I couldn't recommend this series of books more highly. Patrick O'Brian combines a masterly knowledge of the Royal Navy of Nelson's time with a sensitive and witty understanding of human nature. It makes you wonder how any novelist can plumb human character and circumstance in less than a few thousand pages.
I read the full series of books, and have now listened to the full series of audiobooks - with great pleasure in both cases. Patrick Tull does a masterly job with meaning, accents of all kinds, and Patrick O'Brians dry humor. Truly a masterpiece.
So I could find these audiobooks easily and a bit less expensively than buying each at retail.
I started reading/hearing these almost at random, this, the first, was maybe the fifth I'd heard. And I do love them. They are a bit like Jane Austen--with weather and music and often terrible food substituting for houses and gardens of her books. I didn't realize quite how much until I reread/heard one of her books.
But I think the series gets better!
It's not at all like the movie. Peter Weir, the director, made a point of saying that he wanted it all to take place at sea, and he had a whole shelf of the books, with post-it notes everywhere, so there are obviously bits from a great many of the books. So the movie has them in the Surprise, not the Sophie. Jack has already met the human Sophie, etc, has presumably been promoted to post captain.
Having completed almost the entire series, I can say it is not to be missed. The combined forces of Patrick O'Brien with the materful reading by Patrick Tull has keep me hooked for more than a year. While some may find it drawn out, other, like myself, simply get caught up in its epic character.
I highly recommend sticking with unabridged versions will Tull reading!
The setup is a little slow because of the historical accuracy, but once set up you will never be bored. The reading is very good.
This is a very richly informed work of fiction. The sheer scale and sweep of the story is sometimes overwhelming and you find yourself rewinding. This is like a piece of extraordinarily dense cheesecake with a very sweet topping. You take it in small bites, then ever larger ones once you have accustomed yourself to its richness. Having adjusted your palette, you wolf down the remaining portion and look round for more. Yes, it really is that kind of book. If you will listen to the sample here, you get an excellent feel for the language. If you can handle hour upon hour of this kind of richness, this is your audiobook. I found the narration a bit overly dramatic in places. Because of the baroque writing style, I think a more sedate tone should have been applied, more relaxed and intellectual. But the British accent is just what the book requires and the reader is quite good in spite of my nitpicking.
I decided to give this book a try after seeing the other great reviews. I never thought I'd be listening to historical fiction! If the rest of the series is this great, I'll be listening to them all. An absolutely engaging book, with a first class narrator.
O'Brien's stories are based on fact. steeped in their time, and totally fascinating. The series is wonderfully read by Patrick Tully who rounds out the characters with his convincing voices, and brings out the dry humour between the dramatis personae. His timing is perfect. It was a whole new dimension to hear him read these books that I have already read and love.
A lively vivid picture of the British navy of 1800. The reader was outstanding. A nice companion piece to Jane Austen, both a portrait of the same time period.
You don't need to be a historical novel fan or a fan of military or maritime themes to enjoy this book. The story was quite engaging and also well read. I was interested enough to come away wanting to listen to/read the other books in the series at some point.
Not to disparage Mr. Tull's reading, but since a choice is available it did seem immediately apparent that Simon Vance's more dynamic, and at the risk of seeming ageist, more youthful reading did lend itself better to this action adventure tale. You get the tale 3 hours faster, and that can only be a good thing.