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H.M.S. Surprise: Aubrey/Maturin Series, Book 3 | [Patrick O'Brian]

H.M.S. Surprise: Aubrey/Maturin Series, Book 3

At the opening of his third novel in an ongoing adventure series by Patrick O'Brian, Jack Aubrey is cruising off Cape Sicie when his friend Stephen Maturin (more serenely situated in Sussex) is informed of the Board's decision regarding Aubrey's prize money, taken after victorious engagement with a Spanish squadron at Cape Santa Maria. The money, five million pieces of eight, is not, as is the custom of war, to be divided among the crews of the four victorious vessels.
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Publisher's Summary

At the opening of his third novel in an ongoing adventure series by Patrick O'Brian, Jack Aubrey is cruising off Cape Sicie when his friend Stephen Maturin (more serenely situated in Sussex) is informed of the Board's decision regarding Aubrey's prize money, taken after victorious engagement with a Spanish squadron at Cape Santa Maria. The money, five million pieces of eight, is not, as is the custom of war, to be divided among the crews of the four victorious vessels, but is to be treated as droits of the Crown of England. Five million pounds is, after all, five million pounds.

It will be a hard rub for Aubrey, who had counted on that money to clear his debts and make himself a suitable match, but no more hard than for Maturin who spends much of his free time at Mapes Court in the company of the lovely Sophia Williams, Aubrey's betrothed. How could Stephen deliver the news that would break Sophia's heart?

When Jack docks at Portsmouth, he is clapped in irons forthwith, and carried off to a sponging house for debtors. Jack knows a prisoner can rot in jail, so when Sir Joseph graciously offers him escape aboard the H.M.S. Surprise, bound for the East Indies, he makes for the only place where his unsteady virtue remains intact: the sea.

Don't miss the rest of the Aubrey/Maturin series.

©1973 Patrick O'Brian; (P)2003 Recorded Books, LLC

What the Critics Say

"O'Brian knows his history and sailing, as is evident in the rich particulars....Stretching its genre but never escaping it, the novel will impress those who enjoy swashbucklers." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.6 (847 )
5 star
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4.6 (462 )
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3 star
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2 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Ral Stockton, CA, USA 07-28-07
    Ral Stockton, CA, USA 07-28-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
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    1
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    "Great book!"

    Excellent. Great writing, great narrator.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christopher Beaverton, OR, United States 03-26-05
    Christopher Beaverton, OR, United States 03-26-05 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    8
    4
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    Overall
    "O'Brian-Aubry-Maturin-Tull - what a quartet!"

    Reading the O'Brian series is as good a time as I've had with any author, and better than most. And to hear Tull read them; why it does not get any better! Read them twice, listened to them 4 x!
    The movie - well, it was a fine movie in itself, but did not do justice to O'brian's series.
    HMS Surprise is my favourite, it has a bit of everything human, bittersweet and funny and dramatic and bright and black and tense and as relaxing as the breezes off the home of Testudo Aubreii.
    I felt a real pang when book 21 abruptly ended; my first thought was that I'd better start writing to finish it up! Presumptious? Yes, but what better compliment for an author than to have someone else want to continue the journey. I daresay it will be viewed as close to heresy, however.
    Read & listen to each & every one! Right now! I'm hooked well and good.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jack Reynolds Springfield, IL United States 03-15-05
    Jack Reynolds Springfield, IL United States 03-15-05 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    26
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    "A Masterpiece"

    A truly wonderful story, populated with rich, characterizations and terrific background. I've listened to the first two in this series and in my estimation, this is the best. Great sea yarn along with some of the most interesting characters in fiction. I have heard that the quality of the stories drops off in the later books, but the first three will knock your socks off. HIGHLY and FIRMLY RECOMMENDED.

    Jack

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul Tyler, TX, USA 01-25-05
    Paul Tyler, TX, USA 01-25-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
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    6
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    "diana villers is easy"

    like all charming tarts, she's the source of many problems. the narration is excellent, as always. if you liked the first 2 books, you'll like this one, as others have noted. and, i finally caved in and looked up a diagram of the sails, and other parts of a ship so i would know what the heck they were always yelling about during a battle.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    STRAYCAT 12-23-03
    STRAYCAT 12-23-03 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    19
    ratings
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    6
    2
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    "Better than Hornblower!"

    I have not listened to this book, but I have read the entire series. If you enjoyed the Hornblower books, you will love Aubry. The characters are excelent, the plots realistic and historicly accurate, and the whole series reaks ofthe sea. Master and Commander is one of the series, and I expect they all will eventually get the Hollywood treatment.

    17 of 26 people found this review helpful
  •  
    D. Adams Macon, GA USA 07-29-15
    D. Adams Macon, GA USA 07-29-15 Member Since 2014
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    2
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    Performance
    Story
    "Great book!"
    What three words best describe Patrick Tull’s performance?

    Far. Too. Slow.


    Any additional comments?

    I absolutely love the Aubrey/Maturin novels, and am in the process of re-"reading" them via Audible during my commute. It's been 5+ years since I originally read the series, and I have really enjoyed reliving these stories. I listened to the first 2 books via Simon Vance's narration, and I have to say Mr. Tull's snail-like pace was a bit annoying. I found myself speeding things up to 1.25x just to keep it bearable, but his reading style of long pauses between bursts of dialogue made it difficult to understand.

    After making it about halfway thru the book I began to adjust to his style somewhat. However, I will be going back to Mr. Vance for book 4. I know many seem to prefer Tull, but I really don't care for slow paced narration in general. Too many long and inappropriate pauses between phrases, etc. Mr. Vance's more efficient reading was much more to my liking.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    H.H. Hebbronville, TX, United States 07-21-15
    H.H. Hebbronville, TX, United States 07-21-15 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
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    "The best of the series!"

    I have listened to all of the series and heard both narrators over 3 times through. I enjoyed this one the most. Such highs and lows, action and friendship, sea and land. I also liked Patrick Tull far more than the other. It felt like a performance rather than a narration.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Philip D Harrison 06-11-15 Member Since 2015
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    Story
    "O'Brian's nautical saga is sublime"

    I listen to these books over and over while driving, I haven't turned the radio on for years.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Wes Guinn Manama, Bahrain 05-23-15
    Wes Guinn Manama, Bahrain 05-23-15 Member Since 2007
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    7
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    Story
    "Excellent stories, Capitally performed!"

    In the third of the series, O'Brian extends his his reach both literarily and geographically as he greatly deepens his characters and sends Aubrey, Maturin, and the SURPRISE further from previous voyages. Intrigue, romance, epic battles with enemies and the sea itself are all part of he loadout in this excellent work. There's not a moment to lose!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Per 05-19-15
    Per 05-19-15 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    16
    16
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    "Have fallen in love with this series"

    The story is good, the reading is excellent and the characters feel truly alive. The descriptions and dialogue makes the story an epic adventure of day to day life and the events that stand out.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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