As simple as that. This series is magnificent and I treat it like a rare treasure. Whenever I feel like there is nothing I want to 'read'/listen to, I get another gem from this series.
Patrick Tull was born to read these books, his rendition is brilliant and eminently fits the material.
These books contain literally every one of the Genres of Great literature. Don't be miss led by the movie "master and commander "- the relational aspects are every bit as fascinating as the amazing adventures. With 21 volumes, you will be immersed in the complete life and times of the early 19th century.
Magnificent story now rated to perfection by one of the best leaders in the world.
Not to be missed by any lover of the sea or of O'Brien.
Patrick Tull has a perfect voice for narrating Patrick O'Brian's nautical historical fiction. I recommend this and the other stories heartily.
I think this is my 4th time through the Aubrey Maturin series. Each reading exposes new depth of story and character so subtly penned by Patrick O'Brian that I'm left amazed at what can be accomplished in so few words. I understand Jack and Steven that much better each time through. Their motivations, faults, humor, and potential become clearer and clearer to me, and I would love to meet them (though I will admit Steven is somewhat on the implausible side).
The next chapter in the spectacular Aubrey/Maturin series. I love these books and I could probably just line all of my superlatives up and be done with it. I don't quite know why I love them so much. I think it's a combination of the attention to detail in the sea-going portions of the books (plus the piquing of interest from the references and allusions to actual historical events) and, since I'm listening to the series rather than visually ingesting it, the marvelous reading that Patrick Tull performs.
Many a better reviewer has reviewed this series and its component parts so I'll just mention the bits that I loved and be done with it.
Desolation Island has a few passing allusions to Australia since the penal colony at Botany Bay is the ultimate destination of the voyage that this book describes. This leads to references such as "Think of the opportunities, Stephen - thousands of miles of almost unknown sea and coastline - wombats on shore for those that like them...". My Australian heritage and subsequent prolonged absence therefrom make me a sucker for anything Aussie and it was fun to hear ye olde Australia referenced like that.
The chase scene in this story is also fantastic. I don't want to mention any specifics but the description of the participants (including the weather), the general drama leading up to the final conclusion really was top notch.
Stephen's intelligence work plays a reasonably central part in this story and his machinations are interestingly examined and explained as the story progresses.
Finally, as previously mentioned, the minutiae of historical shipboard life, the details of the convict transportation, the food, the medical treatments of the time, it's an awesome (in both the old and new senses of the word) reminder of what people used to take for granted and of how lucky we are today.
In conclusion, go read it now, great fun!
Just one battle; I like three or four! The focus is on Stephen, his struggle with laudanum and his intrigues. If, like me, you have come to care about Aubrey and Maturin as if they were real friends, then you read it with enjoyment anyway, and on to,the next!