History is my principle interest...
I came to this series late and eventually read this first installment after several of the subsequent books. I wish I had started here to understand the beginnings of the main characters more fully. In this initial book we meet John Aubery and Steven Maturin in their first meeting and how their friendship began. I absolutely love the narrator, Patrick Tull. I have read sad reviews of his slow pace but that is exactly what attracts me to him. I am not in a hurry, I prefer that slow development of character and atmosphere which O'brian is a master of. If you want quick and rapid fire action look somewhere else.
O'brian is a consumate observer of the men of war sailing ships of the late 18th century and you get the full details of the daily routine and life of those sailors. The history seems creditable and if you know anything about this era and the forces involved then it is a wonder to behold.
Very graphic in the bloody accounts of battle and the hash society of those times, it brings history to life as few other works do for me. This book starts you off in a long and eventful story of over 18 editions, taking Aubrey from his first command to his eventual last adventure.
Have some patience with this and the next couple of books and you will be rewarded.
"Indeed I would By God!"
Is this a trick question? LoL, ...there are so many things to like! Please, just take my word for it, "IF you truly" like Sea Stories, you absolutely MUST read any and all books on the subject by Patrick O'Brian!!! I don't know if it is ok/legal(?) to mention the other Authors that write/wrote books of this type, and I have read most of them, and ALL the books from a couple of the "Great Ones" and in MY humble opinion, while very good and entertaining as they are, the really do pale in comparison to Patrick O'Brian's writing, he is MUCH more in depth in respect to the language of the times and the nomenclature of a ships being! Like I have said, I have many, many books from other authors on the same subject and I have learned more about English Navy life and ships in the first 4 books from Patrick Tull than from all the books combined about Horatio Hornblower and Captain Bolitho, and I LOVE those guys!
OMG!! Get serious! P.T. is just plain AWESOME dude! Except for Robert Newton there is no other voice that can bring to you the way the British Navy "probably" sounded during this time in history. And another thing that is soo cool about him is..that he can really sing the old shanties quit well, and he can do other languages to perfection, he can imitate what a Scotsman or a person from India or Spain or...or...lol, hell, from anywhere I bet...he can imitate what they sound like when they speak English. AND, I like the way he does not try to imitate a female's voice when doing female parts in the book.
Even though Steven is way cool, I have to say that in my opinion Jack is the most memorable, his bumbling on land and his greatness at sea. He is very human and he is so cool when he gets excited!
Read the books in order, of course you do not have to but...there really is a great story line in the series, actually more than one, Steven's love for a woman, his alternate life as a spy, Jack's many foibles also, it (the series) really must be read in order to fully understand and appreciate.
Absolutely. In fact, I have never actually READ the Aubrey/Maturin series, but I have listened to it three times. I joined Audible.com because they had the series as read by Patrick Tull. He does such an incredible job bringing the books and the characters to life! If you watch the movie, you can almost tell that Russell Crowe had to have listened to the Patrick Tull performance because his delivery of Jack Aubrey is very similar to that of Tull's. This is, without a doubt, my favorite book series of all time and I'm thankful Audible had them.
Stephen Maturin. He is always unflappable and his sense of humor is insanely dry. It is great to watch his character develop over the series and, even though he has been at sea for many years, nothing nautical ever seems to stick and he continues to need to be hauled into the Surprize like a sack of wheat. His relationship with Diana Villers is one of the great on-again, off-again romances ever.
The taking of the Cacafuego by the Sophie. Patrick Tull truly brings the battle to life.
There already is a film, but I would have to say:
Listen to Master and Commander. If you don't fall in love with the series immediately, then you should stick to reading non-fiction.
I hear voices. But maybe that's because there's always an Audible book in my ear.
Perhaps it was the idea (wrong) that it would all be about the 19th century British Navy. It has that element, of course, but it's so much more. What an absolutely splendid listen. I am disappointed there are only 20 books in the series.
There are great charts online you can download if you want to be more familiar with the ship's terms. I looked up some, but eventually just settled in for the listen. Soon, you just start to understand what they're talking about -- like picking up a foreign language. Simply fabulous. Well worth a credit and then some.
Narrarator Tull does an excellent job of representing the stoic Steven Maturin and ebullient, politically incorrect Jack Aubrey. I'd never read these books, but was enthralled by Tull's narration, capturing the period beautifully. When I went on to the second book, I mistakenly downloaded the verison by narrator Simon Vance and was immediately let down. Maturin had changed from an intelligent, thoughtful Irishman to a simpering Brit. The charisma between himself and Jack A was utterly and disappointingly gone! These are great books, but I wholly recommend the narration by Tull over Vance.
I own the entire series of books as well - actually my father owns them and that is just as good! But I have not touched any of the books since I first heard the voice of Patrick Tull.
Listening to Patrick Tull read these incredible books adds such a depth. It is hard to explain the sheer joy.
If I could only have 10 possessions on that proverbial desert island an unlimited supply of batteries and an audio player with all 20 Patrick O'Brian books narrated by the incomparable Patrick Tull would be at the top of my list.
Even if you have read Master and Commander 10 times you have not really experienced it until you have listened to Patrick Tull's narration.
NV, not NY
I didn't realize there was a choice of narrators for the first 2 books of this series.. I'm going to excahnge my Tull version for the Vance version and listen again. A quicker paced narration will probably raise this book to a 4 or 5 star overall rating. To prove my point, Tull's version: 16hrs 39mins, Vance's version: 13hrs 17mins. Both are unabridged. The sad thing is that from book 3 on there's no choice of narrator. What a pity. I had just finished CS Forester's great series, and after the disappointment of this first book, I went on to Alexander Kent. The only problem with Kent's series is that not all of the series is recorded, but at least what's there moves along and keeps you interested.
Charles the Social Worker
Probably enjoyed by a fan of armchair sailing or somebody who is looking for more Horatio Hornblower kind of adventure.
Obvious lead in to the next book in a long list of similar, adventure-on-the-high-seas books
Narrator was ok. He might have done a little more research on pronouncement of the many, many, arcane, nautical terms.
Annoyed by the abrupt ending that seemed a hackneyed attempt to encourage buying the next, expensive volume in the series.
The books in this series are way overpriced for the pot-boiler genre.
Silly question. the audio book is like a movie that doesn't cut our or modify content to suit the actors.
the descriptions of the battles are amazing.
if you listen closely your are getting educated on ship identification, use, maritime law and courtesy, rank structure, ship command economics and the political dealing of 18th century ship operations, military and commercial.
is it a brig or sloop? what is the difference between Master and Commander, Master and Captain? What does each sail do, how is it rigged and how do you judge the wind? You'll know more than your thought at the end of only the first book of the series.
as with any narrator, the tone of the reading adds to the emotions and suspense of the passages.
Aubrey and Maturin set up their relations ship that will last through the series. all charaters are well defined by their relationship with Capt. Aubrey.
No I know why my Garandpa loved building moddles of these great ships.
I'm a huge fan of O"Brian's work and have read the whole series several times. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of having this wonderful story read to me. Patrick Tull's narration included the singing of the occasional sea shanty, an added feature I was certainly not ever able to pull off when I read the book.
This is a very important book in the series as it shows the beginning of Maturin and Aubrey's friendship. The authentic descriptions of life at sea provide a wonderful setting for this, but these books at their core are about Aubrey and Maturin's relationship.
Patrick Tull's Irish brogue brought Maturin alive!