Patrick O'Brian created a phenomenon with his 20 novels of the the English navy in the times of the Napoleonic Wars. His historic accuracy has never been matched, and his principal characters in all these books, Capt. Jack Aubrey and ships surgeon Stephen Maturin, bring the era to life. Each book is a story unto itself, but your appreciation is enhanced if you read/listen to each in order written. The character's lives, adventures and misadventures, changing fortunes, evolve subtly throughout the books, as people do when living through events. Some characters are ongoing, others meet their individual fates. The ongoing friendship of Jack and Stepen ties everything together.
The naval battle scenes are exciting, matter of fact and never over done. You smell the smoke, feel the heat of the guns, duck the falling rigging, it's all so vividly described by O'Brian. Not to worry, however, there is room for some romance and wonderful wry humor.
Through this whole series, you'll realistically learn more than you ever thought possible about the lives of sailors of the era between 1805 and 1820 or so, they way they spoke, their history, humor and inevitable problems and occasional triumphs. Each book leaves you a bit in the air at the conclusion, just whetting your appetite for the next.
A combination of elements of several of the books from this series has been made into a movie directed by Peter Weir, starring Russell Crowe as Aubrey, to be released in Nov. 03. Give a listen to the books first, enter their world.
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