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Master and Commander Audiobook

Master and Commander: Aubrey/Maturin Series, Book 1

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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

4.1 (2812 )
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4.3 (1654 )
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  •  
    W. S. Jasper, GA, USA 05-16-04
    W. S. Jasper, GA, USA 05-16-04
    HELPFUL VOTES
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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
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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 2016

    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.

    11 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    B.J. Minneapolis, MN, United States 07-19-10
    B.J. Minneapolis, MN, United States 07-19-10 Member Since 2010

    I hear voices. But maybe that's because there's always an Audible book in my ear.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "How did I ever miss this series?"

    Perhaps it was the idea (wrong) that it would all be about the 19th century British Navy. It has that element, of course, but it's so much more. What an absolutely splendid listen. I am disappointed there are only 20 books in the series.

    There are great charts online you can download if you want to be more familiar with the ship's terms. I looked up some, but eventually just settled in for the listen. Soon, you just start to understand what they're talking about -- like picking up a foreign language. Simply fabulous. Well worth a credit and then some.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bill 11-27-04
    Bill 11-27-04
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    "Outstanding!"

    O'Brian's books alone make this series a true read and re-read treasure. When you couple this with Tull's interpretation you end up with something that you don't just listen to, you live it through the characters.

    11 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    B. Ruminer 09-20-07
    B. Ruminer 09-20-07 Member Since 2014
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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
  •  
    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 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    10-19-13
    10-19-13 Member Since 2009
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    "First in a great series"

    I came to this series late and eventually read this first installment after several of the subsequent books. I wish I had started here to understand the beginnings of the main characters more fully. In this initial book we meet John Aubery and Steven Maturin in their first meeting and how their friendship began. I absolutely love the narrator, Patrick Tull. I have read sad reviews of his slow pace but that is exactly what attracts me to him. I am not in a hurry, I prefer that slow development of character and atmosphere which O'brian is a master of. If you want quick and rapid fire action look somewhere else.

    O'brian is a consumate observer of the men of war sailing ships of the late 18th century and you get the full details of the daily routine and life of those sailors. The history seems creditable and if you know anything about this era and the forces involved then it is a wonder to behold.

    Very graphic in the bloody accounts of battle and the hash society of those times, it brings history to life as few other works do for me. This book starts you off in a long and eventful story of over 18 editions, taking Aubrey from his first command to his eventual last adventure.

    Have some patience with this and the next couple of books and you will be rewarded.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    thawstone Reno, NV USA 07-05-13
    thawstone Reno, NV USA 07-05-13 Member Since 2011
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    "Narrator drags on this story like a sea anchor"

    I didn't realize there was a choice of narrators for the first 2 books of this series.. I'm going to excahnge my Tull version for the Vance version and listen again. A quicker paced narration will probably raise this book to a 4 or 5 star overall rating. To prove my point, Tull's version: 16hrs 39mins, Vance's version: 13hrs 17mins. Both are unabridged. The sad thing is that from book 3 on there's no choice of narrator. What a pity. I had just finished CS Forester's great series, and after the disappointment of this first book, I went on to Alexander Kent. The only problem with Kent's series is that not all of the series is recorded, but at least what's there moves along and keeps you interested.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    William Friendswood, Texas, United States 07-06-12
    William Friendswood, Texas, United States 07-06-12 Listener Since 2009
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    "Keep it in Order!"
    Would you listen to Master and Commander again? Why?

    "Indeed I would By God!"


    What did you like best about this story?

    Is this a trick question? LoL, ...there are so many things to like! Please, just take my word for it, "IF you truly" like Sea Stories, you absolutely MUST read any and all books on the subject by Patrick O'Brian!!! I don't know if it is ok/legal(?) to mention the other Authors that write/wrote books of this type, and I have read most of them, and ALL the books from a couple of the "Great Ones" and in MY humble opinion, while very good and entertaining as they are, the really do pale in comparison to Patrick O'Brian's writing, he is MUCH more in depth in respect to the language of the times and the nomenclature of a ships being! Like I have said, I have many, many books from other authors on the same subject and I have learned more about English Navy life and ships in the first 4 books from Patrick Tull than from all the books combined about Horatio Hornblower and Captain Bolitho, and I LOVE those guys!


    What does Patrick Tull bring to the story that you wouldn???t experience if you just read the book?

    OMG!! Get serious! P.T. is just plain AWESOME dude! Except for Robert Newton there is no other voice that can bring to you the way the British Navy "probably" sounded during this time in history. And another thing that is soo cool about him is..that he can really sing the old shanties quit well, and he can do other languages to perfection, he can imitate what a Scotsman or a person from India or Spain or...or...lol, hell, from anywhere I bet...he can imitate what they sound like when they speak English. AND, I like the way he does not try to imitate a female's voice when doing female parts in the book.


    Who was the most memorable character of Master and Commander and why?

    Even though Steven is way cool, I have to say that in my opinion Jack is the most memorable, his bumbling on land and his greatness at sea. He is very human and he is so cool when he gets excited!


    Any additional comments?

    Read the books in order, of course you do not have to but...there really is a great story line in the series, actually more than one, Steven's love for a woman, his alternate life as a spy, Jack's many foibles also, it (the series) really must be read in order to fully understand and appreciate.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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