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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.
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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

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Performance
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  •  
    Jeffrey Oxford, CT, United States 01-31-12
    Jeffrey Oxford, CT, United States 01-31-12 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "This series is why I joined Audible"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Master and Commander to be better than the print version?

    Absolutely. In fact, I have never actually READ the Aubrey/Maturin series, but I have listened to it three times. I joined Audible.com because they had the series as read by Patrick Tull. He does such an incredible job bringing the books and the characters to life! If you watch the movie, you can almost tell that Russell Crowe had to have listened to the Patrick Tull performance because his delivery of Jack Aubrey is very similar to that of Tull's. This is, without a doubt, my favorite book series of all time and I'm thankful Audible had them.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Stephen Maturin. He is always unflappable and his sense of humor is insanely dry. It is great to watch his character develop over the series and, even though he has been at sea for many years, nothing nautical ever seems to stick and he continues to need to be hauled into the Surprize like a sack of wheat. His relationship with Diana Villers is one of the great on-again, off-again romances ever.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The taking of the Cacafuego by the Sophie. Patrick Tull truly brings the battle to life.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    There already is a film, but I would have to say:


    Any additional comments?

    Listen to Master and Commander. If you don't fall in love with the series immediately, then you should stick to reading non-fiction.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karri Smith 11-08-08
    Karri Smith 11-08-08 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Pick the Tull version"

    Narrarator Tull does an excellent job of representing the stoic Steven Maturin and ebullient, politically incorrect Jack Aubrey. I'd never read these books, but was enthralled by Tull's narration, capturing the period beautifully. When I went on to the second book, I mistakenly downloaded the verison by narrator Simon Vance and was immediately let down. Maturin had changed from an intelligent, thoughtful Irishman to a simpering Brit. The charisma between himself and Jack A was utterly and disappointingly gone! These are great books, but I wholly recommend the narration by Tull over Vance.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John MENLO PARK, CA, United States 01-14-08
    John MENLO PARK, CA, United States 01-14-08 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "What I wanted in the movie!"

    Very entertaining and satisfying in ways that I wish the movie could have been. Reading this book, I can see why someone WANTED to make the movie, but in translation, they gutted much of what made the book interesting!

    The quality of the author's research shines through, unobtrusively, and makes you feel as though you're on the quarterdeck living in another time. Loved it.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    India J Brooklyn, NY, USA 09-29-09
    India J Brooklyn, NY, USA 09-29-09 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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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 5 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 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    E. Birdsell 01-12-05
    E. Birdsell 01-12-05 Member Since 2011
    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 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sean Anaheim Hills, CA, USA 03-13-04
    Sean Anaheim Hills, CA, USA 03-13-04
    HELPFUL VOTES
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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 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Derby, VT, United States 01-20-14
    David Derby, VT, United States 01-20-14
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    "Greatest Narrator of the Greatest Series of books"

    I own the entire series of books as well - actually my father owns them and that is just as good! But I have not touched any of the books since I first heard the voice of Patrick Tull.

    Listening to Patrick Tull read these incredible books adds such a depth. It is hard to explain the sheer joy.

    If I could only have 10 possessions on that proverbial desert island an unlimited supply of batteries and an audio player with all 20 Patrick O'Brian books narrated by the incomparable Patrick Tull would be at the top of my list.

    Even if you have read Master and Commander 10 times you have not really experienced it until you have listened to Patrick Tull's narration.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Charles Haseltine Santa Rosa, CA, USA 11-05-12
    Charles Haseltine Santa Rosa, CA, USA 11-05-12 Member Since 2014

    Charles the Social Worker

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Takes patience to get through it"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    Probably enjoyed by a fan of armchair sailing or somebody who is looking for more Horatio Hornblower kind of adventure.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    Obvious lead in to the next book in a long list of similar, adventure-on-the-high-seas books


    What do you think the narrator could have done better?

    Narrator was ok. He might have done a little more research on pronouncement of the many, many, arcane, nautical terms.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Annoyed by the abrupt ending that seemed a hackneyed attempt to encourage buying the next, expensive volume in the series.


    Any additional comments?

    The books in this series are way overpriced for the pot-boiler genre.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Samuel Corona, US, Canada 09-13-12
    Samuel Corona, US, Canada 09-13-12 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "High Education on the High Seas"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Master and Commander to be better than the print version?

    Silly question. the audio book is like a movie that doesn't cut our or modify content to suit the actors.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Master and Commander?

    the descriptions of the battles are amazing.
    if you listen closely your are getting educated on ship identification, use, maritime law and courtesy, rank structure, ship command economics and the political dealing of 18th century ship operations, military and commercial.
    is it a brig or sloop? what is the difference between Master and Commander, Master and Captain? What does each sail do, how is it rigged and how do you judge the wind? You'll know more than your thought at the end of only the first book of the series.


    What does Patrick Tull bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    as with any narrator, the tone of the reading adds to the emotions and suspense of the passages.


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

    Aubrey and Maturin set up their relations ship that will last through the series. all charaters are well defined by their relationship with Capt. Aubrey.


    Any additional comments?

    No I know why my Garandpa loved building moddles of these great ships.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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