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Master and Commander: Aubrey/Maturin Series, Book 1 | [Patrick O'Brian]

Master and Commander: Aubrey/Maturin Series, Book 1

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.
Regular Price:$37.77
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Audible Editor Reviews

Why we think it's Essential: Let more academic folk reach for Moby Dick; I'll take the Aubrey / Maturin series every time. The first of what has been called "the best [series of] historical novels ever written", Master and Commander has everything a good adventure story needs: well-drawn characters, a unique backdrop, and rousing action. And in Patrick Tull, it has the perfect narrator - the voice of an old sea dog who enjoys nothing more than sharing a well-told tale. —Ed Walloga

Publisher's Summary

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.

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

©1984 Patrick O'Brian; (P)2003 Recorded Books, LLC.

What the Critics Say

"The best historical novels ever written." (The New York Times Book Review)
"No writer alive can move one as O'Brian can; no one can make you laugh so loud with hilarity, whiten your knuckles with unbearable tension or choke with emotion. He is the master." (Irish Times)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (1964 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Craig Pleasant Grove, UT, USA 03-24-10
    Craig Pleasant Grove, UT, USA 03-24-10 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    21
    ratings
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    335
    8
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    "Give it time..."

    This series is over 20 volumes long. To hear others say "I gave up after two hours" makes me want to laugh. Did you not realize there are 20+ books in this series, with antiquated language, sailing ship descriptions and military terms.

    If you plan on getting into this series, plan on not understanding the plot or language for the first half of this book (unless you're familiar with the period or Royal Navy). However, once the action starts and you get into the characters, it's very rewarding. I consider this series the cornerstone of military histories. It is well worth the time and investment in the story and characters. I was depressed when I finished book 21 and realized there would be no more new stories of Jack or Steven...

    I've "read" over 300 books on Audible and these books are my favorites.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Janet Point Arena, CA, USA 01-18-09
    Janet Point Arena, CA, USA 01-18-09
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    "Give you joy"

    Patrick O'Brian's Jack Aubrey series surprised many a reader who didn't expect to enjoy fiction about Napoleonic naval history. There is action and excitement enough, but the subtleties of language and character development are the real charm.

    Patrick Tull's narration of the tales makes them even better. Not only is he a master of the many voices and accents; his narrative voice and his pauses and lingerings over phrases are loaded with meaning, bringing alive all the character, wit, and drama of O'Brian's writing. If you've loved the books before, Tull's reading will truly give you joy.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    W. S. Jasper, GA, USA 05-16-04
    W. S. Jasper, GA, USA 05-16-04
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    13
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    "You'll probably like it IF..."

    I happen to enjoy the series very much, but it certainly won't be everyone's cup of tea. I will say that if you've ever read the print versions, the timbre and cadence of Patrick Tull's voice will seem the perfect choice. He captures the essence of Maturin in particular.

    If you've never read any of the books, asking yourself the following question may be helpful in choosing whether or not to purchase this audiobook. (And by all means, use the "Hear Sample" feature to check out the narrator's voice!)

    "Do I enjoy the following authors/series: Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, C. S. Forester (Horatio Hornblower), Sharpe's Rifles series, William Thackeray, Charles Dickens, Johan Wyss, Jules Verne?"

    If you can answer "Yes" to at least two, O'Brian could be right up your alley.

    13 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul Columbus, OH, USA 03-02-04
    Paul Columbus, OH, USA 03-02-04
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
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    "And so it begins"

    The richness and flamboyancy of this book will leave you spell bound. I am an British professional navigator and find the descriptions and characters wonderfully portrayed. The narrator with what I would call an old English sea dog voice adds volumes to the text. My girlfriend said she couldn't get into it... I couldn't get out of it.

    I feel as though I have just found the best Audio book, and have to tell everyone!! You will enjoy this.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Yamhill, OR, United States 01-07-12
    Robert Yamhill, OR, United States 01-07-12 Member Since 2009

    Hey Audible, don't raise prices and I promise to buy lots more books.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Perfect"

    So I had it all planned. In my review, I was going to compare and contrast Master and Commander by Patrick O'Brian with Bloody Jack by L.A. Meyer. Well, I just finished another review that just took too much out of me and I do have a real life that requires my attention. In the interest of brevity, let's just say this is one great book. This is the second time 'round for me and it was even better this time. One does not need any background in nautical terms to enjoy this book. The way sailing ships were constructed back in the 19th century makes many of the parts or even terms used back then just as foreign to a salty sailor of today as to a newbie. It is not overdone and will not put anyone off.

    This is the first installment to a masterpiece that took O'Brian most of his life to complete in almost 20 volumes. The characters of captain and ship's surgeon in particular are fully developed. In fact, their relationship as friends sits at the center of this great novel. There's not so much of that to make the book Austenesque; there's plenty of action to make it interesting too.

    My copy was read by Patrick Tull. He was fabulous. I was a little impatient with him at first. He seemed to read soooo sloooowwwly. But soon I realized his pace was perfect and besides, I did not want the book to end. I've heard it said Simon Vance does a good job reading MaC. I would not be surprised. This is a classic that will be read for generations to come.

    10 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    India J Brooklyn, NY, USA 09-29-09
    India J Brooklyn, NY, USA 09-29-09 Member Since 2004
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    "The gold standard of audiobooks, for me"

    Over a period of five years I have listened to most of this series, as read by Patrick Tull, at least twice, and in my opinion he is the perfect narrator. I have tried listening to other versions a few times, for a different perspective, but they just sound so impersonal, by contrast; so distant.

    In Tull's versions, I can nearly always tell which character is speaking, before there is any "so-and-so said" tag, and he is (was) one of the few male narrators I've heard who can represent female characters without making me wince. He reads respectfully, making every character sound believable, regardless of sex, age, class, region, or nation. His modulation and rhythm add interest even to unintelligible lists of nautical terms.

    I have recommended these recordings to dozens of people, and I have heard my recommendation seconded by others many times. Of course, since what sort of voice one likes to listen to is so personal (for instance, I can't bear Frederick Davidson, one of the most popular readers in the industry), you should listen to the samples of all this series's readers and download what you think will please you best. The books are wonderful, and I trust you will enjoy them regardless of who is reading. But after listening to the samples, and especially after listening to an entire book in the series, I think you will agree with me not only that these are the best set of Aubrey/Maturin recordings, but also that they are among the best audiobook recordings ever made, period.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Julia Staten Island, NY, United States 07-11-09
    Julia Staten Island, NY, United States 07-11-09 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I love this book!"

    I love this book because the story is gripping and funny and wonderful. I have fallen madly in love with Captain A, why can't he be real! It made me want to be a pirate on the high seas! Plus, Patrick Tull is just fantastic. To me, the narrator can make or break the listening experience, he is outstanding. The notion that a combination of formality, gravity and cheerfulness should characterize all discourse in life has changed me forever! Three cheers for this book!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    B. Ruminer 09-20-07
    B. Ruminer 09-20-07 Listener Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Master and Commander"

    Fantastic! For those of you who have seen the film, I heartily encourage you to listen to these fabulous novels. Most certainly the versions narrated by Mr. Tull. The film; also quite good; unfortunately does not do these novels justice. Filled with extreme detail of the world in the late 17 and early 1800's brings the world of English naval and political intrigue to life in a way I've never read or heard before. Some of the detailed descriptions of ships of the age can be difficult to grasp at times if you don't have a working knowledge of such vessels, but this has no negative impact on the overall story and characterizations that make this book and the others so wonderful.

    Do yourself a favor and listen to these books no matter your favored genre.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    E. Birdsell 01-12-05
    E. Birdsell 01-12-05 Member Since 2001
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Didn't know old navy stories could be interesting"

    I've thoroughly enjoyed working my way through this series (I'm on book 10 so far). Each book has been truly enjoyable. I generally grab the next book every couple of months and it's always been a joy to return to the lives of the characters. Tull's reading is excellent and, as other reviews have mentioned, always seems to hit just the right emotional tone. I always use this series as a treat after I've had to endure a particularly bad book.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sean Anaheim Hills, CA, USA 03-13-04
    Sean Anaheim Hills, CA, USA 03-13-04
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
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    3
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    "Audiobook makes it live"

    I tried to slog through the written version of this book, but the new terminology (I am not a naval man) combined with the early 19th century style of prose made it a difficult read, and I ended up not finishing it.

    However, Patrick Tull's reading brings it to life like no other audiobook I've heard. The tale moves along, and the characters live! I've since purchased the next two audiobooks in the series, and will purchase the rest IF they come out in the unabridged version.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
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