Don't miss the rest of the Aubrey/Maturin series.
©1972 Patrick O'Brian; (P)2003 Recorded Books, LLC.
"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)
It would have been hard to match the sea battles and action of Master and Commander. I'm not a huge fan of Jane Austin type writing, so the beginning of the book, with it's emphasis on courtship and social life, felt a bit slow...but the relationships created are of great importance later in the series. The novel is great though at showing what a roller coaster ride the career of a naval officer can be. Aubrey, riding so high in the previous book, has a series of dramitic ups and downs. For those who favor naval action, the later part of the book does not disappoint, with a suspense-filled cutting-out expedition and a a creditable, though brief account of a fleet action.
I started this series after a comment by Leo Laport on a TWiT podcast. I have enjoyed the series. If you enjoy the relationships and details of the first, the second is for you. I intend to read all 20.
This is the current book, but I've been listening to these at random for about a year now, have really been surprised how much has soaked into my consciousness.
Saw a picture the other day of a small boat by a breakwater at what was obviously at high tide and a high sea. My first thought was not "nice picture"--it was--but "lee shore!!! does it have enough leeway?"
Appalled listening to Richard Zacks' book on the Barbary Pirates--total incompetence of an American naval captain, both as a leader and as a sailor. "HowEVER did the American Navy get to the point that they could best the Royal Navy by 1812?"
And a lot of that insight came from Post Captain, with that dreadful ship and flogging mad first officer.
And it is nice to finally know how our guys meet Sophie and Diana.
I actually gave the first book a 5. There is nothing wrong with this book. I enjoyed listening too it greatly, however parts of it were kind of a downer. I enjoyed the plot twists (hope that is not too revealing), and the intruduction of some new land bound female characters. I dont want to say too much, but how Jack can still be called 'Lucky Jack' is beyond me. The devolopment of stevens character in this book was also very pleasing. I still intend to finish the series.
The depth and complexity of character, historical nautical detail, and insight into human nature are rewarding enough in this second book of the series. The astonishing narration adds to to the richness- the subtle change of accent and voice for each character is pulled off with an ease unriveled in the audiobooks I've listened to.
A rivetting story, with very good historical detail. It spends quite a bit of time on shore at the start of the book, but the historical setting is marvellous, and the story told there essential for the rest of the book, and the next books too. Make sure you listen to the unabridged book (you don't want to miss anything), with Patrick Tull reading (an excellent reader).
I write for myself, for my own pleasure. And I want to be left alone to do it. - Salinger ^(;,;)^
"This is perhaps the final detachment; and this is perhaps the only way to live -- free, surprisingly light and well, no diminution of interest but no commitment: a liberty I have hardly ever known."
- Patrick O'Brian, 'Post Captain'
The second book in O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin series (20 books). It might be early to say this, but this might rank at or near the top of the best historical novels ever (taken as a whole). I'm not sure if he can maintain this level of literary mastery, but if the first two books are any indication, I am impressed.
The thing that strikes me in this novel is how fantastic the relationship is between Captain Jack Aubrey and naval surgeon Stephen Maturin. It has to be one of the great duos in literary history. Ranking next to Holmes and Watson perhaps. This novel also seems to be a bit of a Victorian love note to Jane Austin with characters like Sophia Williams and the aptly named Diana Villiers. The novel contains so many gems that it is hard to review them adequately, especially since I finished this book a week ago.
However, I love the relationship between Aubrey and Maturin. It reminds me a bit of Star Trek's Captain James T. Kirk and Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy. I am pretty sure this Star Trek (1966–69) and Master and Commander/Post Captain (1969 - 1972) universes emerged independent of each other, but it is also amazing to see the similarities. It is as exciting to see this as it would be to discover Homo Sapiens developing independently in Africa and Asia. These things happen I guess, but the coincidence is still very lovely. What the relationship allows is the same events to be told through the perspective of the captain and his biases (Navy, order, etc) and the doctor (Science, rationality, etc.). The dialogue and back and forth is at times brilliance and worth the price of admission alone.
Since I will be reviewing another 18 of these I imagine over the next year or so, I will keep each of the reviews short and hopefully focused on another aspect of the novel and the series that comes up as I read them. I'm excited and intimidated by the prospect of reading them all.
O'Brian's dialog sometimes is difficult to follow. The narrator often helps you get a better understanding of the characters' intent.
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