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Gary

Baton Rouge, LA, USA | Member Since 2003

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  • Master and Commander: Aubrey/Maturin Series, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Patrick O'Brian
    • Narrated By Patrick Tull
    Overall
    (2033)
    Performance
    (935)
    Story
    (927)

    This, the first in the splendid series of Jack Aubrey novels, establishes the friendship between Captain Aubrey, Royal Navy, and Stephen Maturin, ship's surgeon and intelligence agent, against the thrilling backdrop of the Napoleonic wars. Details of life aboard a man-of-war in Nelson's navy are faultlessly rendered: the conversational idiom of the officers in the ward room and the men on the lower deck, the food, the floggings, the mysteries of the wind and the rigging, and the road of broadsides as the great ships close in battle.

    Frank says: "Choice of Narrators"
    "It begins here"
    Overall

    Some will find the Aubrey/Maturin series a great literary treasure. Others will not. Over the years I have read the series and listened to both abridged and unabridged versions read by various readers. Each reader has given Jack and Steven somewhat different characters. Tull's renditions are among my favorites and he is to be complemented. Listening to the clean Audible versions is a treat after struggling thru cassettes of varying quality.

    When compared to the Aubrey/Maturin series, most other historical fiction is reduced to the category of "pulp fiction." Both male and female characters (the women arrive in later volumes) are invariably complex and complete, their relationships marked by contrasts in ability, perspective and disposition. The plots are also an exercise in contrasts between civility and barbarism, good and evil, boredom and excitement. O'Brian captures the age of sail. The rhythm of the story telling is that of sailing itself: long periods of inactivity where shipmates and dinner are the primary focus punctuated with periods of exhilaration where thought and action mean the difference between life and death. If this appeals, begin at the beginning.

    28 of 30 people found this review helpful

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