Master and Commander

Master and Commander S Britain S Nelson Leads Navy Against Napoleon S France Captain Jack Aubrey, Newly Promoted To Old, Slow HMS Sophie, Is A Brave And Gifted Seaman, His Thirst For Adventure And Victory Immense Aided By Friend And Skilled Ship Surgeon Stephen Maturin, Aubrey And Crew Win Clashes, Finally Hopelessly Outmatched By A Mighty Spanish Frigate

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[Read] ➫ Master and Commander By Patrick O'Brian –
  • Paperback
  • 411 pages
  • Master and Commander
  • Patrick O'Brian
  • English
  • 01 August 2018
  • 9780393307054

10 thoughts on “Master and Commander

  1. says:

    This story posed a bugger of a ratings quandary for yours truly While reading it I was bouncing around between everything from a bountiful 5 star rating for pure quality of writing, hefty historical detail and superbly drawn characters, all the way south to a skimpy 2 star for less than engaging plotting, iceberg like pacing and noticeable lack of emotional resonance Finally, in my best impression of Solomon, I settled on a solid, if not quite ebullient, 3 stars based on the fact that I was deeply impressed with many aspects of the book I just didn t enjoy it enough to go above that That said, before I get into specifics of the book, I do recommend this book to fans of classic literature, naval adventures and historical fiction because the literary quality is certainly there O Brian knows his stuff I m going to forego a thorough plot synopisis since some many other reviews have checked that box so admirably Therefore, I thought I would just give my impression of a few aspects of the book that really impressed me and those that left me less than enthused I M IMPRESSED On the impressive side, the novel s historical detail is outstanding Everything from music, to food, to medicine, to science, to clothing, to social interactions within the various class systems, to military life on board a naval vessel during the Napoleonic Wars are described in extraordinary and wonderful detail O Brian makes you feel as if you are truly looking through a time machine into an earlier period In addition, while this is only my subjective opinion, I got the feeling that the social attitudes and inner disposition of the main characters rang very true for the period.High, high marks for authenticity Also very kudo worthy is the quality of O Brian s prose The story, though written in the latter half of the 20th century, has the elegant, polished feel of classic literature that brings to mind Dickens and Austen Lush yet controlled and very easy on the eye I found the writing to be perfectly in sync with the subject matter being described Finally, I was also very impressed with the two main characters of Jack Aubrey and Steve Maturin They were fully fleshed in three dimensions and drawn with a tremendous amount of nuance so that you saw you could really get to known them They certainly have the potential to become characters that will stay with you for a long time.LESS THAN THRILLED Unfortunately, there was one important aspect of the book that I didn t love and it really hampered my reading experience Basically, I never found myself truly pulled into the narrative or engaged with the plot At least not as much as I would have liked It is possible that the tone of the prose, which is deliberately understated, was part of the issue for me Without that connection, everything just seemed too dry which dampened my enjoyment of the book as a whole Still, I liked the book and intend to read the next volume in the series because I know if I get pulled into the narrative by the characters, the rest of the story would be much enjoyable and could become a very special series.3.0 stars Recommended.

  2. says:

    The classic high seas adventure In the year 1800, Jack Aubrey sits next Stephen Maturin at a musical performance in Port Mahon, Minorca, a base of the British Royal Navy in the Mediterranean Sea between Spain and Italy They immediately rub each other the wrong way Both are snappish because of other issues in their lives, and they part planning on next meeting for a duel But when Jack is given his first command of a ship, all is forgiven, and he needs a ship s surgeon who better than Stephen Stephen, down on his luck, is happy to accept And so begins the first Aubrey Maturin voyage, with Stephen conveniently playing the role of landlubber who needs to be informed of everything naval, so the reader can be informed along with him I have to say this book was pretty rough sailing in parts The massive amount of naval and nautical jargon about sank me, and I got a bit lost in some of the battle descriptions My book club pretty much unanimously felt the same way we all floundered a little The funniest part of the book club meeting was when one of the ladies was excitedly telling the rest of us about her favorite scenes in the book, and we didn t remember any of them I finally asked her to show us the cover of her book it was The Far Side of the World, the 10th book in this series This 1969 book is the first in a series of 21 books and, though it doesn t end on a cliffhanger, the novel felt a little unfinished to me, like a set up for an ongoing story than a self contained book It s also very episodic, kind of like you re on a real life journey with the characters But I can t in good conscience rate Master and Commander less than 4 stars the amount of research that went into this book was incredible, even if O Brian could have done a better job of making it accessible to the reader Patrick, said one of his friends, can be a bit of a snob The characters were well rounded, with some very human flaws Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin are very different from each other, but they complement each other well Jack is brash and bluff, a womanizer in port, and just a little shallow at this point in his life, although he can be a genius at sea Stephen is intelligent, curious and a gifted natural scientist, with a hidden past It will be interesting to see how their personalities develop in following books.The plot was complex, with the author doing that sometimes frustrating thing Dorothy Dunnett does the same where something happens or someone says something and you can tell it s significant, but you can t figure out why because the author isn t spoonfeeding you everything.There s a lot of humor in the story, some of it so dry that it s blink and you miss it At one point Jack and Stephen are at a fancy dinner party held by Captain and Mrs Harte Mrs Harte is sleeping around on her husband Stephen loses his napkin and dives below the table to get it He beheld four and twenty legs Colonel Pitt s gleaming military boot lay pressed upon Mrs Harte s right foot, and upon her left quite a distance from the right reposed Jack s scarcely less massive buckled shoe.Course followed course But in time Mrs Harte rose and walked, limping slightly, into the drawing room.In a 1991 New York Times book review, Richard Snow called this series the best historical novels ever written On every page Mr O Brian reminds us with subtle artistry of the most important of all historical lessons that times change but people don t, that the griefs and follies and victories of the men and women who were here before us are in fact the maps of our own lives Highly recommended for readers who want a mentally challenging historical novel.Bonus content There s a fantastic interactive map of the journeys of the ship Sophie in Master and Commander at Spoilers ahoy This one was a twofer IRL book club read, February 2016 2016 Classic Bingo challenge, Catching up on Classics group.

  3. says:

    Jack Aubrey, the frustrated naval officer, at last, after a long wait, on shore, receives his own ship to command, the brig Sophie, but by the strange ways of the British Royal Navy , called a sloop The year 1800, Napoleon is unstoppable on land, but the British rule the Seas In Port Mahon, on the Mediterranean island of Minorca, captured from the Spanish, allies of the French Aubrey tries to gets his ship ready, war rages, it has for many years He, a music lover, meets Stephen Maturin, on dry land, during a private concert, in the Governor s House, a doctor they desperately need on the Sophie, enemies at first, but later become good friends An educated man and scientist, too, is the physician Inspecting his crew, the First Lieutenant second in command , is another Irishman, James Dillion Like Stephen, both were secretly rebels, in the unsuccessful rebellion of 1798, back in their native land, and fugitives now After much work, the ship is finally ready for duty, small but adequate, but his men still need training, many days of it When he goes to see the Admiral, Lord Keith, to thank him, his bride Quenney is also there, a close friend, the former neighbor and tutor of Jack s, in his youth It doesn t take long, for the astonished Aubrey, to guess how he got to be captain But Captain Harte, commandant in Port Mahon, will not help the new master and commander of the Sophie, with needed material and supplies, the jealous man, knows about his wife Molly s, dalliance with him He receives help elsewhere, though Leaving the great harbor, on convoy duty, in his first assignment, at sea, protecting merchantman s ships, heading east, to Italy A surprise attack by Moors, from North Africa, guns blaze, plenty of broadsides are fired and a few hit, destruction occurs, but he does well and all arrive safely The beautiful Mediterranean Sea, is full of enemies but storms can be as deadly, the Sophie discovers Rolling and going up high into the sky, and down deep into the valley , of water, while looking at the sea above them, yes, you have to have a strong stomach to be a sailor, and a little nuts too Luck is with Aubrey and he lives to take prize ships of their foes, and a share of the profits also, back to port His crew naturally love him, they share the money, and seamen always can use some extra cash So a small increase of drinking, on shore, wine, women and song, what s the harm Don t ask the natives of Minorca, or the tavern owners More tense sea battles with enemy warships, French and Spanish ships of the line , some larger and with a greater number of guns, they foolishly followed Aubrey, but he is a very brave man, maybe too much soExciting novel, the first of twenty, by Patrick O Brian, if you don t get seasick, it will be a very pleasant read and voyage.

  4. says:

    You know, I ve often been annoyed by the fact that so many times, I never get to experience something the way it was intended, or to its fullest Because someone else always gets there first, and someone s else s eyes are always put in front of mine before I get the chance to do it for myself I recall writing a very emotional paper on Vermeer s Girl With a Pearl Earring, the Chevalier book and the movie that followed along these lines Yeah, I was a silly teenager I often see the parodies of many things before I see the things themselves but I guess that s both postmoderism and a modern culture that endlessly, endlessly reaches into the past to mine for stories to sell in the present But in this case, I choose not to be annoyed by the fact that it was a blonde ified Russell Crowe who first introduced me to Patrick O Brian s Aubrey Maturin series because once you experience these books for themselves, there s really no way that any reinterpretation can top the greatness of the real thing.Whatever I had expected from this series, I got something entirely different I don t know what I had in my head some swords, some Huzzah s and sweeping music, set against a background of crashing waves and imperialist era English bravado And oh sure, that was all there, but not until much later, and I didn t even notice it tick off on my register of preconceived parameters Master and Commander opens with Jack Aubrey s mental impressions of attending a Polite Society musical concert something that wouldn t have a place in any other seafaring tale, but is indispensible for this particular story Without giving anything too much away, the story follows Jack Aubrey and the physician Stephen Maturin through various adventures and misadventures of the naval life during the Wars with the French the book opens in 1800, technically right before Napoleon s total control of the situation , and deals with everything, in terms of events, from the dissection of a dolphin to the etiquette attending relations among naval officers and their responsibilities, relations with enemies some of the scenes with opposing French officers were exquisitely hilarious as well as revealing of history , to rip roaring and incredibly suspenseful pageturning naval engagements of every size and scale We read the naval engagements out loud, and I wouldnt ve had it any other way don t miss out on someone s dramatic, impatient voice trying to get to the next words when reading this one.In terms of larger themes there are a staggering lot of them dealt with in this book This is not simply an adventure tale by a long shot The characters both outwardly and psychologically deal with a range of issues that torment them in various ways Just to deal with a few the very complicated and paradoxically precarious and set in stone class system of the time, the nature of nationalism and nations, the effects of a life of violence upon the men who undergo it and a society that depends upon it, the Irish characters that have to deal with the fallout of the Irish Rebellion and general inter cultural and inter religious politics, money money money that makes the world go round, the proper motivations of a man, and ultimately, the questions of identity that endlessly pick apart these men s brilliant facades Set perfectly at a time when the Age of Enlightenment was still the dominant mirror of the time, but with Romanticism and where it comes from easily to be seen peeking around a corner Maturin and Aubrey perfectly straddle this era, with all the best that can be from those particular traditions, and some of their flaws as well.O Brian is a brilliant illustrator of character and particularly of the inner life of the mind, and is able to express everything about his characters that needs to be said through a combination of thoughts and action that both move the plot along, and bring give us depth into the life of the men and women who populate this novel As a caveat for this, there are a few characters such as the avaricious Mr Ellis and Molly Harte, who do suffer from a bit of stereotyping, but I m willing to accept them as ciphers because they re such entertaining ones He s able to show us what these people would be like to grow up squabbling with, to sit next to at dinner, and deal with professionally His evocations of Jack Aubrey s enthusiasms and despairs are particular favorites of mine, I want to wrap them up in a big bear hug and never let them go I feel I ve been acquainted with whole people who are not mere Heroes Who Wave About a Shining Sword, or Villains With Moustaches and yet, I feel as if I have read a novel that would normally be inhabited by those people, if you see what I m saying With somewhat largely the same tones and people and events but I m getting filled in about parts that another author couldn t give a shit about, by the guy who writes awesome footnotes a la Susanna Clarke, which are better than the story sometimes.And of course, I cannot say enough about the language Please, I beg of you, do not be frightened off by O Brian s incredibly researched naval cant and constant incantations of ropes, sales, decks, and navigational terms I reached the end of the book still not knowing what about half the terms here meant, and do you know what I don t really even think it matters I looked up some of the terms that were coming up every page, sure, and do that if you must, but don t give up Just listen to it, just imagine someone s voice saying it you ll figure it out like those first grade exercises in context clues, you ll get the gist of it O Brian will take care of you, I promise Just listen to the singsong tone this man loves language, and it doesn t need a rhyming sailor to tell me that He could have written this as Rhapsodies on a Naval Theme, really It would have been a beautiful symphony Just go with it it doesn t matter if they re turning 45 degrees to the right to tack into the wind coming from the mainland in order to swing around the back of a ship trust me, when they fire the guns and bust up the stern, you ll know what s going on, or you ll figure it out pretty quickly Of course, you do have to pay attention, and you should truly, this man s manipulation of the English language and frequently, corruptions of it is something to see.So yeah, I think I m ready if there s a Robot Chicken Does Jack Aubrey Pretty sure nothing can kill my totally unironic love for these amazing books Can t wait to keep reading PS History sticklers, yes, I did classify this as Regency , and yes I am aware that the actual Regency does not begin until 1811, but I m using the looser Regency definition that encompases culture and thought and George III s decline, even if the Regency wasn t official yet So there I sniff in your general direction

  5. says:

    The music room in the Governor s House at Port Mahon, a tall, handsome, pillared octagon, was filled with the triumphant first movement of Locatelli s C major quartet The players were playing with passionate conviction as they mounted towards the penultimate crescendo, towards the tremendous pause and the deep, liberating final chord Thus the first sentence of Master and Commander thus begins the grand series of historical novels penned by Patrick O Brian over the last three decades of the last century The author.Patrick O Brian 1914 2000 was born Richard Patrick Russ in Buckinghamshire, of an English physician of German descent, and an English woman of Irish descent The eighth of nine children, he lost his mother at the age of four, and led a fairly isolated childhood, limited by poverty He married his first wife in 1936, had two children, one of whom died young worked as an ambulance driver in the second War, and possibly in intelligence of some sort got divorced in July 45 married a second time a woman whom he lived with happily until her death in 1998 and soon after changed his name to Patrick O Brian In the half century plus that he and his second wife lived together, a few early years were spent in Wales, but mostly they lived in a Catalan town in the south of France Besides the Aubrey Maturin series of novels, O Brian wrote several other fictional books, some collections of short stories, three non fiction works including books on Picasso and Joseph Banks , and translated works, by both Henri Charriere the Papillon books and by Simone de Beauvoir, into English.But it is for the Aubrey Maturin series that O Brian is best known, and for which he will be long remembered This was not always the case, however Master and Commander,the first book in the series, appeared in 1969, and in the years following, as additional books in the series appeared, they gained modest readership in both England and the U.S Then in 1988 an editor at W.W Norton, Starling Lawrence, discovered the novels and Norton began publishing them They attracted serious critics and reviewers, sales took off, and O Brian spent the remainder of his days as a public author not so welcome, since he enjoyed his privacy and also a much better remunerated one welcome, I presume The last two years of his life, after his wife died, were a very difficult time for O Brian, though he did continue to write He died in Dublin.The series Aubrey Maturin refers to the two main characters in the novels There are twenty completed books in the series, which take place in chronological order The first novel begins in 1800 at Port Mahon, on the island of Menorca in the Balearics The British had recaptured the island from France in 1798 and were using Port Mahon as a key naval base in the Mediterranean The twentieth novel takes place in 1815, after Napoleon s defeat at Waterloo, and thus is the only one of the series to not take place in the period of the Napoleonic Wars This conflict provides the general historic backdrop as the novels progress though in fact the internal chronology of the books is quite bizarre, due to the fact that O Brian had no idea at the outset that twenty novels would be written, squeezed into a period of fifteen historic years which had mostly been used up by the sixth book See There is a final 21st novel, The Final Unfinished Voyage of Jack Aubrey, published in the U.S under the title 21 This work was incomplete when O Brian passed away in 2000.The series is set in almost all the seas of the world the Southern Ocean, the Mediterranean, the South Pacific, the Indian Ocean, the Atlantic, the waters around the China Sea and on land too in all these areas, with adventures involving exploration, espionage, interaction with political as well as naval power The ups and downs of the main character s careers, their love lives, their wins and losses in the game of life, all told brilliantly in the evolving history of the early nineteenth century.O Brian is a master of character, whose writing has actually been compared quite often to Jane Austen s Thus his historical novels are felt by many including me to transcend the genre and in so doing approach the altar of classic literature.Technical interlude O Brian schooled himself in the most detailed knowledge of the ships of this age, not only of Great Britain s but of many other nations and in the arcane terms and methods which were used in sailing them This is why each of the books has the illustration depicted above spread over two pages right up front The reader needs this diagram to understand even partially something like the following As the wind came round on to the beam they set staysails and the fore and aft mainsail Now, with the studdingsails in, the chase or the ghost of the chase, a pale blur showing now and then on the lifting swell could be seen from the quarter deck A book, A Sea of Words, was published many years after the series started appearing It contains a wealth of additional information about the ships, about sailing terms, and about many of the lands, political groups, animals, birds, and plants mentioned in the series This is only a mention, not an endorsement I have looked at it briefly, but never tried using it while reading the novels This book introduces the two main characters in the series Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin, who become acquainted by chance when they both attend the chamber music concert at the Governor s House.Jack Aubrey is an officer of the Royal Navy, who has just been given his first command as Captain of His Majesty s Sloop Sophie Maturin is an Irish physician, whose background and activities beyond medicine are revealed piece by piece through the first few books.Aubrey needs a ship s surgeon, and Maturin is his man Thus begins the saga I m not bothering to offer any plot summary here I don t really like them If you want one, see view spoiler The Sophie is a fictional counterpart of an actual ship in the Royal Navy, Speedy Not only that, but some of Jack Aubrey s exploits in the first few books of the series are similar to naval actions which a couple of the captains of Speedy achieved in her years around 1800 See hide spoiler

  6. says:

    ii I m at it again, but this time I opened up my Aubrey Maturin reread by listening It took a month of commuting, but it was worth the time and the patience, and though I have gleaned no new insights into Master and Commander, my enjoyment of the audio experience was than fulfilling enough.O Brian wasn t a big fan of the audio versions of his books, nor of the men reading them To revert to my ideal reader he would avoid obvious emotion, italics and exclamation marks like the plague trying to put life into flat prose is as useful as flogging a dead horse As a fan of O Brian s flat prose, however, and one who is only coming to the audio books after having read the novels multiple times, the life that his readers bring to the characters is as welcome as a fine Madeira off Gibraltar.I ve long heard that Patrick Tull is the man to listen too when it comes to Aubrey Maturin books, but my MP3 copy of Master and Commander was read by Simon Vance I was a little disappointed at first because I wanted to hear and engage with Tull s reported excellence, but once Vance s vocal performance began, once Stephen and Jack were jostling one another during the concert at the Governor s Mansion, I was content.The voices of Jack and Stephen took some getting used to and I am not a fan of Vance s Spanish accent , but the range of his vocalizations is quite impressive And I really enjoyed his narrative voice It is clear, emotive without being too much so, and he offers a real liveliness during Naval actions I think my favorite part of his reading, though, was his characterization of First Lieutenant James Dillon Dillon is an important corner of the first book s Aubrey Maturin Dillon triangle, and his presence is key to the love Aubrey and Maturin come to have for one another Vance captures the subtlety of this, making Dillon likable even when he s being unfair to Jack as it should be.It was such a good experience that I have already purchased Post Captain Tull may be the best reader of Aubrey Maturin, but don t be afraid of Vance, especially if you ve not heard Tull before, he does a commendable job i When I do finally get around to writing my PhD, I want to do my work on Patrick O Brian s Aubrey Maturin series It offers endless possibilities for critical analysis and even possibilities for discussion One could paint politics, science, sports, warfare, literary allusions, sexuality, manners, and all things naval of Aubrey Maturin without ever tiring the possibilities, and these are only the broadest strokes Each of these themes and countless others I haven t mentioned generate focused areas of specialization that could cover everything from the most general to the most minute.But when you re rereading Master and Commander in my case it s the first rereading , most of those concerns take a backseat to the simple strength of O Brian s vision Everything you need to know about Lucky Jack Aubrey and Dr Stephen Maturin takes shape in O Brian s masterpiece of an inaugural novel, and one wonders how much of O Brian s twenty and a half books he had in his mind the day he sat down to start writing the story with his pen and paper The first book foreshadows the last, and for a series that reaches upwards of 10,000 thousand pages, that level of coherence and depth is a tremendous feat.We learn of Jack s genius at sea and his social ineptness on land We learn of his needy ego and unquenchable desire for advancement We learn of his fierce loyalty and his even fiercer libido We learn of his pure love for his ships and how that love opens him up to emotional wounding We re introduced also to nearly every person who will be important to Jack, for good or ill, over the course of his career.We learn of Stephen s love for naturalism and physic We learn of his deep loyalty of and care for Jack We get hints, if we are paying close attention, to his role as a spy and his frighteningly dangerous temper We are introduced to his loathing of Napoleon and his indifference to King George We are shown the earliest manifestations of his shipmates respect for his skills, and his absolute inability to understand anything nautical We even get a hint that he will never leave Jack s side.And of course we are introduced to Jack s fiddle, Stephen s cello and Killick s toasted cheese, which are at the heart of what I think is the most compelling component of the Aubrey Maturin books the intimacy between Jack and Stephen.No matter whom they marry, whom they hate, whom they love, whom they care for, whom they save, whom they kill, they are and will always be the most important people in each others lives from the moment they bump heads at the concert to the last moment of 21, Aubrey and Maturin are intimates in every emotional sense of the word They are intimate in a way that Holmes and Watson, Crusoe and Friday, and Jeeves and Wooster never approach They are as close as two humans can be, and I find myself longing for that companionship Of course it is impossible, but I can live vicariously through Aubrey Maturin, and for any man longing for intimacy in a world that denies men intimacy, Master and Commander, and every book that follows, is a boon companion in a lonely world.Next up Post Captainagainand I can t wait.

  7. says:

    I loved the film, and really, really wanted to love this book with plans to go on and read others in the series but with the exception of perhaps the first chapter, I found the first hundred pages to be sheer drudgery O Brian is obviously a brilliant writer and scholar, but the lengths to which he luxuriates in nautical lingo coupled with the already flowery however beautiful vernacular of the time rendered the text incredibly inaccessible in terms of a casual read I m years out of school now, and have nothing to prove to myself or anyone else I just want to enjoy and understand what I read There are too many books in the world, and life s too short, and if all I can do while I m reading is cast longing glances at the next book on my bedside table, it s time to move on.

  8. says:

    Maybe it s a blasphemy, but I prefer the Aubrey Maturin series to all others, even Holmes Watson Every book is packed to absolute straining with erudition, wit, history, and thunderous action I read two books from the series every year they re reliable standbys when I absolutely must read something I know I will love.

  9. says:

    Master and Commander begins English author Patrick O Brian s lush and literary epic seafaring historical fiction series based on the career of a naval captain during the time of the Napoleonic Wars Through out the entire series O Brian delves into the themes of love, war and friendship At the heart of MC is the friendship between Captain Jack Aubrey and Irish surgeon and naturalist Stephen Maturin When they meet at the book s outset Aubrey a lieutenant without a ship, Maturin a doctor without a penny they nearly kill one another, but fortune forgives all and these two entirely opposite individuals are brought together into an unlikely but mutually beneficial friendship, one that at times tests boundaries, but also one that warms the reader s heart To fully enjoy these books you must cast your mind into that period, the very dawn on the 19th century, the Age of Sail, the Age of Enlightenment and Reason As much of the story plays out upon ships serving the Royal Navy, English customs and manners are the rules of the game Serving under the Englishman Aubrey and being Irish, Maturin and a fellow countryman bridle at this, but follow suit and guardedly hide their pasts to preserve their own skins At the beginning of the series Aubrey is the focal point O Brian fashioned him after real life naval hero Admiral Thomas Cochrane Brash, daring but not reckless, Cochrane made the perfect image from which to mould fictional heroes Among other writers, C.S Forester used Cochrane to create his much beloved Horatio Hornblower character Though an admiral by the end of his career, Cochrane was not as widely known to the world outside of England after his own time there s only so much room for the Nelsons and Wellingtons of the world , so his career could be mined for material, even mirrored in many cases, without the general reading public catching on a century or two later At first I hesitated to read O Brian s work I d just read Forester s Hornblower series and I felt like O Brian was merely treading upon his coattails But Forester s work had left me wanting and I d also recently seen Peter Weir s movie Master and Commander The Far Side of the World, which I enjoyed, so while perusing books at a shop one day and coming across MC I flipped it open and read a couple paragraphs I was hooked The writing flowed with an ease, brilliance and heart that Forester s stoic prose lacked O Brian is called the Jane Austen of his time and genre Perhaps that is off putting for some, but for me it equates literary excellence It means exercising the English language and thrusting your pen into purpose driven plotting Some will find the in depth descriptions of ships and ship life laborious I can t totally disagree In fact MC s publishers were hesitant to green light the book for that very reason Here s a suggestion muscle through those bits Don t worry if you don t know the difference between bow and stern, port and starboard, or the maintop and the bilge Stephen Maturin is used as the landsman foil through which much naval jargon may be learned and if you remain as ignorant as he does, you ll be fine But on the other hand, if you like sailing, the navy, and attention to detailmy friend, you ve struck gold Synopsis Reading about old naval battles may not be everyone s cup of tea Thankfully O Brian goes well beyond other writers of the genre, such as C.S Forester s limited scope by delving deep into the minds of his main characters The full range of human behavior and the resulting affects it has on their actions is entwined so beautifully with O Brian s full descriptive prose, touching on all the senses Those with short attention spans demanding constant action maybe too impatient to read through these elegantly and intricately designed scenes with their highly tuned subtlety and nuance But most will probably find that the author has struck a marvelous balance between literary high mindedness and high seas adventure.Rating I am tempted to give this five stars, and if it weren t for the too lengthy and minute descriptions of naval matters, I probably would The Movie Movies based on books are what they are condensed versions that are not always representative of the original Sourced from two books and maybe , while entirely leaving out a storyline integral to the book series, Weir s directorial effort represents MC fairly well in its bursts of action between languid pauses to breathe in real life and the horrors wonders of the world.My review of book two, Post Captain

  10. says:

    Ahoy, calling all fans of historical fiction This first book in Patrick O Brian s popular series about a captain in the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars was a surprising delight.I say surprising because even though I had seen some great reviews of it by fellow Goodreaders, I was intimidated to read it out of fear of the nautical jargon I listened to this on audio narrated by the excellent Simon Vance and I was glad I also had a print copy handy so I could look up some terms My edition had a nice illustration of a square rigged ship, which showed the difference between a flying jib, a fore topsail, a mizzen staysail, etc., and some of those terms were helpful in understanding the action during the battle scenes.But before I scare you away from this novel with any references to jibs and mainsails, let s go back to the beginning The story opens in 1800 with lieutenant Jack Aubrey at a music concert in Port Mahon, Minorca, where he has the bromance version of a meet cute with physician Stephen Maturin At first the two men detest each other, but after Jack learns he s been promoted to commander of the ship Sophie, he s so upbeat that when he runs into Stephen again, they become friends and bond over music Jack impulsively asks Stephen to join his crew and be the ship s surgeon, and that is the beginning of a beautiful friendship that apparently lasts 20 books.Stephen is not a member of the British navy, and thank goodness for that He is a brilliant physician and naturalist, but his ignorance of nautical matters means that Jack and the other crew members are always explaining things to him and to us poor readers My favorite parts of the book were the conversations between Jack and Stephen, Stephen s outsider perspective on all things naval, and the different battle strategies used at sea.O Brian has a good sense of humor, and I frequently laughed out loud while listening Fans of the movie Master and Commander Far Side of the World should know that the movie plot follows the story of later books in the series, so this first book doesn t have much in common with it But if you enjoyed the movie, as I did, and it whetted your appetite for the first stage of friendship between Jack and Stephen, then you should beat to quarters and get yourself a copy of this book.

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