knowledge of what preceded their reappearance in a given volume.THE FAR SIDE OF THE WORLD is an exception.Yes, references to earlier events do occasionally appear, but they are neither so obscure nor so important to the story line that one has to be able to recollect them from earlier books.This volume actually could be read in isolation from the rest of the series and be enjoyed in its own right.

So, for all intents and purposes, is this volume flawless?Well, in a word, no.Things are progressing nicely, i.e., believably, until Maturin falls out of a window of the captain's Great Cabin in the stern of HMS Surprise and Aubrey leaps into the water to succor him.The carousing crew cannot hear their hails, and the ship sails off, leaving our two heroes to float in the Pacific Ocean the entire night.The next day, they are indeed rescued--by a group of male-emasculating, tattooed, cannibal vixens sailing some sort of huge outrigger canoe sporting a thatched hut.This brings the believability of the fiction to a screaming halt.Any suggestion of verisimilitude vanishes without a trace in the face of these savagefemales traveling the Pacific on their ocean-going canoe festooned with severed male genitalia while their captain munches on a smoked human hand.Although the novel soon regains its claim to be realistic historical fiction, the image of this "Twilight Zone" episode lingers with the reader until the end and weakens the believability of the story line from the point of its occurrence onward.

All in all, though, the nasty cannibal interlude notwithstanding, THE FAR SIDE OF THE WORLD is an entertaining and generally engrossing read.Balancing its strengths and weaknesses, it remains the best written of all the books in the series thus far and can stir the reader's imagination for several evenings with its images of life between water and sail.Based purely on its entertainment value and with a nod to the stylistic improvements I've mentioned above, I feel comfortable in characterizing the book with four Amazon stars.

4-0 out of 5 stars the far side of the world by patrick o'brian
In my case the fascination with the o'brian books came slowly- and admittedly the detail and complexity involved in many becomes tedious. But once you read the first couple (in sequence) you're hooked. Great history research and engaging plots.

4-0 out of 5 stars O'Brian starts over
One of the better of the series, perhaps because, as O'Brian explains in his introduction, he has mined out the history books for dramatic sea stories of the time, so is turning to strictly fictional action for this book.

This time, Aubrey's beloved Surprise, apparently headed for the boneyard, is instead drafted to try to cut off an American war ship before it turns the Cape of Good Horn to prey on English whalers.Through doldrums and storms, he comes up short, which takes the chase into the South Seas where a dramatic rescue of Aubrey and Matarin from a tiny coral outcrop and the stranding of the pair with a small contingent from the Surprise on a not-quite deserted island makes for some fine dramatic and comic writing (and reading!).

Eleventh in the series:The Reverse of the Medal

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Novel!
This was perhaps one of the best novels in the series. For those that enjoyed the film, loosely based on this book and others from the Aubrey-Maturin set, the book is far greater than the movie. I greatly enjoyed this volume in the series.

2-0 out of 5 stars Not one for the time capsule
The 10th book in the Aubrey-Maturin seagoing series. This was my least favorite so far in the series. O'Brian's books are always episodic, rather than plot-driven, but this story seemed even more of a collection of random incidents than usual. In this book, the Surprise is sent to protect the British whaling fleet in the Pacific. Along the way, there's adultery, a murder, a shipwreck, sharks, a lesbian band of runaway Polynesian women, and much, much more. Maybe O'Brian had writer's block and a deadline when he wrote this one, or maybe he was just "having us on." ... Read more

4. The Golden Ocean
by Patrick O'Brian
Paperback: 288 Pages (1996-10-17)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$0.94
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0393315371
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
In the mid-eighteenth century, Peter Palafox, the son of a poor Irish parson, signs on a ship as a midshipman, just in time for Commodore Anson's epic circumnavigation of the world. Reprint.Amazon.com Review
O'Brian's first sea-going novel, The Golden Ocean is aprecurser to the acclaimedAubrey-Maturinseries in its excitement and rich humor, its eloquent style andand tapestry of historical detail.Peter Palofox, second son of apoor Irish parson, sets out on the voyage of a lifetime when he seekshis fortune as a midshipman in Commodore Anson's flotilla.With fiveships under his command, Anson leaves England in 1740 tocircumnavigate the globe and attack Spanish ships wherever they can befound.Peter comes of age in the complex but sharply definedcommunity of the fleet as they engage in battle, fight disease, andface shipwreck. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (21)

4-0 out of 5 stars A Rousing Good Read!
A good-natured book with some honestly great characters, scenes, settings, all of which radiate period authenticity. In this novel there is a lot to be learned about the Royal Navy and the great ships of the age of sail, and I found it all very interesting to tag along on this, Mr. Anson's 1740 circumnavigation of a then much "bigger" planet earth. Plus The Golden Ocean is just a plain old-fashioned enjoyable book to spend a few days reading. As a nice bonus, I don't know how many times I laughed at the simple wit with which the tale is laced. (Page 187, "He had confined himself to the truth with Peter---he was terribly frightened then---but now he was no longer under that unnatural constraint." See, natural wit infuses this writer's prose.) A belated "well done, sir!" to the ghost of Mr. O'Brian!

5-0 out of 5 stars Regardless of where you are in the Aubrey/Maturin series read this book
This is THE book to read before reads, or even while you are reading,the Aubrey/Maturin series. Although a it is a great story, it is, in a way, a good primer for the A/M series, explaining some of the nautical evolutions that take place on the ships of the time. At times more useful than A SEA OF WORDS ( which still need much more work)
In particular, I enjoy having the map of the entirevoyage included in the front so that I canfollow things. My only complaint is that I wish that it were perhaps on more pages so that one could read it better.

4-0 out of 5 stars High Adventure at Sea
The Golden Ocean is the story of two Irish men who sail around the world in a British man-o-war in the mid-1700s in the famous and in many ways ill-fated voyage of the Centurion and its small supporting flotilla during England's war with Spain.This is not exactly a war story and the historical context is a bit unclear in O'Brian's novel.The sailors, marines, and their beloved commodore Mr Anson (later Lord Anson) are little better than scurvy pirates feeding off the Spanish shipping when they get opportunities.Of course, our heroes, Peter Palafox and Sean O'Mara, suffer all the standard ills and misfortunes of a four year voyage in a square-rigged sailing ship and yet ultimately triumph very satisfyingly.

The best feature of this novel, the first sea story written by O'Brian and before his famous Aubrey/Maturin series, is that the author has the ability to create a great sense of realism.So many adventure novels are stale, unbelievable, and cardboardy, but not this one--emphatically not!Reading The Golden Ocean one can smell the salt air, feel the sails fill with the wind, suffer the despair of endless calms, dread the scurvy, and live the life of a sailor in the 1740s.I assume that O'Brian has done his research and that the historical recreations are accurate.They certainly feel accurate.

One problem that I have with this historical novel, and that I have as well with the other O'Brian sea novels that I have read, is that the actual events portrayed and the running of the ship, and the dialogue, are all a bit murky.It is like reading a novel auf deutsch with two years of college German, or a novel or short story by Henry James.I am not quite sure that I understand the text and its meaning.There is so much sailor slang and obscure nautical terms that I am unfamiliar with (and I am a boater) that it might as well be Greek.I wish that the publishers or the author had included a glossary (there is a web site and book of O'Brian's nautical terms and sailors' slang that explains the numerous obscure words and phrases, but it is tedious to use).

Also I would recommend doing some historical research of one's own about the actual Anson voyage before setting off on this novel.

4-0 out of 5 stars Action
Many twist and turns with great action and point blank yardarm to yardarm grape shot action.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great
A wonderful look at the real hardships involved with being on a long voyage in a man of war during this period.A must read for those who are into the days of sail. ... Read more

5. Master and Commander (Movie Tie-In Edition)
by Patrick O'Brian
Paperback: 412 Pages (2003-10-14)
list price: US$13.95 -- used & new: US$2.62
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0393325172
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
Now available in an attractive movie-tie-in jacket for the release of the motion picture Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World starring Russell Crowe: "The best sea story I have ever read."—Sir Francis Chichester

This, the first in the splendid series of Jack Aubrey novels, establishes the friendship between Captain Aubrey, R.N., and Stephen Maturin, ship's surgeon and intelligence agent, against a thrilling backdrop of the Napoleonic wars. Details of a life aboard a man-of-war are faultless rendered: the conversational idiom of the officers in the ward room and the men on the lower deck, the food, the floggings, the mysteries of the wind and the rigging, and the roar of broadsides as the great ships close in battle.

It is the dawn of the nineteenth century; Britain is at war with Napoleon's France. When Jack Aubrey, a young lieutenant in Nelson's navy, is promoted to captain, he inherits command of HMS Sophie, an old, slow brig unlikely to make his fortune. But Captain Aubrey is a brave and gifted seaman, his thirst for adventure and victory immense. With the aid of his friend Stephen Maturin, ship's surgeon and secret intelligence agent, Aubrey and his crew engage in one thrilling battle after another, their journey culminating in a stunning clash with a mighty Spanish frigate against whose guns and manpower the tiny Sophie is hopelessly outmatched.Amazon.com Review
Since Patrick O'Brian launched his series of historical novelswith Master and Commander in 1970, millions of readers haveenjoyed the adventures of Captain Jack Aubrey and his friend, surgeonStephen Maturin. O'Brian's prose, so immediate and yet so distinctlycapturing the language and culture of the English navy in the firstmoments of the 19th century, rolls effortlessly off the tongue ofactor Robert Hardy. Never for a second do we doubt that this is theway an English naval officer would have expressed himself in 1800, andthat these are the sights, sounds, and emotions he encountered. AsAubrey sails his ship into battle, we don't need the sounds of cannonto share this moment with him; Hardy's voice is the idealinstrument. (Running time: 4.5 hours, three cassettes) --LouSchuler ... Read more

Customer Reviews (296)

4-0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written, wonderful characterization with one exception
I've enjoyed reading the Mutiny on the Bounty (Back Bay Books) and Men Against the Sea: A Novel, as well the non-fiction sea-faring book The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea.So, when I saw Master and Commander recommended in several places by those who only recommend "good" or "living" books, that are both enjoyable to read and also quality writing, I was intrigued.

And, I did very much enjoy this book.The author is a skilled writer, especially good at characterization, breathing life into his characters.He also writes with rich language, with each word carefully chosen.Many words are used that are not in the average person's everyday speech, but they aren't so obscure that meaning is unclear.An example from the first page where the two main characters are listening to a musical performance:

"The listener farther to the left was a man of between twenty and thirty whose big form overflowed his seat, leaving only a streak of gilt wood to be seen here and there.He was wearing his best uniform ... and the deep white cuff of his gold-buttoned sleeve beat the time, while his bright blue eyes, staring from what would have been a pink-and-white face if it had not been so deeply tanned, gazed fixedly at the bow of the first violin.The high note came, the pause, the resolution; and with the resolution the sailor's fist swept firmly down upon his knee.He leant back in his chair, extinguishing it entirely, sighed happily and turned toward his neighbour with a smile.The words `Very finely played, sir, I believe' were formed in his gullet if not quite in his mouth when he caught the cold and indeed inimical look and heard the whisper, `If you really must beat the measure, sir, let me entreat you to do so in time, and not half a beat ahead.'"

Two negatives make this book a 4-star for me rather than a 5-star:1) There end up being some difficulties between the captain and one of his officers.But, in the initial stages, they aren't very well-developed.It just feels like they came from nowhere, and that the author just declared them rather than showing them.This is true even later in the book; I just didn't have a good handle on them.This is the only part of the book that I felt had anything but skillful characterization, but unfortunately it was a bit inept on this point.The officer's character just wasn't characterized well.2) There is a smattering of profanity and one crude expression.This doesn't bother many people, but it does me.The book, however, is good enough, and the profanity occasional enough, that I'm willing to just take a black permanent marker to them.

Overall, I would definitely recommend this book to those who enjoy historical fiction, especially of the sea-faring variety.With one exception the characterization is wonderful, and the writing is a joy to read throughout.My only caution would be for those who would be too bothered by occasional profanity.I will definitely read this book again and plan to get the next couple books in the series.

1-0 out of 5 stars Caveat Emptor!
Now look: I am an avid reader. I enjoy from a light airy read to a dense thought-provoking novel. Words are no strangers to me. But the words Patrick O'Brian uses on his celebrated novels read like a notaries' account of a naval court-martial. There really should be an annotated version of this book so people eager to get into the series can be eased into the terminology. A previous reviewer suggested "skipping over" the dense nautical jargon, sound advice for some but I can't read in this fashion. I really wanted to love these books but I had to pause so many times to go look on the internet what the hell the man was writing about I gave up on the first 100 pages or so. Kudos to those that are into them (I envy you guys) but be warned: Mr. O'Brian uses a LOT of dense nautical terms to describe what's going on so disorientation sets in and doesn't leave (at least the first 100 pager or so, wouldn't know about afterwards). It's like trying to watch a french film with no subtitles, some non-french-speaking people may enjoy it but I'd rather understand what's going on.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fiction to take you away from the grind
StoneHeartI listened to the audio book.Although I did not think the narrator was the best choice, it didn't seem to make that much of a difference in the story.There was a great deal of detail that I normally don't care for, but it works for this story.There wasn't a great deal of dialog to help fill out characters, but again it worked well in this story.As the five star indicates, I loved it.I didn't need to know the jargon listening to the book, if I read it that possibly would have tripped me up.Instead listening to the story pulled me in right away.The introduction between Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin was very well done.The reader immediately identifies with the two men and their idiosyncrasies.I fell into the voyage of "Sophie" just as easily and I was one with the ship, the crew, the officers, and the sea.I was there at every port and naval confrontation.I watched Jack and Stephen develop a friendship.I lived the conflict with James Dillion and Stephen Maturin.
I think I liked the historical accuracy of the time period the most and how O'Brian had the men act and speak reflecting the true anthropology of the time in behaviors, speech, and actions.War was different then and Naval War was between Gentlemen and Officers with proper behaviors and protocol.I was on pins and needlesas the Court Martial made its decision and was happy Aubrey was acquitted and his sword returned.I can't wait until I get "Post Captain".I am taking the advice of other readers to read the books in order.

5-0 out of 5 stars masterful treatment of an amazing time
Patrick O'Brian approaches the time period with an unusual degree of mastery of the time period. The Hornblower series along with some of the other more generally known period set naval series smack too much of contrived fiction and at times seem to work too hard to convince their audiences that they are literate in 19th century English life, with an obvious emphasis on the workings of a frigate or ship of the line. Not for a single moment is O'Brian's grasp of the period called into question. His classic portrayels of men from the both the upper and lower decks is as convincing as it is authentic. Preserved Killick, Captain Aubrey's erstwhile and abusive steward is a perfect example of O'Brians effortless capture of a forgotten sort of character. Without having to resort to creative spelling to carry the sense of his dialogue and voice, O'Brian is able to utilize word choice to carry Killick's screeching, whining tone clearly to us, the reader today.

Additionally the conduct of battles and actions, spread across multiple theatres of the Napolenonic Wars all combine to lend a healthy dose of believability to the writing of O'Brian. With an unshakeable grasp of naval terms and concepts, the importance of tactiacal maneuvering before an engagement, and the steadfast reliance on rapid, accurate gunfire, O'Brian succeeds where others have failed. The self doubt and at times self loathing of Hornblower finds no place in the character of Jack Aubrey, the unshakeable captain who is on a lee shore when he is... on shore. At sea he demonstrates time and again his grasp of captaincy and leadership. These characteristics are only aided by his erstwhile companion, confidant, and associate, Stephen Maturin. Surgeon and oftentime secret agent. Their friendship serves to add the needed human touch to a series that could so quickly be sidelined by a succession of overly dramatized naval engagements and intrigue.

Throughout this series, if you develop a love for them as strong as that which i have, You too will find yourself yearning for more. It is such a shame that O'Brian passed away before capping the series, but i feel blessed to have as many books, all of equal quality, that he saw fit to write and leave to us all.

5-0 out of 5 stars Master and Commander - I'm hooked!
The first in a series of twenty sailing ship sagas set in early 19th century. Characters are well developed and believable. Very authentic, especially the descriptions of the sail- and ship-handling. Kinda like being in a full-immersion foreign language course. Great fun as well as historically instructive.
Weber ... Read more

6. Post Captain (Vol. Book 2)(Aubrey/Maturin Novels)
by Patrick O'Brian
Hardcover: 496 Pages (1994-11-17)
list price: US$24.00 -- used & new: US$14.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0393037029
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
"Master and Commander raised almostdangerously high expectations, Post Captaintriumphantly surpasses them...a brilliantbook."—Mary Renault"We've beat them before and we'll beat them again." In 1803 Napoleon smashes the Peace of Amiens, and Captain Jack Aubrey, R. N., taking refuge in France from his creditors, is interned. He escapes from France, from debtor's Prison, from a possible mutiny, and pursues his quarry straight into the mouth of a French-held harbor.
Amazon.com Review
As the first sentences of Post Captain roll off actorRobert Hardy's tongue, you know you're somewhere you've never beenbefore: the high seas in the early 19th century. Hardy's richrendition of Patrick O'Brian's 1972 novel, a follow-up to Master and Commander,starts with series heroes Captain Jack Aubrey and surgeon StephenMaturin enjoying a brief period of peace. Soon enough, though, theNapoleonic Wars resume, and the seafaring adventurescontinue. (Running time: 4.5 hours, three cassettes) --LouSchuler ... Read more

Customer Reviews (79)

5-0 out of 5 stars My $0.10
I find it appropriate that of the three one-star reviews of this book, one is based upon the failings of the narrator in the audio-book version, one is a satirical poke at the author for leaving us hanging, and the last was written by one who names (proclaims?) himself "schizophrenic."

The Aubrey-Maturin novels by Patrick O'Brian were literally one of the high points of my life.I have read and reread them over the years for comfort, much as some people turn to a favorite retreat or snack when the trials of life become overwhelming.I will forever be thankful to the author for his great work, and I can only wonder at the myriad people to whom they don't seem to appeal.If you have not read them, I recommend you do so and form your own opinion.As book two, Post Captain might be guilty of starting slow and laying a lot of character groundwork, but it is a foundation one appreciates when one gets deeper into the series (or commences rereading from the beginning).Not my favorite to begin with, it now ranks quite high on my list.I sometimes look at it with pleasure on my bookshelf for the mere fact that it is the fattest of them all.

5-0 out of 5 stars A great sequal.
Book Two of Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin series finds Jack and Stephen ashore and shipless during the Peace of Amiens. Worse, when war between England and Nepoleon resumes, our two heros find themselves in the most unenviable of places: France, where a pennyless Jack Aubrey is hiding from his creditors due to unforseen reverses in the English prize courts. Will they escape from Imperial France and avoid the English tipstaff in time for Jack to secure a ship and restore his fortunes in the new war?

Perhaps even more intriguing, Post Captian also introduces the great loves of Jack and Stephen's lives, Sophia "Sophie" Williams and Diana Villiers. Thus a new demention of exploration of both men's characters and thier friendship is added, one that proves not only rocky, but as potentially mortal for both as French roundshot.

4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent book...with one very odd omission, or lacuna
WARNING: Review might contain a moderate spoiler.

Overall, I enjoyed "Post Captain" as much as the other books in the Aubrey/Maturin series: absolutely not to be missed is the "Crowning Moment of Awesome"/"Crowning Moment of Funny" in which Jack presses the sheriff's deputies who've come to arrest him for debt! This book is also immensely valuable in deepening the characters of Jack and Stephen, and in introducing the two women who will have such a profound effect on their lives - Sophie Williams and Diana Villiers.

It's Diana, though, who is the subject of - or rather, the relationship among her, Jack and Stephen which the subject of - probably the most irritating gap in the series, at least to this reviewer. As many others have noted, Jack engages in an ardent pursuit of Diana (whom Stephen is very much interested in) while at the same time being deeply interested in Sophie. This tangled romantic web leads at one point to a serious breach between Jack and Stephen - I'm talking "pistols at dawn" seriousness here. However, later on in the book, the rupture is magically healed, with no sign whatever of what might have occasioned the reconcilation, and the Captain and Doctor go along together on their merry way.All quite gratifying, to be sure, but also deeply frustrating to the reader who was waiting with bated breath to find out what had happened.

There. I got that off my chest. Just bearing that flaw in mind, I can heartly recommend "Post-Captain" to anyone interested in this classic series.

4-0 out of 5 stars Patrick O'Brian: meet Jane Austin
This is the second book and, like the first, is named for the rank Capt. Jack Aubrey, RN, obtains in the course of the book.The road is very rocky to get there, however.First peace breaks out between adversaries England and Napoleonic France (no hope for a promotion there, and scant hope of even being given a ship to command).His prize agent (sort of a banker) is caught in a Ponzi scheme and flees, leaving Jack hopelessly in debt.When war is resumed, Capt. Aubrey is on the wrong side of the English Channel.When he is finally offered a command (still at the Commander rank), it's a sloop of experimental design and dubious quality of construction.Worse, Aubrey is placed under the command of an admiral he had previously cuckolded and with a crew consisting mostly of landlubbers and jailbirds.However, Aubrey's negotiation of these treacherous positions is child's play compared to the romantic attentions paid to him by two women of entirely different personalities.To complicate things, his best friend Dr. Steven Maturin is equally smitten with one of the ladies.

With this book, the world of Napoleonic Europe comes to life.The details of life asea and ashore are as fascinating as following the adventures of the two protagonists.As we'd expect from an O'Brian novel, the reader is absorbed into the story, but might be hard-pressed to say why, exactly, the book is so enjoyable.

The romantic subplot is fascinating, if somewhat Austin-esque in its soap-opera qualities.I was never convinced that Steven could be so besotted with his love interest - she is cold, fickle, and indiscretionary in her flirtations.The busibody mother/aunt of the two ladies is also a carricature of a Jane Austin character, and I was never quite sure if O'Brian was offering this subplot as a sort of satiric comic relief, or if this was an accurate picture of upper-class life in the time period.Don't get me wrong - it was fun and still enjoyable to read, but the highlights of the book definitely take place aboard the ships, especially when cleared for action.

Overall, I think I enjoyed the first book better, so I'm demoting this one to 4 stars.It's still a great read, and I'd recommend it without reservation.

3-0 out of 5 stars Audio CD version contains manufacturing defects
I have read and greatly enjoyed the Aubrey-Maturin books. These are a wonderful and unique series in what may be a favorite genre for me; historical fiction.
Comments that follow apply to the audio CD version only.

Since I now must spend much time in my car, what better than to spend it in the world of the Royal Navy and the Napoleonic wars. And the voice of Simon Vance adds much to the experience. However, Post Captain contains several CD's with incorrect metadata.Disc 6 is "Peter Pan", disc 11 is yet another book, and disc 2 is Post Captain, but chapters are mis-numbered, and then repeated on disc 3.I returned this to Amazon who promptly and kindly replaced the set.The replacement, however, contained precisely the same errors!I phoned the publisher who promised to replace the three discs containing the errors, but, thus far, I have received nothing. So now I fear to order the third audio book... though I do wish to go on with this wonderful series.

Has anyone found these or similar errors with Audio Book 3 in this series? ... Read more

7. Patrick O'Brian's Navy: The Illustrated Companion to Jack Aubrey's World
by Richard O'Neill
Hardcover: 160 Pages (2003-09-04)
list price: US$30.00 -- used & new: US$18.97
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0762415401
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
From the moment that Master and Commander, the first of Patrick O'Brian's sequence of 20 novels about the 19th century British Royal Navy officer Jack Aubrey and his surgeon colleague Stephen Maturin, was published in 1970, critics hailed his work as a masterpiece of historical recreation.Called "the best historical novels ever written" by The New York Times, the books have sold more than 3 million copies.This first full-color illustrated companion to the Aubrey-Maturin series, timed to benefit from the release of the blockbuster Twentieth-Century Fox film adaptation starring Russell Crowe, explains the fascinating physical details of Jack Aubrey's fictional world.An in-depth historical reference, it brings to life the political, cultural, and physical setting of O'Brian's novels.Annotated drawings, paintings, and diagrams reveal the complex parts of a ship and its rigging, weaponry, crew quarters and duties, below-deck conditions, and fighting tactics, while maps illustrate the location featured in each novel. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (27)

4-0 out of 5 stars Lots of Good Pictures, But Little Else
What I mean by this, is that the book could have been more tailored to the O'Brian series, of which it purports to illustrate. The illustrations of the Royal Navy, its conflicts, etc., are good. It provides good background for Capt. Aubrey's world, but it falls short in focusing on the PARTICULARS of Capt. Aubrey's experience. All those illustrations of Royal naval battles, except for some, have no bearing on Capt. Aubrey. I'm saying that many pictures don't really add to understanding Aubrey's world. One example: I've become very interested in the not-so-glamorous life of sea life of the time. How were gun crews trained? How were foretopmen selected and trained? The part on food was terrible. It was a big item on a ship. Who were the cooks? What did the galleys look like? How is it that admirals and officers could snap their fingers and have what they wanted at hand almost instantly? Breakfasts and dinners are a big part in O'Brian's novels, yet he does not give adequate background for what's going on in the galley. What about the butchering? Ok, sheep, an ox, goats, chickens, etc., were on board, for fresh meat. O'Brian leaves this stuff out, yet he's so conscious of what sails are flying, what the tack is, what the wind is, etc. This book shows nothing of that.

Again, I'm an American landlubber whose had some sailing experience and have been drawn into O'Brian's world because of the "Master and Commander..." movie. That may explain my criticisms. The book is good. Buy it, if you want more than what O'Brian provides in his novels. Basically, I'm glad I did.

2-0 out of 5 stars Disappointing book
I thought this book would have the kind of beautiful, meticulous paintings Geoff Hunt provided for cover art on the Aubrey-Maturin series.It didn't.If you want knowledge of the ships of the era, get the Geoff Hunt book.

The illustrations in this books are mediocre to downright inferior compared to the work of Hunt: a number of landscapes portrayed from a distance, ships ditto, water colors artfully contrived but all without the details which convey the appearance of reality, details always present in the far better work of Geoff Hunt.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Even if You Don't Read O'Brian
I am not even a fan of the Patrick O'Brian books (I tried but somehow the style failed to grip), but I have read the Hornblower series repeatedly and love other books of the period, and found this a beautiful, informative and interesting book.It fills in the blanks in naval technology, customs and life aboard ship in the 18th and 19th century British navy. There are easy to consult diagrams on rigging, ratings and crew components, lists of toasts, descriptions of uniforms.... I just couldn't be happier with it.It's a coffee table book that you want to actually keep on your coffee table.The art alone would be worth it, without the detailed and interesting information. And yes, I know, I should give the O'Brian books another try.

3-0 out of 5 stars Spoilers upon spoilers
Though I cannot detract from the winning research put into this great reference, the few times I've stumbled into thumbing through it, a major spoiler is dropped in my lap with nary a warning. (I am still working through H.M.S. Surprise vol.3) The first page I opened on displays a period carriage similar to the one a certain (here un-named) character's wife is killed in. "Fantastic" I say to myself, there goes that surprise. A two-in-one blow! Vowing to steer towards the leeward of this volume until I've read every last Aubrey-Maturin novel, I come across a review of said work in an above listed review. There I assume a fellow reader, familiar to the subtlety of plot sequence and the necessity of well-timed disclosures won't repeat this mistake. Haha! Now I've pre-maturely learned that a major charactor's parent is a Spanish Spy! I'm sure I'll enjoy this work sometime in the distant future, but it will ruin your experience if you read through it too early.

1-0 out of 5 stars This should not be a Kindle edition
I'm sure this is a beautiful book with many gorgeous illustrations, but it should not be sold as a Kindle version because the illustrations cannot be deciphered on the Kindle, and the captions confuse the text. ... Read more

8. The Mauritius Command (Vol. Book 4)(Aubrey/Maturin Novels)
by Patrick O'Brian
Hardcover: 352 Pages (1994-11-17)
list price: US$24.00 -- used & new: US$15.19
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0393037045
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
"Jack's assignment: to capture the IndianOcean islands of Réunion and Mauritius from the French. That campaign forms the narrativethread of this rollicking sea saga. But itssubstance is more beguilingstill..."—Elizabeth Peer, NewsweekCaptain Jack Aubrey is ashore on half pay without a command—until Stephen Maturin arrives with secret orders for Aubrey to take a frigate to the Cape of Good Hope under a commodore's pennant, there to mount an expedition against the French-held islands of Mauritius and La Réunion. But the difficulties of carrying out his orders are compounded by two of his own captains—Lord Clonfert, a pleasure-seeking dilettante, and Captain Corbett, whose severity pushes his crew to the verge of mutiny.
Amazon.com Review
Sounding every bit the proper English gentleman, narrator TimPigott-Smith gives a delightfully entertaining, yet appropriatelyrestrained performance in this rollicking addition to the popularAubrey/Maturin series. Blending historical fact with fiction, authorPatrick O'Brian has crafted another captivating saga based on obscureevents in maritime history. "The frigates never reached theAntilles. Nothing was heard of them until they hit Mauritius, wherethey upset the balance of powers in those waters entirely. The news oftheir presence reached England a very short while ago." In lesscompetent hands, efforts of this nature might well sink under theweight of pedantic prose and mind-numbing minutiae, but O'Brian'simpressive writing and the considerable vocal talents of Pigott-Smithhelp keep this adventure, and the long-lived series itself, ridinghigh in the water. (Running time: 5 hours, 3 cassettes) --GeorgeLaney ... Read more

Customer Reviews (36)

5-0 out of 5 stars Very exciting read
I would definetely recommend this book and the entire Aubrey/Maturin series. It is very well written and keeps you eagerly reading even if your not that into historical navy type stuff.

5-0 out of 5 stars Best so far
Best book in the series so far. The charcters are so alive that you feel like you are reading history.

3-0 out of 5 stars disappointing
Rather a letdown after the superlative "HMS Surprise," this is a curious member of the series, which never seems to take off.The characters have lost their steam, and the writing itself seems rushed and distracted, unworkmanlike.The plot is all ahoo, as Aubrey might say, the entire enterprise being a long, tedious and half-hearted series of naval maneuvers and sorties with a minimal amount of human spice to them.Still, as ever, there are brilliant characters which one wishes were grasped onto with greater commitment by the author; instead, he seems to lose interest as he goes--as if the whole thing were dashed off while waiting for the turkey to finish roasting.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great.
Received the book in good condition. Have not finished reading the book yet but so far it has been a great Summer reading.

4-0 out of 5 stars More historical action in Master and Commander book four
Before even reading the book, I noticed that this is the first of the Aubrey/Matarin series that includes more than just a figure of a ship identifying the various kinds of sails, this book shows a map of "The Mauritius Campaign."And indeed, this book ranges farther afield from the narrow confines of the ship and spends more time developing the campaign, based as it is on a set of historical events that occurred at that time and place.Consequently less claustrophobic, this book moves faster and reads easier than the others, with less character development as we have come to know the characters already.

Fifth in the series:Desolation Island ... Read more

9. H. M. S. Surprise (Vol. Book 3)(Aubrey/Maturin Novels)
by Patrick O'Brian
Hardcover: 384 Pages (1994-11-17)
list price: US$24.00 -- used & new: US$13.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0393037037
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
"Few, very few books have made my heart thud with excitement. H.M.S. Surprise managedit."—Helen Lucy Burke, Irish PressThird in the series of Aubrey/Maturin adventures, this book is set among the strange sights andsmells of the Indian subcontinent, and in thedistant waters ploughed by the ships of the East India Company. Aubrey is on the defensive,pitting wits and seamanship against an enemyenjoying overwhelming local superiority. Butsomewhere in the Indian Ocean lies the prizethat could make him rich beyond his wildestdream: the ships sent by Napoleon to attack theChina Fleet...Amazon.com Review
The stakes are high as HMS Surprise opens, and actorRobert Hardy's sterling reading never lets you forget them. Hardymakes Patrick O'Brian's third novel of high-seas adventure--written in1973 and set mainly in 1805 on the waters surrounding India and theOrient--seem as immediate as an overdrawn checking account. Moneyplays a big role, and Captain Jack Aubrey stands to make a lot ofit. All he has to do is find Napoleon's fleet--and take their goldaway from them. (Running time: three hours, two cassettes) --LouSchuler ... Read more

Customer Reviews (56)

5-0 out of 5 stars The usual derring-do from the Aubrey/Maturin team
For those of us who enjoy a rousing tale from the era of fighting sail, this one is excellent.

5-0 out of 5 stars great book, replacement again as I lend them often and never get them back
I have read all the 20 books 2.5 times.Unusual for a woman.A slight plagiarism of Hornblower series but so much better and overall a totally different story:the language is beautiful, the characters, with few exceptions, exceptionally varied, distinctive personalities and the breath of the travels amazing and enchanting.The movie was a pale exerpt of the richness of the series.Kathy McElroy

4-0 out of 5 stars A "Surprisingly" Fast and Entertaining Trip from Cover to Cover
H.M.S. SURPRISE, the third in the 21-volume series of seafaring novels featuring Captain Jack Aubrey and Dr, Stephen Maturin, is noticeably improved over the the two preceding novels, MASTER AND COMMANDER and POST CAPTAIN.In fact, I have only two nits to pick with its style, but first let's take a quick glance at the author because his rather miserable lifestyle definitely impactsones views of him.

First, he was an unreliable human being, deserting his wife and two children in an isolated country cottage while he repaired to London without them.He was an adulterer, taking up with a woman who later became his second wife after each eventually divorced their original spouses.He was deceitful and deceptive, being born an Englishman named Richard Patrick Russ but assuming an Irish name in the midst of his writing career and never correcting the subsequent widespread misapprehension that he was, indeed, an Irishman.Not until a documentary produced by the BBC in 1998 and an expose published in the Daily Telegraph did O'Brian's true identity and nationality become public knowledge.

It can, of course, be argued that an author's personal life style is not relevant to a review of his writings, notwithstanding the fact that writers' own real-life experiences often find expression in their fictional works through the words or actions of their characters.At any rate, I shall leave Russ's personal life behind and offer three observations on H.M.S. SURPRISE:

Early in the novel, we learn that Maturin has been captured as a spy by the Spanish and has been tortured by their French allies.In fact, the first adventure in this novel is his rescue by Aubrey.Despite the severity of the situation, the physical damage done to Maturin, and the lasting impact of this episode on the character, the reader is given very few details of it.In the earlier books of the series, Maturin has come across as nearly invulnerable.His wit, his scheming, and his command of the art of dissimulation, not to mention his inordinate skill as a surgeon and a naturalist, appear to be so great as to place him far beyond the clumsy efforts of his enemies to capture or discover him.Perhaps Russ/O'Brian is making the character of Maturin more human, more susceptible to the dangers of spying after all.It seems, however, that Maturin's fall from perfection has not been sufficiently prepared for, and it certainly seems that an event so disastrous to the character should have occupied a bit more of the text.Essentially, we are presented with the scenario as seen purely by Aubrey, but a more satisfyingly detailed picture would have resulted had we also seen it from Maturin's perspective.

The second nit deals with Russ/O'Brian's seeming inability to include transitional scenes in his writing. This shortcoming appears in the other books in this series that I have read thus far, so it is not a momentary lapse.Here is one example.Maturin is laid low below decks, the unrequiting love of his life, Diana Villiers, has come aboard, and Aubrey is speaking to her:

"... [T]here is still a great deal of fever, and I beg you will not upset or cross him in any way.M'Alister says it is most important not to cross him in any way."
" 'Dear Maturin,' she said, 'how glad I am to see you sitting up.' "

The problem here is that in one sentence we have Aubrey and Villiers speaking on deck and in the very next we have Villiers in the sick bay below deck speaking to Maturin.There is no transition whatsoever between scenes, no movement of Villiers from the top deck to the sick bay.It is as though a chunk of space and time has simply vanished from the narrative, butting together two different scenes with no transition from one to the other.Fortunately, this particular aberration does not occur with great frequency in this volume, but it certainly slaps the reader in the face when it does appear.

The third point I should like to make is not a nit for picking at all, merely an observation that, as the third book in the long series, H.M.S. SURPRISE is not the first book about Aubrey and Maturin that one should read.It really is necessary that one take on these volumes in the proper chronological sequence to understand the motivations and actions of the characters.Begin with MASTER AND COMMANDER, continue with POST CAPTAIN, and only then pick up H.M.S. SURPRISE.

In other volumes, the pace of the story drags somewhat when it deals with the on-shore domestic lives of our protagonists, but the story line in this volume proceeds in a quite lively fashion, and I believe that anyone who has chosen to follow the Aubrey-Maturin adventures will find H.M.S. SURPRISE a fast and entertaining read.While I have criticized Russ/O'Brian's stylistic weaknesses in other reviews, I find him a good, though not great, writer, and I fully intend to enjoy the other volumes in this continuing saga.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful
This is an incredible series - well written and full of adventure and humor.If you've never been on a tall ship you may want to brush up on your nautical terms - When Aubrey and Maturin are at sea the jargon flows fast and furious!I've got almost 3 down and 17 to go!

5-0 out of 5 stars absolutely outstanding
In the third book of the series, O'Brian grows by leaps and bounds over the previous two volumes.This book is a riveting, stunningly written installment, which is impossible to put down.Just the section describing the hair-raising voyage of the Surprise around the Cape of Good Hope in a monumental gale is worth the price of the book.Remarkable characters, irresistible humor and long, delicious scenes of great perception and development.If you want to read the series, by all means START HERE. ... Read more

10. A Sea of Words, Third Edition: A Lexicon and Companion to the Complete Seafaring Tales of Patrick O'Brian
by Dean King, John B. Hattendorf, J. Worth Estes
Paperback: 528 Pages (2000-10-01)
list price: US$18.00 -- used & new: US$10.01
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0805066152
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
This comprehensive lexicon provides definitions of nautical terms, historical entries describing the people and political events that shaped the period, and detailed explanations of the scientific, medical, and biblical references that appear in the novels.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (58)

4-0 out of 5 stars More Translation Needed
An American, and so impressed by the movie "Master and Commander...,"and of some experience in sailing, I've used this book. But, it does not go far enough. Mr. King, the author, has stated that any such book will be short of the ideal. Well, it is far short, and I can't supply all the individual instances where the book does fall short. I'm into the sixth volume of the O'Brian series, and have enjoyed them very much and look forward to the rest. However, I've spent as much time going to atlases, this book, etc., trying to follow Aubrey's & Maturin's adventures, as I have in reading the novels.

This book is woefully lacking in well-illustrated maps. There could have been a section of well-illustrated maps for each of the novels. The maps included are terrible. The sections on the background of early 18th Century politics and medical practices are fine. This work should have been in 2 volumes, because there are far more terms, expressions, etc., than this book includes. I sense some cost cutting.

The book is indispensable for understanding O'Brian to some degree, and that gets to a larger point: The O'Brian series should have been translated for American audiences, while preserving as much as possible O'Brian's excellent gift for language. Someone once mentioned that the biggest division between the Americans and the British is the English language. The O'Brian novels confirm this. Oh, I'll press on to the end, like Aubrey & Maturin, but, god! What a difficult cruise!

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent addition to your O'Brian collection
All the words and phrases to fully understand the meaning behind the words of O'Brian.Also insight into the world of the Royal Navy in Aubrey's time including the ships and the surgeon's life. I highly recommend this book!

3-0 out of 5 stars Valuable reference, could use more contextual quotes
Second Edition.

A valuable companion for O'Brian's books that would be even better if included more contextual quotes or explanations of how O'Brian used some of the terms in the books.

Pair this with Harbors and High Seas, 3rd Edition : An Atlas and Geographical Guide to the Complete Aubrey-Maturin Novels of Patrick O'Brian, Third Edition on your reference shelf if you are a real fan.

5-0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Companion Volume For The Series
Covering all of the arcane terms and characters from the age of Napoleonic Fighting Sail, this book makes an excellent companion for the Aubrey/Maturin series by Patrick O'Brian. From an "Able Seaman" to a "Younker", "a Sea Of Words" covers the terms needed to understand this lost age. A vital reference for any arm-chair Admiral.

Unless you are an expert in the subject of square-rigged sailing ships, this book should be purchased along with the first book of the series "Master and Commander" and remain at one's side. It will serve the reader in good stead throughout the entire series.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Sea of Words
An excellent book, I found all the words I could not find in other nautical terms compilations, well described too! ... Read more

11. The Truelove (Aubrey / Maturin Novels, Vol. 15)
by Patrick O'Brian
Paperback: 304 Pages (1993-07-17)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$0.38
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0393310167
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Dispatched with his ship, the Surprise, to restore order after an attack on a British whaler in Tonga, Captain Aubrey discovers Clarissa Harvill, an escaped female convict, stowed away in the cable-tier. Reprint. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (20)

5-0 out of 5 stars Truelove-patrick o'brian
It is the second time that I've started reading his Aubrey/ maturin novels and I love them.

1-0 out of 5 stars Just a real bore - book is good for hardcore fans only
I had to stop listening to this book at the end of disk 5 of 8.Why do I tell you that?I was over halfway done with the book and just had to give up.Nothing was happening.Nothing.The only thing this book had going was that a woman was on the ship, Aubrey is clueless and ornery, and that they were all headed to Oahu.That's it.Pretty thin for any novel at the halfway point.
This book was a solid letdown and had zero action in it well over halfway through the story.The only appeal I can see for this book is for readers who are devotees to the series, and who don't mind a bunch of filler.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Best
The Complete Aubrey/Maturin Novels
I have read the entire Aubrey-Maturin Series from the 1st (Master and Commander) through the 21st (The Unfinished Voyage) three times and I have the entire series in my library.I am a voracious reader and this is the best series I have ever read, no matter the genre.I suspect the forth reading will begin soon.

3-0 out of 5 stars A Polynesian Tryst, With No Shots Fired...
There is no denying the near photographic realism of the scenes and the dialog, and the reader practically feels the roll of the Surprise's deck underfoot.But how long does the author feel he can hold our attention with the admittedly amazing details of the hauling and re-rigging of topmasts?Patrick O'Brien is risking his legacy in these last stories.Here we are, aboard a man of war in His Britannic Majesty's fleet in the Pacific South Seas during the Napoleonic Wars, and not a single shot is fired.Perhaps O'Brien had exhausted his repertoire of scenarios for naval combat by the time he reached his fifteenth novel.The book does contain a passable love story, but due to the point-of-view constraint (everything is viewed through either Aubrey or Maturin), the romantic component of the plot is only hearsay.O'Brien's craft is present in his relaying of Clarissa Oakes' character through her confidential conversations with Dr. Maturin, and there is the author's ever-present "feather duster" narrative in the protagonists' letters home.And O'Brien readers will also see much that is familiar in the plot elements which are left unexplained, such as why West and Davidge are mortal enemies, or how a naval officer came to marry a shadowy stowaway.Even Aubrey's dalliance with the Polynesian queen has an unsatisfying, rumor-like quality.It may be that O'Brien's initial draft of this book ended in a symphony of smoke, blood, tangled rigging, and gallantry, and that he changed it since we American readers would likely find the "enemy" frigate, "Franklin," a less disagreeable foe than the French ships which are Aubrey's typical fare.The fact is that we do not mind at all that the Franklin escapes.The fact is that only a die-hard O'Brien fan's attention will be maintained by this book in which the only victory is over the whale ship "Truelove."

4-0 out of 5 stars Women trouble, again!
Aubrey and Maturin escape from Australia, then the New South Wales penal colony, with an escapee and a stowaway, a woman who has fallen in love with a sailor.The woman has ties back to French spies who had chased and nearly undone Maturin many books back (Ledward and Wray) due to a double agent working within the English government.

Better than the previous entry in the series, this discovery opens the possibility of uncovering the spy in the future.

Sixteenth in the series:The Wine-Dark Sea ... Read more

12. Harbors and High Seas, 3rd Edition : An Atlas and Geographical Guide to the Complete Aubrey-Maturin Novels of Patrick O'Brian, Third Edition
by Dean King, John B. Hattendorf
Paperback: 288 Pages (2000-10-01)
list price: US$22.00 -- used & new: US$9.45
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0805066144
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
This indispensable guide to navigating the well-loved Aubrey-Maturin novels has been updated, with new chapters devoted to the final books in the series. Harbors and High Seas includes maps created exclusively for each of the novels in this world-renowned series.
Amazon.com Review
Where did Sophie battle the Cacafuego?Where isAubrey's beloved Ashgrove cottage?What route did Maturin take withhis bear?What's so desolate about Kerguelen Island?What's the bestroute from Botany Bay to Moahu?Find the answers to these andhundreds of other questions in this indispensable guide to the terrainand cartography of O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturinnovels. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (33)

5-0 out of 5 stars Harbors and High Seas
The book arrived in very good shape, like new. The book; Harbors and High Seas is a most valuable companion to to the Patrick Obrien Aubrey/Maturin series. However, I was a little disappointed that there were not more diagrams of the individual actions between, for example,Surprise and the French Privateer in "Treason's Harbor. Also, it took almost two weeks to arrive via USPS. Too long. Otherwise, this is a real treasure of information as a companion for the Aubrey/Maturin series.

5-0 out of 5 stars exactly what I was looking for
after reading the whole POB series, and re-reading them, I wanted to know more about the places and events involved.I stumbled upon this book while browsing other POB-related books.Heaps of my curiosities answered, maps galore and fantastic historical artwork (French prisons, boxing stars of the 1800s, etc).If you are taken by these novels, this is an absolute must-have...

4-0 out of 5 stars Landlubber's companion to Patrick O'Brian sea novels
Third Edition

This would have been rated one notch higher if I had had it available while reading through the series.An avid fan would own this volume and follow along with the maps (curiously absent from the books and sorely missed by landlubbers such as myself).

Pair this with A Sea of Words: A Lexicon and Companion for Patrick O'Brian's Seafaring Tales on your reference shelf if you are a real O'Brian fan.

5-0 out of 5 stars Habors and High Seas, 3rd Edition
The completion of the entire Aubrey-Maturin series of 20 novels. An essential reference to all who have the have bought the boxed set. Love it, Love it, love it!

3-0 out of 5 stars Nice but low priority
This is a nice to have companion, but only if you have already purchased "A Sea of Words" of the same author, which should get priority if you have to chose
The book is interesting and useful. True that it might have contained more maps but overall it's good value for its cost ... Read more

13. The Fortune of War (Vol. Book 6)(Aubrey/Maturin Novels)
by Patrick O'Brian
Hardcover: 336 Pages (1994-11-17)
list price: US$24.00 -- used & new: US$17.33
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0393037061
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
"A marvellously full-flavoured, engrossingbook, which towers over its current rivals inthe genre like a three-decker over a ship'slongboat."—Times Literary SupplementCaptain Jack Aubrey, R. N., arrives in the Dutch East Indies to find himself appointed to the command of the fastest and best-armed frigate in the Navy. He and his friend Stephen Maturin take passage for England in a dispatch vessel. But the War of 1812 breaks out while they are en route. Bloody actions precipitate them both into new and unexpected scenes where Stephen's past activities as a secret agent return on him with a vengeance.
Amazon.com Review
This time it's the War of 1812 that gets in the way ofCaptain Jack Aubery's plans. Caught en route to England in a dispatchvessel, Aubrey and Maturin are soon in the thick of a typically bloodynaval engagement. Next stop: an American prison, from which onlyMaturin's cunning allows them to engineer an exit. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (25)

2-0 out of 5 stars Surprised by unexpected historical bias
I've read 4 of this series and had been impressed w/ what I had assumed to be accurate historical detail.I now have doubts.O'Brian's account of the USS Chesapeake- HMS Shannon engagement is quite inconsistent with all other analyses that I've read, in terms of USS Chesapeake's "ship-handling" and preparedness.O'Brian went out of his way to present USS Chesapeake's ship-handling as superb, and her preparedness flawless. Presumably this is to add luster to the acclaim of HMS Shannon's victory.

Do any historical accounts present this relative strength?None that I have found.USS Chesapeake had the reputation of a hapless ship, and virtually no accounts suggest relatively fine ship-handling or gunnery performance. The USS Chesapeake's captain was new to the ship, the crew was new, they had had no experience together, no chance to iron out procedures.HMS Shannon's captain and crew had been together for 7 years.

My impression is that O'Brian here showed strong nationalistic bias.One of the finest RN frigates soundly defeated the most hapless and inexperienced of the USN frigates, according to the historians.This inconsistency w/ history could not be a mistake, nor would one expect a mistake of an author as otherwise exhaustively accurate as O'Brian.He found it necessary to falsify the record in his very-well-circulated historical novel, to create a false impression.The motive could only be nationalistic bias.I am dissappointed. "Bad show" on this, I'm afraid.A truer picture would have been impressive, in a British author.This is mere propaganda.Of the 8 major naval engagements of the war, the USN won 6 (including the first 5), two against superior-classed ships, and the last of the 8 engagements was a 2-to-1 duel, w/ the USN capturing both ships in turn!The Royal Navy ended this war clearly bested by a minor naval power.Unable to seek redress, at least the British have been able to re-write the history (in a novel)!Poor effort.

4-0 out of 5 stars No Etymologist He
The pace of THE FORTUNE OF WAR, sixth book in the Aubrey-Maturin series of sea-faring novels by Richard Russ (the real name of "Patrick O'Brian"), moves smartly along from cover to cover.The action aboard His British Majesty's frigates is guaranteed to hold the reader's interest, and the novel provides a fast and gripping experience, vicarious though it be, for the reader.

Of course, as with the other nineteen complete novels and the unfinished twentieth book of this series, it definitely behooves the reader to begin with the first (MASTER AND COMMANDER) and proceed through the books in the story line's chronological sequence.While the descriptions of naval warfare are thoroughly gripping regardless of the story line's chronology, each book contains references to characters that are far more meaningful if one has read the preceding volumes.

Also as in every other Russ/O'Brian novel that I have finished thus far, this one is not without a few stylistic weaknesses, which, although not numerous, are annoying and pretty well ensure that Russ/O'Brian is by no means the "five-star author" that less demanding readers have rated him.This one also contains a strange and spurious etymology for a common American expression that, were it to be spread today via the Internet, would merit the label of "urban legend."While there is never any question that Russ/O'Brian is a writer of fiction, this particular explanation is so superficially believable that it is decidedly in danger of being spread as accurate:

Maturin, captured by the American navy, ponders an American's expression that "hominy grits cut no ice with him."This is an unidiomatic use of the phase to start with, but that problem pales into insignificance in light of the explanation from another American speaker, who explains that it derives from Iroquois "katno aiss' vizmi" meaning "I am unimpressed."This is, in a word, balderdash.The so-called Iroquois is bogus, and numerous sources (try a simple Google search) thoroughly debunk that explanation of the origin of the phrase "cuts no ice."Now, it may be that Russ/O'Brian is attempting to interject some levity into his text at this point and never intended for any reader to take the "explanation" at face value.This becomes more apparent if one reads the supposed Iroquois words aloud.If indeed the author is writing this tongue-in-cheek, then it seems to be an inappropriate place in the story in which to interject humor and will likely be misinterpreted by most readers.Russ/O'Brian had best avoid slapstick as a genre.

The other stylistic shortcoming is one that we see again and again in the books of this series, the author's total disregard for transitioning between scenes.At one point, we see two characters, Maturin and young Herapath, approaching the Asclepia hospital in which Aubrey is recuperating, when they behold the elder Herapath leaving the building.Maturin speaks to his companion, saying, "Should you not relieve him of his burden...?Enlightened self-interest, no less than filial piety, demands such a course.Good day to you now, and I thank you for your company."
"Jack," he said, "how do you do?"

Somehow, instantaneously after speaking to Herapath, Maturin has been transported from the approach to the hospital into Aubrey's room inside the building.No time has elapsed, and no distance has been traversed.Even the transporter aboard the Starship Enterprise takes longer to move a character from one location to another!

Such instantaneous teleportation pops up again a hundred pages or so further on when Captain Broke speaks from the deck of his ship: "Pass the word for Dr. Maturin" and, in the very next sentence, addresses the man he has just sent for: "Dr. Maturin, how good of you to come."As written, the words even appear in the very same quotation, as though there were no more than a pause for the single period between the two sentences.The time it took for word to be conveyed to Maturin and for him to ascend to the deck has simply vanished without a trace.

As I have opined in reviews of other novels in this series, Russ/O'Brian may be considered a "good" writer for he does generate a captivating story line and is generally entertaining and attention-holding.However, his repeated stylistic weaknesses and gaffes surely preclude him from being considered "great" by any but the most superficial readers.Yet, because he does create a captivating historical fiction, I have little problem recommending his series to readers who enjoy the genre--just don't accept his analysis of American idiom at face value!

4-0 out of 5 stars At last!An historical error!
Aha!I got you, O'Brian!Johnson and the doctor are discussing turkey buzzards and such, and Johnson mentions that he expects to see a bald eagle's nest the following day at a friend's place "in the state of Maine".But Maine did not become a state until 1820; before that year, it was part of Massachusetts.

This is the last of the superb sextet which begins the series; then a decline in quality sets in, and the final few installments are just plain bad.But I would recommend the first six to anyone."The Fortune of War"belongs more to Maturin than Aubrey, who is without a command from very early in the book.It's quieter than its predecessors, with more inner monologue than action.

4-0 out of 5 stars Aubrey and Matarin seem more human than ever
Maybe the best of the series so far, in spite of or because of the long shore-bound center section when Aubrey and Matarin are unwilling guests (prisoners) of the US during the War of 1812.Both seem more human, more nuanced, than ever before.

Seventh in the series:The Surgeon's Mate

5-0 out of 5 stars Enter The War of 1812, and The United States
THE FORTUNE OF WAR is the sixth volume in Patrick O'Brian's masterful adventure series about Captain Jack Aubrey, R.N. and his dear friend, Dr. Stephen Maturin.Though the Aubrey-Maturin novels can stand more-or-less alone, the narratives are closely linked.THE FORTUNE OF WAR in this way finds Aubrey's ship, HMS Leopard, limping into the fictional bay of Pulo Batang in the Spice Islands, after its disastrous near-sinking by an iceberg in DESOLATION ISLAND.This volume has Aubrey and Maturin suffer two more disasters at sea before finding themselves prisoner in Boston.Earlier books in the series, in particular DESOLATION ISLAND, had had Americans figure into the story line, but this is the first in which the young American nation features prominently.The cause for this is the War of 1812, and now the focus of battle turns from the French and Spanish to the United States.

Maturin plays an especially strong part in the plot of THE FORTUNE OF WAR.Although the Aubrey -Maturin novels are historical nautical fiction, largely renowned for their accurate depiction of the early eighteenth-century Royal Navy, some of the novels may also be seen as part of the espionage genre, with Maturin serving as a spy on behalf of the British crown.In previous stories, for instance, Maturin suffered torture under the French for his espionage; in another instance, one closely tied to the plot of this story, he tricks the French into killing off a number of their intelligence assets.In THE FORTUNE OF WAR, Maturin's past catches up with him, and he is forced to take action of a sort that belies his reputation as a physician and gentle naturalist.

This novel is in some ways much stronger than the fifth volume, DESOLATION ISLAND, which, though having a strong finish, at times appeared to lose the wind in its sails.THE FORTUNE OF WAR makes it clear that O'Brian's ideas and storytelling remain strong and vibrant in this series; with so many volumes yet ahead, this is indeed reassuring.

As usual, O'Brian's research is thorough, yet the historical details don't overwhelm the story.The pace is fairly brisk, with only some stalling--perhaps appropriately so--in Boston.This is fortunately not caused so much by the reappearance of Diana Villiers, Stephen Maturin's great love of his life.(She is as welcome to this reader of O'Brian's stories as is Jack's wife, Sophie.)The wimpy minor character Michael Herapath, the son of a wealthy American trader, also reemerges.But I find him somewhat interesting for his passionate interest in Chinese poetry; this accurately reflects the growing interest in the nineteenth century in the literature of China, and is an example of the interesting ways O'Brian treats the reader with tastings of such historical esoterica.

THE FORTUNE OF WAR describes a couple of naval engagements.The one that features at the end of this novel is as good (if not better) as any rendered by Patrick O'Brian in any of the volumes up to this one.In it, O'Brian captures the technical details of the fighting while also conveying very effectively the horror of the moment (actually, fifteen minutes).It is crackerjack writing, vivid and spellbinding.

... Read more

14. The Hundred Days (Vol. Book 19)(Aubrey/Maturin Novels)
by Patrick O'Brian
Paperback: 320 Pages (1999-10-17)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$6.37
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0393319792
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Napoleon, escaped from Elba, pursues his enemies across Europe like a vengeful phoenix. If he can corner the British and Prussians before their Russian and Austrian allies arrive, his genius will lead the French armies to triumph at Waterloo. In the Balkans, preparing a thrust northwards into Central Europe to block the Russians and Austrians, a horde of Muslim mercenaries is gathering. They are inclined toward Napoleon because of his conversion to Islam during the Egyptian campaign, but they will not move without a shipment of gold ingots from Sheik Ibn Hazm which, according to British intelligence, is on its way via camel caravan to the coast of North Africa. It is this gold that Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin must at all costs intercept. The fate of Europe hinges on their desperate mission.Amazon.com Review
In this, actor Robert Hardy's fourth reading from PatrickO'Brian's celebrated historical novels, series heroes Jack Aubrey andStephen Maturin are in very different circumstances from when we firstmeet them. In Masterand Commander, the first of the series, Aubrey is young andfull of himself, and through Hardy's performance we can practicallyhear Aubrey's puffed-out chest. But in The Hundred Days, Aubreyis a commodore, famous throughout the British Empire for his navalexploits, and Hardy reflects the confidence that comes with thoseaccomplishments. Meanwhile, his best friend, surgeon-spy StephenMaturin, is wasting away as the audiocassette opens, in deep mourningfor his recently deceased wife. But soon enough, both are pulled intogreat adventure again--in this case, Napoleon's final campaign--andthe fate of the Empire rests on their ability to stop the fitting outof a new French fleet and to keep a shipment of gold from reaching amercenary army. (Running time: three hours, two cassettes) --LouSchuler ... Read more

Customer Reviews (62)

1-0 out of 5 stars Beware of Narrator
The item description says that it is read by Robert Hardy.The version I purchased was narrated by Simon Vance, the least desirable of the O'Brian narrators.Seller blames Amazon.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Aubrey-Maturin series is simply the best fiction ever written
Patrick O'Brian's "The Hundred Days" is the nineteenth book in Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin series.The Aubrey-Maturin books are quite simply the best fiction I've ever read.I enjoy them so much that I find it difficult to read any other fiction now.

Although there are twenty (completed) Aubrey-Maturin novels, in a sense they are one long, unending story.O'Brian tells the story of an unlikely pair of friends in early 19th century Britain: a hard-charging Royal Navy captain and an Irish physician and naturalist (and British spy).Both are devoted, for different reasons, to the fight against Napoleonic France.Captain Jack Aubrey and Doctor Stephen Maturin are dedicated friends, and the interplay between this unlikely pair is ranges from deep philosophical discussions to intended and unintended humor.

But what really makes these novels is Patrick O'Brian's writing style.Through his words, he paints wonderful pictures and creates real characters in brilliant narratives; which is good, because Aubrey and many of his exploits are based on real-life adventures during the Napoleonic Wars.

"The Hundred Days" is set during Napoleon's brief return to power in 1815.Aubrey's squadron is involved in the Mediterranean, and much of the book is devoted to efforts - both diplomatic and military - to prevent a Muslim ally of Napoleon from shipping gold to its allies in the Balkans to be used to prevent the Russian and Prussian armies from joining up.This book is a bit lighter on the sea action than many others in the series and doesn't stand out in the series.Still, this is an excellent book, but I recommend that everyone with any interest in historical fiction or the Royal Navy read the entire series in order.

5-0 out of 5 stars The master of the art of leadership writes a great tale
With Napoleon back in France after escaping from Elba, he needs to stop the arrival of Russian and Austrian troops sent to augmentBritish forces at Waterloo.He needs the help of Muslim mercenaries who work only for gold, gold supplied by a sheik in North Africa.
The team of Adm Aubrey and physician/master spy Dr. Maturin set about to intercept the shipment, both on land and at sea. A delightful example of Patrick O'Brien's mastery of the historical adventure novel.

3-0 out of 5 stars Disappointing entry in the series
Less than the best Captain Jack book, with a long slow middle section while Maturin is onshore in North Africa trying to cut off Muslim support for an escaped and restored Napoleon.Ends on an upbeat swing, though, as they capture a ship full of gold bound to support Napoleon, and find out that they will get to claim the gold as prize money.

Also disappointing is the way O'Brian handled the death of two supporting characters:Diana, Maturin's wife and a key and colorful character throughout the series, was killed off-stage as it were, with little drama and with surprisingly dispassionate grieving by Maturin and Jack, Maturin's one-time rival for her affections.Bonden, a long-time shipmate of the pair, was killed off in the short and otherwise nearly bloodless battle for the ship of gold, with only a bare sentence or two mention.

Twentieth in the series:Blue at the Mizzen (Aubrey/Maturin Series)

1-0 out of 5 stars Great reader; poor editing of material.
We made the mistake of buying this ABRIDGED version of The Hundred Days, not noticing the FINE PRINT. The reader was very good, but the material truncated, choppy, and not "up to snuff." If you are a devoted fan of the Aubrey-Maturin stories, hurry up and read, yes, read the book. There's not a moment to lose! ... Read more

15. The Complete Aubrey/Maturin Novels
by Patrick O'Brian
Hardcover: 6980 Pages (2004-10-17)
list price: US$200.00 -- used & new: US$126.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 039306011X
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
A handsomely bound omnibus edition of Patrick O'Brian's seafaring classics, including three chapters of the unfinished twenty-first novel.

The recent release of the film Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World has focused even more attention on the publishing phenomenon of the late Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin novels about the Royal Navy in the age of Nelson. These five volumes, beautifully produced and boxed, contain over 7,000 pages of what has often been described as a single, continuous narrative. They are a perfect tribute to such a literary achievement, and a perfect gift for the serious O'Brian enthusiast. 5 volumes, boxed, 1396 pages each volume. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (95)

1-0 out of 5 stars Only recieved one book?
Did not recieve the whole collection, was I supposed to? Only the last book in the collection.

4-0 out of 5 stars O'Brian novels
I am delighted with the boxed set of the complete Aubrey/Maturin novels by Patrick O'Brian. Amazon's delivery was speedy and successful.

These books are beautifully presented on quality paper. I thought that having up to four novels in one binding might make them too bulky to read comfortably - but I was wrong. They are well-proportioned, not too heavy or bulky and easy to read. The paper is good quality, font and type clear.

There is only one small blight on the reading experience, which may trouble a pedant, but it does not trouble me. I have only read one of the novels so far - The Fortune of War - and in this version, I am pretty sure that I detectedperhaps 3-4 typographical errors, or small glitches with the printing. I did not keep track of the, or note where they are exactly and I cannot now recall the detail. Suffice to say, I did notice one or two odd things, obvious mis-prints, but they did not mar my reading pleasure and I have no regrets and still recommend it highly.

5-0 out of 5 stars Adventure in a set!
Whoever has begun the "Master and Commander" series is hooked.And rather than borrowing back and forth, we just decided we needed the whole blooming set. We're extremely pleased.

5-0 out of 5 stars Never mind typos, always go straight at 'em!
Having seen the movie 'Master and Commander: the Far Side of the World', I'd always remembered the lesser-of-two-weevils pun.Being a fan of silly wordplay,and looking for a new (and hopefully interesting) series of novels, eventually I decided to look into Patrick O'Brian.

Yes, it's true - introduced to the author by a movie, never having read a single book, I calculated the price and the space involved and decided to spring for the complete series.Now, weeks later and having read every book, I am extraordinarily pleased to have made the purchase.

It's obvious these editions were derived from scanned copies, and typos are more common than is typical.But the size and sturdiness of the books, the typeface and the quality of the paper, and, most importantly, having all 20-and-a-bit of the novels right to hand and accessible is simply wonderful.I have never enjoyed a series of novels more; nor have I been brought so very low by turning a final page and realizing there would be no more of Aubrey or Maturin - or Killick or Awkward Davies or Sophie or Brigid or any of the dozens of other enchanting, exasperating characters that populate these stories.

The value of this compendium far outweighs the minor faults of its production.I'll be rereading this series again (and more than once, I'm sure), and I know these books will hold up to my avid attentions.

2-0 out of 5 stars Great stories, very poor quality
While the books of Patrick O'Brian are fantastic reads, this collections suffers greatly from several shortcomings.
1) They are simply poor quality. The paper is very thin and for hardcover volumes the boards are thin and flimsy. I expect these were cost-cutting measures by the publisher, but I still expect more for the purchase price.
2) There are too many type setting/copy editing/printing errors. While it is difficult to produce a single book without any printing errors, never mind 20 books, I find this collection to be extremely poorly copy edited/printed. In any given book there are usually upwards of 30 errors, and the number tends to increase as you work through the series. These usually take the form of gross misspellings or incorrect punctuation. While 30 some odd errors over 200-300 pages may not seem like much, I find it excessive and these certainly detract from the enjoyment of what are great stories.
So I find this collection to be poorly edited and produced. ... Read more

16. The Ionian Mission (Vol. Book 8)(Aubrey/Maturin Novels)
by Patrick O'Brian
Hardcover: 384 Pages (1994-11-17)
list price: US$24.00 -- used & new: US$12.02
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0393037088
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin, veterans now of many battles, return in this novel to the seas where they first sailed as shipmates. But a sudden turn of events takes them off on a hazardous mission to the Greek isles, where they are soon involved in fierce and thrilling action.Amazon.com Review
Aubrey and Maturin return to the choppy Mediterranean waters wherethey first served together, enforcing the Royal Navy's blockade ofToulon. Then the two companions are sent to the Greek Islands,where another series of maritime cliff-hangers awaits them. O'Brianperforms his peculiar narrative magic as adeptly as ever, putting (asThe Observer would have it) the "spark of character into thesawdust of time." ... Read more

Customer Reviews (22)

3-0 out of 5 stars Quick and cheerful Refund.
This book arrived with a torn page.When I shared this with the book seller, my money was quickly and cheerfully refunded.

3-0 out of 5 stars Port-bound; least interesting in the series so far
The least interesting of the Master and Commander series so far.This installment spends too much time in port, literally, as Captain Jack and Stephen Maturin are on blockade duty in the Mediterranean and then the Arabic coast, and get themselves interminably inserted into local Arabic politics.

Ninth in the series:Treason's Harbour (Aubrey Maturin Series)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Ionian Mission (Aubrey Maturin Series)
Husband loves this guy and is too busy reading to write a review.I think he is now on the 7th or 8th of the series

3-0 out of 5 stars worst one yet
I've read all his books up to this one. All are good, but this is the worst.

4-0 out of 5 stars a standard pleasure
Needing a reliable book for a long flight, I turned to a random O'Brian work.They never disappoint, and The Ionian Mission was true to form.I am about halfway through the series, and am avoiding the sequential order.It's very doable.All of the usual wit and nautical flourishes are here, and most readers will learn a good deal more about the foreign world of early nineteenth century nautical diplomacy and warfare.I was searching for a distinguishing theme in this book, as I seem to recall finding in others; this one was a little more elusive.Nevertheless,I particularly enjoyed to diplomatic intrigue in the Ottoman empire along with the discovery of Bach and the preparation for the Handel oratorio.Better still was the representation of how the foibles of career advancement played out in the British navy. ... Read more

17. Men-of-War: Life in Nelson's Navy
by Patrick O'Brian
Hardcover: 96 Pages (1995-11-17)
list price: US$23.00 -- used & new: US$6.58
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0393038580
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
The author of the acclaimed Aubrey/Maturin historical sea novels presents a concise, profusely illustrated description of daily life in Nelson's navy, including anecdotes about the battles and commanders that established Britain's naval supremacy.Amazon.com Review
Any Aubrey Maturin readerdetermined to learn the locations of the orlop and the mizenmast, theetiquette of epaulettes, or the range of a 32-pounder will delight inthis invaluable reference companion to O'Brian's epic and series.An exploration of what daily life was like in Nelson's navy,for everyone from the captain on down to the rawest recruit.Linedrawings and charts help us understandthe construction and rigging ofthe great ships, the types and dispositions of the guns, and how theyoperated in battle.Contemporary drawings and cartoons illustrateaspects of naval life from the press gang to the scullery.Finally, agenerous selection of full-color paintings renders the majesty and theexcitement of fleet actions in the age of fighting sail. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (10)

5-0 out of 5 stars The British Navy and the Napoleonic War: some other suggestions
Patrick O'Brian's lead characters, Capt. Jack Aubrey and Dr Stephen Maturin, live in the early 1800's, and during most of their active careers are part of the British Navy in its 20+ year war against France.Though the series is historical fiction, it is, I think, the best I've read.

Through O'Brian's series you LIVE in the world of those men, and boys, the lowest to the highest, during all types of situations, extremes of weather, war, violence and the boredom of long voyages by sail. See: The Wooden World: An Anatomy of the Georgian Navyby N.A.M.Rogers.

It took me at least twice to get "into" the first book...but stick with it (and read in order!) you become immersed in another world and another time. ( BTW,Capt. Aubrey is based on a real person of that era, a sea captain, Lord Cochrane. Cochrane: Britannia's Sea Wolfby DS Thomas, and Cochrane: The Real Master and Commanderby David Cordingly.)

There is another book that helps w/ the archaic language, particulary seafaring and early 19th century slang:A Sea of Words, Third Edition: A Lexicon and Companion to the Complete Seafaring Tales of Patrick O'Brianby Dean King, but though we have it, I did not use it. I found that reading the words in context helped, and they made sense.

Now, the food....so totally different from anything we eat now (Blood Pudding a real favorite!) is discussed in another separate book. Lobscouse and Spotted Dog: Which It's a Gastronomic Companion to the Aubrey/Maturin Novels (Patrick O'Brian)by Anne Grossman.That is worth a look! I do wish O'Brian had put a glossary in the back of each book, it would have been helpful.

I also read a very good biography of Lord Nelson, which gave a lot of information about that time period, the British Navy, and mainly his rather sad life. The Pursuit of Victory: The Life and Achievement of Horatio Nelsonby R. Knight, although the biography by Sudgen of which only part I is finished, is supposed to be "THE" biography of Nelson.See: Nelson: A Dream of Glory, 1758-1797 (John MacRae Books)by John Sugden.

Nelson fought in charge of the British fleet, at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, on the bridge, an active and fighting admiral.By then he had only one eye and one arm, and was arthritic.The one thing he asked, as he lay dying on his ship during battle, shot through the spine by a French sharpshooter, was that "England" and the "English people" (paraphrasing here) would look after his long-time mistress Lady Emma Hamilton,(see: England's Mistress: The Infamous Life of Emma Hamilton) and young daughter.Their fates were tragic, in view of what an enormous national hero Nelson was in his lifetime and after.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good basic outline
Brief outline of main points of interest in the Royal Navy. Excellent for those who do not wish too much detail.

5-0 out of 5 stars Getting started
After reading Patrick O'Brian's book,my only complaint is I wish it were longer.This is a reference companion to his Aubrey/Maturin Novels and I feel compelled to read them all.I feel this book does exactly what it intends, take someone as green as I and get them excited about reading his books anddoing some further research.Patrick o'Brian's love for the Royal Navy is contagious.

5-0 out of 5 stars Essential companion to Hornblower, Kent, Roberts, et al fans
Wow, I wish this book were in print when I was busy devouring the Hornblower series and the whole panoply of books I read that dealt with the sailing war ships of the 18th and 19th centuries.This handy little book written by a well-respected author of such nautical fiction lays it all out here for those who want to be able actually 'see' what the ships he has been reading about were really like.O'Brian does a brilliant job of simply and succinctly describing the conditions and routines of the men who manned these man o' wars.As an added bonus the full color reproductions of paintings, drawings and diagrams are absolutely SUPER.If I were you, I would not hesitate to purchase this book.You will not be sorry, of that I am quite sure.

5-0 out of 5 stars Navy life for armchair voyagers
Being a known Jane Austen buff, a colleague told me I ought to have a look at Patrick O'Brian's novels which cover the same period.It has often been remarked upon that Jane Austen ignored the wars taking place during her time.In fact, she did not. Key characters such as Captain Wentworth (Persuasion) and Fanny Price's brother William (Mansfield Park), were career shipmen whose merits are well-enunciated in her novels.Two of Miss (how everyone likes to call her "Miss"!) Austen's brothers were also career navymen.The Navy was all around her and she knew it but had no need, despite that famously interpreted reference to "rears and vices," to discuss Navy life or strategy.

Nevertheless, this reader is curious to know how these men lived away from the ordered, civilised life of those "three or four families" in that country village of which Austen writes and to which these men inevitably returned to marry.Here in MEN-OF-WAR: Life in Nelson's Navy, we learn about the ships, the gunnery, the lifestyle and the protocol of the 18th century British Navy which successfully defended England from an invasion led by Napoleon.

The information in this book is concise and easily comprehensible, thanks to an economical and cheerful writing style.Information is brilliantly illustrated by color photos of paintings, drawings, cartoons and models of sailing vessels.

On a final note, there is now a wave (pun intended) of interest in Patrick O'Brian as a result of the detailed film MASTERS AND COMMANDERS.The Navy lifestyle illustrated in this book is depicted in the film, to the advantage of both. ... Read more

18. The Hundred Days: Aubrey-Maturin Series Book 19
by Patrick O'Brian
Audio CD: Pages (2008-02-01)
list price: US$29.95 -- used & new: US$18.52
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1433209128
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When Napoleon escapes from Elba, the fate of Europe hinges on a desperate mission: Stephen Maturin must ferret out the French dictator's secret link to the powers of Islam, and Jack Aubrey must destroy it. Napoleon, like a vengeful phoenix, pursues his enemies across Europe. If he can corner the British and Prussians before their Russian and Austrian allies arrive, his genius will lead the French armies to triumph at Waterloo.

In the Balkans, a horde of Muslim mercenaries is gathering in support of Napoleon, but they will not move without a shipment of gold ingots, which is on its way via camel caravan to the coast of North Africa. It is this gold that Aubrey and Maturin must intercept at all costs. ... Read more

19. Blue at the Mizzen (Vol. Book 20)(Aubrey/Maturin Novels)
by Patrick O'Brian
Hardcover: 272 Pages (1999-11-17)
list price: US$24.00 -- used & new: US$2.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0393048446
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
The excitement of the Aubrey/Maturin series soars to new heights in this volume, as Jack, again the daring frigate commander of old, stakes all on a desperate solo night raid against the might of the Spanish viceroy in Peru.

Napoleon has been defeated at Waterloo, and the ensuing peace takes on an ugly complexion for Captain Jack Aubrey: drunken, violent celebrations of the English sailors in Gibraltar; the desertion of nearly half his crew; and the sudden dimming of his own career prospects in a peacetime navy. To cap it all off, the Surprise is nearly sunk in a shattering night collision on the first leg of her journey to South America, where Jack and Stephen are to help Chile assert her independence from Spain.

The delay occasioned by repairs reaps a harvest of strange consequences. The widowed Stephen Maturin experiences a startling emotional rebirth, and an amorous adventure in a mangrove swamp with the beautiful and accomplished naturalist Christine Wood leads to a proposal of marriage. Jack, meanwhile, is persuaded to accept as a midshipman the bastard of the Duke of Clarence (later King William IV). Young Horatio Hanson--officially unacknowledged, but clearly his father's favorite--is one of O'Brian's most engaging characters, and the distinction he earns in the coming campaign will have important repercussions on Jack's fortunes.

The South American expedition is a desperate affair, starting with near disaster in the ice-choked seas far south of the Horn, and further marred by bitter divisions in the Chilean naval command. In the end it is Jack's bold initiative to strike at the vastly superior Spanish fleet that precipitates the spectacular naval action that will determine both Chile's fate and his own.Amazon.com Review
Almost three decades after commencing his maritime epic with Master and Commander,Patrick O'Brian is still at it. The 20th episode, Blue at theMizzen, is another swashbuckling adventure on the high seas, completewith romantic escapades from smoggy London to Sierra Leone, diplomacy,espionage, the intricacies of warfare, and imperial brinksmanship. Asalways, these events are bound up in the ongoing friendship between twoofficers of the Royal Navy. Jack Aubrey is the naval captain, bold yetcompassionate, innovative yet cautious, as fearless in war as he isbumbling in affairs of the heart and household. His boon companion StephenMaturin is the ship's surgeon--and additionally a spy for the Britishgovernment, a wealthy Catalonian aristocrat, a doting Irish father, and an avidnaturalist.

That may sound like a lot to keep track of. However, it's not necessary tocarry around a scorecard or ship's roster while reading Blue at theMizzen. The ostensible issue is whether Jack will finally be promotedto Admiral of the Blue. But long before he hears any word from theNapoleonic era's equivalent of Personnel, he loses half his crew todesertion, his ship undergoes a disastrous collision, and the entirecompany comes close to perishing in the ice-choked seas off Cape Horn.Meanwhile, the widowed Maturin issues a surprising proposal of marriage toa beautiful, mud-bespattered fellow naturalist while trekking through anAfrican mangrove swamp. (The two lovebirds happen to be searching for arare variant of Caprimulgus longipennis, the long-tailed nightjar,which they hope to surprise in full mating plumage.)

Still, this is hardly a plot-driven novel. O'Brian takes time to getanywhere, and invariably enjoys the journey more than the arrival. So evenas we get constant hints of the climax to come--Jack's spectacular navalaction on behalf of the infant Republic of Chile--we don't mind hearingabout the nuances of shipboard existence or the secret life of thewhite-faced tree duck. We're treated, for example, to this snippet aboutmanaged care, circa 1816:

Poll, Maggie and a horse-leech from the starboard watch have beenadministering enemas to the many, many cases of gross surfeit that have nowreplaced the frostbites, torsions, and debility of the recent past, thevery recent past. Strong, fresh, seal-meat has not its equal for upsettingthe seaman's metabolism: he is much better kept on biscuits, Essex cheese,and a very little well-seethed salt pork--kept on short commons.
And we're grateful! We can only hope that the elderly author will favor uswith at least one more novel, so that his avid followers can avoid theirown form of short commons. Life without Aubrey and Maturin would be adeprivation indeed. --Andrew Himes ... Read more

Customer Reviews (59)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Aubrey-Maturin series is simply the best fiction ever written
Patrick O'Brian's "Blue at the Mizzen" is the twentieth and final book in Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin series.The Aubrey-Maturin books are quite simply the best fiction I've ever read.I enjoy them so much that I find it difficult to read any other fiction now.

Although there are twenty (completed) Aubrey-Maturin novels, in a sense they are one long, unending story.O'Brian tells the story of an unlikely pair of friends in early 19th century Britain: a hard-charging Royal Navy captain and an Irish physician and naturalist (and British spy).Both are devoted, for different reasons, to the fight against Napoleonic France.Captain Jack Aubrey and Doctor Stephen Maturin are dedicated friends, and the interplay between this unlikely pair is ranges from deep philosophical discussions to intended and unintended humor.

But what really makes these novels is Patrick O'Brian's writing style.Through his words, he paints wonderful pictures and creates real characters in brilliant narratives; which is good, because Aubrey and many of his exploits are based on real-life adventures during the Napoleonic Wars.

"Blue at the Mizzen" is set just after peace finally settled in Europe after Napoleon's defeat at Waterloo.After time spent at Gibraltar and in England, Aubrey and Maturin head to South America to help the Chilean independence movement.In the usual understated O'Brian style, he focuses much more on the people involved than the action at sea.After intrigue ashore and at sea, the book - and the series - end on the uplifting note that Aubrey can fly the blue flag of a rear admiral from his ship.The series ends there (because of O'Brian's death) , but the characters will live forever.

5-0 out of 5 stars Powerful writing drives series to the end
Now truthfully the last completed Captain Jack novel (one remaining partial book was published after O'Brian's death) does not disappoint, but finishes as it should.

Some things are wrapped up, but not all, as it should be, as life is not over for Aubrey, at the last made an Admiral of the blue flag (ordered to report to his own squadron of ships!) and Maturin, starting to think about his mortality but still looking forward to a positive response to his temporarily spurned marriage purposal to an old friend and fellow-widow.

Powerful writing about a time and a place and a set of friends that O'Brian brought to life and made you feel and see and love.

Twenty-first (and last--really!) in the series:21: The Final Unfinished Voyage of Jack Aubrey (Aubrey/Maturin Series)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Saga
While I have not read this group of books myself, I can tell you that my husband and son devoured these books and were left wanting more after completing the final book - Blue at the Mizzen. I have heard them discuss this collection at great length and I believe that they would be capable (and willing) of becoming deck hands in time of yore based on the brilliant descriptions of all aspects of the ships, equipment and food items which were sailed, implemented and consumed during those times.

Even after a couple of years, they will discuss Aubrey/Maturin conversations and philosophies and have even participated in tall ship events themselves!

If books can get you THAT excited about something, they must be well worth the read.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Great Addition to a Great Series
I went to see Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World mainly because I liked Russell Crowe in his Gladiator role and Napoleonic naval warfare is the subject I find interesting.

Be warned, these books are not simple reads or written in a way most would be familiar with. What makes them so great also makes them difficult and can turn a lot of people off of them. O'Brian uses language from the day not only among the characters, but in his narration as well. This creates, I my opinion, absolute immersion because one is forced to always read the language used in that period.

Another difficulty is the strongly pervasive use of naval jargon. Many people, myself included, have begun reading the series and turned towards the rear for a glossary of the terms O'Brian uses throughout his books. You can turn and look, but you will not find one. The only clue you will get is a small picture of a ship at the beginning of every book that lists which sails are which. That's it, a small picture as a guide and you are immediately transported to the beginning of the nineteenth century.

My advice is that if you like to read, you need to check these books out. You will not understand a lot of what you read for a while but it only gets easier as you go. By comparison, Milton's Paradise Lost or Dante's Inferno are much harder to get accustomed to than this series. Interestingly enough, as time passes you will begin to comprehend almost as a foreign speaker begins to understand a language when surrounded by it for long enough. On my second time through, I am reading it with a fluency achieved by many months of nightly readings in the recent past.

More than anything else, these books are about a friendship. The complex and sometimes strained relationship between the two primary characters, Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin, serve as the foundation upon which all other plot points are laid. Maturin, the small, well educated, scientific and rather unattractive physician is as perfect a foil as I have encountered in literature. His presence amplifies Jack's clear role as the tall, blond, strong and dumb-except-in-naval-matters hero. Although polar opposites in many ways, their one similarity (love of music) binds them together in the unlikeliest of friendships.

As I have lengthily stated, this series is driven by the characters and specifically by the two main ones Jack and Stephen. By series end, one almost feels like they are a part of this relationship. You can almost feel the heave of the ship beneath your feet as you sit in Jack's cabin strumming along on the latest Bocherini piece with he and Stephen. It is this intimacy and immersion that makes these books so great. Every turn of events is meaningful because it feels not as if it is befalling a mere character in a novel, but rather, one of your closest friends. Any who are curious should certainly give these books a try. You'll find yourself totally immersed in no time, or black's the white of my eye.

2-0 out of 5 stars Asleep at the Watch
Immerse yourself once again in the seafaring adventures of Captain Jack Aubrey and his ship's surgeon Stephen Maturin as they roam the almost unexplored oceans of the early 17th century, and participate in the bittersweet "liberation" of Chile.The 85 year-old O'Brian's flawless dialogue and meticulous attention to detail makes this book -- like the rest of the series -- a historical tour de force.Unfortunately after 20 previous books, Aubrey and Maturin have few surprises left, and hundreds of pages filled with the impenetrable politics and minutia of daily naval life may be as stupefying as Dr. Maturin's regular doses of laudanum and hellebore for readers unaware that a great naval battle invariably lurks in the closing pages.O'Brian addicts will welcome another chance to visit their favorite characters, but people new to O'Brian should visit the earlier, fresher books of the series -- say "The Far Side Of The World."

-- Auralgo ... Read more

20. Treason's Harbour
by Patrick O'Brian
 Unknown Binding: Pages (1992-01-01)

Asin: B003HFPALO
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (21)

4-0 out of 5 stars Does Mr. Midshipman Williamson have two hands?
In "The Ionian Mission," Mr. O'Brian causes Mr. Williamson to lose an arm:

And a third [ball], fired as Jack was giving Williamson orders
to carry forward, took the boy's arm off at the elbow.

Now, in this next novel, Mr. Williamson washes face, neck, and both hands. Actually, throughout this novel, Mr. Williamson works like a midshipman with two hands (and arms).

Otherwise, this is another fascinating O'Brian novel.

5-0 out of 5 stars MUST READS, All
I eventually purchased the entire collector's edition of O'Brien's Aubrey/Maturin series, and I could not put them down.I started at Book One and flew through the final book.Fascinating, wonderful, informative, spell-binding.I hated to turn the last page of the last book.It was almost as though you were actually there.You knew to expect that, if it was a Wednesday, that meant the crew would be fed salt-horse, etc. I wish I had purchased the thesarus, so that I would have understood better/sooner all of the sea-farer's jargon.One of the things I found myself enjoying, as well, was recognizing the "origin" of so many of the phrases we use today:"coming to grips," the "skuttle-butt,""first-rate" (vs. second-rate, third-rate, etc.) -- but there they are, and now they make better sense.An awesome read.

4-0 out of 5 stars Excitement Afloat and Intrigue Ashore
My opinion of TREASON'S HARBOUR, ninth book in the Aubrey-Maturin series, changed in the process of reading it.At the beginning, I was bit dismayed to find that the plot dealt with an on-shore scenario, in the shipyard at Malta, to be precise, since I have found the author's treatment of Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin to be pretty boring whenever he has them off the water.This time, however, the reader is treated to a rather interesting situation of international intrigue, with French agents using British collaborators to gather military intelligence.There are at least two significant collaborators, too, one rather highly placed in the government and who has fallen into such debt through his poor card skills that he is beholden to the French for funds.The other, Mrs. Fielding, believes her husband to be a prisoner of the French and her information to be the sole thing keeping him alive.Maturin, as we might expect, skillfully uses her to feed false information to the French, which, of course, puts her life in jeopardy should the French discover the ruse.

Now, here we are, following this spy-versus-spy intrigue when suddenly Aubrey receives orders that send him and Maturin to sea again.Now, the plot lopes along as it always does when our characters become seaborne, and the reader is treated to Richard Russ's (real name of "Patrick O'Brian") galloping descriptions of the ship, her frisky flight before the wind, and her captain's skill at evading and sometimes engaging the French ships he encounters.However, at this juncture, the reader is also wondering what the heck is happening to poor Mrs. Fielding back in Malta and whether or not we'll ever learn her fate at the hands of the French agents.I was quite ready to give this book a grudging three stars for changing the plot in midstream and leaving Fielding hung out to dry, so to speak.

However, we do get to return to Malta and resume the spy story, suddenly given more impetus by the fact that Mr. Fielding is no longer a prisoner and is, in fact, returning to Malta himself.As soon as the French agents suspect that Mrs. Fielding is aware of this and so have no further control over her, her life will be forfeit.

I must say that Russ/O'Brian does follow through with the plot threads in this book and treats the reader to almost as much suspense and excitement on shore as on the deck of an ocean-borne ship.This is a very welcome change to his earlier books which, as I have noted, tend to become plodding when their story lines leave the sea.This is not to say that Russ/O'Brian ties up all the loose ends and gives the reader a satisfying denouement at the end of the book.No, as is characteristic of some authors who plan sequels, some loose ends are definitely, and probably intentionally, left hanging, including the fact that Maturin never has a clue as to who the high-official collaborator is and continues to send him sensitive data!We must wait until the later books in this on-going saga provide a satisfactory end to that particular thread.

On a final note, I am delighted that Russ/O'Brian's writing skills appear to be improving.True, he still delights in throwing about nautical terms, and some nautical slang, as though he expected his readers to be old tars from the Royal Navy.Here is a lovely example:"Davis would give her foretopsail bowline an extra swig-off for what he considered smartness; and being a horribly powerful man with poor coordination he would sometimes pluck the bridle bodily out of the cringles."One really feels sorry for that poor bridle and greatly hopes that the cringles can recover.Fortunately, Russ/O'Brian's tendency to truncate space and time and cram an action or a bit of speech against another without a decent interval, a weakness that I have illustrated in reviews of almost all of the eight earlier books in the series, has absented itself from this one.Bravo, Russ!It took eight books, but I believe you're finally learning how to write!Now, on to the tenth book in the series, THE FAR SIDE OF THE WORLD.

In summary, I found TREASON'S HARBOUR to be a generally captivating read.There was the usual exciting action at sea and, for a change, intriguing action on land.The author's stylistic weaknesses were much improved over his earlier books, bridles and cringles notwithstanding.Wish he hadn't left the spy undiscovered, for I hate to end a book with a plot thread left unresolved, but perhaps that thread will be resumed in a subsequent book.This technique obviously makes for good entrepreneurism if not, perhaps, for great literature.

3-0 out of 5 stars Missing the spark of action comedy and comradery
Second straight entry in the series that didn't live up to O'Brian's standard.Not bad, just missing the spark of action, comedy, and comradery that makes the Jack Aubrey/Stephen Maturin pairing so much fun to read.

But its a long series.Better is ahead.

Tenth in the series:The Far Side of the World (Aubrey Maturin Series)

5-0 out of 5 stars Interesting Installment
I started reading this series a little more than a year ago, and have been pacing myself. I found that once I had gotten used to the style of the first novel, I could easily consume the series and decided to slow down. A year later I arrive at this installment. It took me a few days to decide how I felt about it, but I have decided that its one of the best in the series.

Like other reviewers, I agree that this series is much like one long novel, and that each volume could be considered a chapter. This is not one of the more action oriented installments, but is full of intrigue and complexity which is itself exciting. I have found that while some of the books are more "broadside and boarding axe" heavy, others are more character driven, as is this one.

Probably more surprising than the activities of Mr. Wray, is the demise of Admiral Harte, whom we assume is lost in an explosion during one of the few battle scenes in the book.

I suggest this to any fan of the series, but like others I strongly suggest starting with the first volume and working towards this one. ... Read more

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