I started this series after a comment by Leo Laport on a TWiT podcast. I have enjoyed the series. If you enjoy the relationships and details of the first, the second is for you. I intend to read all 20.
This is the current book, but I've been listening to these at random for about a year now, have really been surprised how much has soaked into my consciousness.
Saw a picture the other day of a small boat by a breakwater at what was obviously at high tide and a high sea. My first thought was not "nice picture"--it was--but "lee shore!!! does it have enough leeway?"
Appalled listening to Richard Zacks' book on the Barbary Pirates--total incompetence of an American naval captain, both as a leader and as a sailor. "HowEVER did the American Navy get to the point that they could best the Royal Navy by 1812?"
And a lot of that insight came from Post Captain, with that dreadful ship and flogging mad first officer.
And it is nice to finally know how our guys meet Sophie and Diana.
I actually gave the first book a 5. There is nothing wrong with this book. I enjoyed listening too it greatly, however parts of it were kind of a downer. I enjoyed the plot twists (hope that is not too revealing), and the intruduction of some new land bound female characters. I dont want to say too much, but how Jack can still be called 'Lucky Jack' is beyond me. The devolopment of stevens character in this book was also very pleasing. I still intend to finish the series.
The depth and complexity of character, historical nautical detail, and insight into human nature are rewarding enough in this second book of the series. The astonishing narration adds to to the richness- the subtle change of accent and voice for each character is pulled off with an ease unriveled in the audiobooks I've listened to.
This is my second reading of the series (listening this time). Patrick Tull is incredible -- lends a whole new dimension to the story. Highly recommend!
"GET ON WITH IT!" So much time is spent going back and forth with the women that I was on the breaking point. Fortunately, the action picks back up and keeps going.
You'll get more out of this book if you're a sailor but there's enough plot to go around even if you don't get all of the sailing terminology. (It hasn't changed that much since the days of the square-riggers.) Tull's reading is the best I've heard on any audiobook. Looking forward to downloading the rest of the books in the series.
I was a big fan of O'Brien's first book, Master and Commander, and expected more of the same in the first of it's sequels. My problem was, the book clocks in at around 20 hours. After listening to the first 5 hours, our heroes were still on dry land without a ship! So if it's a sea-faring yarn you're looking for, have your fast-forward button handy, becasue you're in for an extremely well-written account of Lucky Jack and Steven's adventures on the farm. Dancing and fox hunting abound, but the ocean is somewhere over the horizon.
My opinion of this series has definitely been influenced by the fact that I have only listened to most of it. I read "Master and Commander" many years ago after hearing that these were wonderful books, and I couldn't understand what all the hype was about. It was a good book, but rather dry and full of detail to the point of being almost tedious. Then I started checking them out of the library on tape, and I was hooked. "Post Captain" is no exception.
Jack Aubrey's character is given more depth here in "Post Captain" than perhaps he had in "Master and Commander," which is another way of saying that the difficult circumstances he encounters here cause him to grow. In this book he runs the gamut from the depths of despair to the heights of triumph and elation, and most everything in between at some point in the story. The reader gets a deeper glimpse into his character here, beyond the rather earthy yet undeniably heroic naval officer first portrayed in "Master and Commander." Not that he was simplistic in that earlier story, but here we see depths and nuances not previously encountered.
As many have pointed out before, some like Tull's style and others don't. I am unashamedly one who loves to listen to Patrick Tull. I few years ago I heard him narrating a PBS special on the civil war battle ship Maine, and I was instantly hooked and had to watch the whole thing. When I first started listening to the Aubrey/Maturin series, I did it through my local library and was thus forced to listen to whatever they happened to have available. The first reader I heard was Richard Brown, who I grew to quite like. Then Patrick Tull, who did not convince me at first. I skipped back and forth between these two for several more books of the series and decided I liked both of them, but maybe I liked Brown a little better. As time went on, and the recordings by Richard Brown were re-done and replaced by other narrators, I eventually heard Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin voiced through David Case--a reader I absolutely love for anything by Dickens--and Simon Vance as well. I have listened to Vance read other books, too, as I listen to a lot of audio books. By now, I have gone through the entire Aubrey/Maturin series several times, mostly listening to Patrick Tull. My conclusion is that Tull's mastery of these books and his perfection for this role he loved might not be immediately evident to the new listener, since this is what happened to me. And several listeners seem to have been baffled by his British accent, which is a common-enough occurrence with Americans unfamiliar with that dialect. I remember watching a British movie when I was a little kid and hardly being able to understand a word they were saying! However, I discovered British TV about three decades ago, and by now I barely notice the accent, it sounds so normal to me. The idea that Patrick Tull is "hard to understand" is something only someone unfamiliar with British speech could possibly say. His readings are extremely clear and easy to understand (if you are comfortable with an English accent), yet at the same time, full of character and emotion. By comparison, Simon Vance is unbearably bland, and that's what I don't like about his narration of this series, or in fact of anything I've heard him read--the latest was "The Elephant Whisperer," which was an interesting book, but Vance's stilted narration didn't help it. Whenever I listen to him saying the familiar words of the Aubrey-Maturin series, I am always forcibly reminded that he is reading a book to me. It is all at second-hand. His enunciation is so careful and--by comparison with other readers--impersonal. When I listen to Patrick Tull, I am immersed in the story and it is as if I was there. The characters come to life, each one distinct and sharply-defined from all others. Tull was great with the different voices, and I love his slight Irish lilt when he voiced Stephen Maturin, who was after all half Irish and spent some of his childhood in Ireland. Admittedly, this may not be accurate, since no one who sees Maturin or hears him speak has any idea that he is Irish. But it sure makes it easier to distinguish the characters when you are listening to them, and I personally love Tull's interpretation of him. It isn't a heavy or thick Irish accent, as he did with certain other Irish characters along the way. I think, though, that it probably comes down to a matter of personal taste in the end. I've listened to Simon Vance read other books, and at least so far, I just can't enjoy listening to him, no matter how much I've liked the book he was reading. It isn't only that I think he's wrong for the Aubrey/Maturin series; I simply don't enjoy the sound of his voice! I'm sure there must be people who feel the same way about Patrick Tull. Still, I would recommend that anyone who likes this series give Tull a good, long chance. Get familiar with him. It's definitely worth the effort.
Jack Aubrey stands out--and after all, he is the title character, so that's only fitting. As always in this series, however, it is a duet, not a solo piece. Stephen Maturin also becomes more clearly defined as the story progresses. In some ways he is the more admirable character, exhibiting more restraint and self-denial than Jack, partly because he is innately more mature at this point in the series and sees more clearly what is happening, Repeatedly, he decides to put his own interests aside in favor of his loyalty to his friend Jack. Though he is front-and-center in many scenes, he plays second fiddle (or cello, as the case might be) to Jack in this story.
With its lengthy passages on land, involved in the manners of the English gentry and their courtly rituals, this book is perhaps the one of O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin series which is most like Jane Austen's body of work. There are still sea-battles in plenty, as well as the intrigue of intelligence work, so don't think this is something like "Sense and Sensibility." As others have noted before me, the book actually feels like three books in one. The first part is the most Austen-like, as Jack and Stephen move ashore and take up fox hunting and visiting with the female neighbors. In the second part, everything goes sour, particularly for Jack. It is one of the darkest, gloomiest parts of the entire 20-book series. Finally, in the third part, as Jack's fortunes take a turn for the better, there is a light-hearted, humorous jubilation that makes a sharp contrast with the feeling of depression which preceded it. O'Brian's wit is evident throughout the story, sometimes blatantly expressed, as when Stephen comes aboard their ship with a bulky cello and a portable beehive, waving a narwhal's horn in one hand; to more subtle winks to the reader, as when the members of the dinner party on Jack's ship drunkenly sing of "Three Blind Mice," a reference by O'Brian to the three men who are stupidly pursuing the same woman, all of whom are in attendance at the dinner. While this is a really good book, in retrospect I think a person only comes to see these works in their proper light once they've read those that follow. I enjoyed "Post Captain" the first time I read it, but I like it so much better now that I've read the entire series. The Aubrey-Maturin chronicle really has nothing similar to it in modern literature, so it's hard for many people to get into, but it certain repays any effort involved.