Don't miss the rest of the Aubrey/Maturin series.
©1977 Patrick O'Brian; (P)2003 Recorded Books, LLC
"Jack's assignment: to capture the Indian Ocean islands of Réunion and Mauritius from the French. That campaign forms the narrative thread of this rollicking sea saga. But its substance is more beguiling still." (Newsweek)
My third book of this series that I've downloaded. Based on a true naval and land battle (or series of battles) in the Indian Ocean. Great historical references to the value of espionage during wartime. If you're addicted to these books this is just one more you'll have to get.
I began the series after a friend recommended Master and Commander to me knowing how much I enjoyed reading the C.S. Forrester, "Horatio Hornblower" series.
I'd recommend these to fan of naval action, especially to any fan who enjoys subplots of life intertwined in a book.
The first three audio books I purchased were narrated by Patrick Tull. #3 and #4 were by Simon Vance. I would not recommend anything narrated by Simon Vance. He lent a particularly cartoonish flavour to the books that set my teeth on edge.
Luckily, Audible was able to obtain #4 and #5 with Patrick Tull. Mr. Tull's characterizations were more in keeping with the situations and characters. Mr's Vance's, on the other hand, danced on the edge of being a cross between the "League of British Gentlemen" and a Monty Python skit.
I'd would buy any of this series narrated by Mr. Tull.
I am an avid eclectic reader.
Patrick Tull does a great job reading this series. I have read this series by whatever book was available in the local library. But I found that Audible has them all. So I have started with book one and going through just skipping the ones I have read before. I think this was a slower pace story than others but provided a lot of history of the British & French action over the Mauritius. Had to go to the map to fully understand how the ships were blockading the area. Great battle scenes.
were are indebted to the two Patricks of these novels. They helped us survive a posting in the middle of nowhere in Spain, absolute desolation. This book, which we listened to twice, got us throw much of the suffering with its humour, action and the introduction of more characters and plot changes. Plus the historical accuracy made it even better. A must read.
Another fantastic story from Mr O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin series! I'm lingering on reading these because I really don't want to run out of them, even though there are twenty volumes to savour.
This time around we experience the battle for Mauritius between 1809 and 1811, incredibly closely based upon the real campaign (as are most of the subjects of this series I believe). I use the term "incredibly" because the nature of this campaign, the contrast between the immense dangers and interminable boredom (suitably glossed over or enlivened for the reader with brilliant descriptions of the amazing vessels that made up the French and British naval fleets) requisite due to the vast tracts of time that travel to anywhere required when travelling by sail.
These books are so well written that you get dragged in from the opening pages and sucked along in the wake of the story constantly marveling at the way things used be. As well as the expected (and thoroughly detailed) marine elements of the story there are brief forays into the science of the time, a social commentary mostly based on the thoughts of Mr Maturin and other members of the supporting cast - it's a riveting window into the time that gave birth to the fabled English "stiff upper lip".
With regard to the audio: Never was there a more suitable marriage of narrator and subject matter. Everything about this collaboration is perfect.
Enough gushing. It's a great read and I'd heartily recommend it to all!
Print a map for this one, or find one of the Patrick O'Brian sites to guide you. Does get detailed as to locations. I follow along now with Google Earth to help keep up. The only thing I didn't like was the big jump in time at the begining. Years have gone by and nothing has happened. Book didn't quite make it so clear, I thought I had skipped a book, stopped listening and got home looked on my pc and yep, right order, just a huge leap in time.
I write for myself, for my own pleasure. And I want to be left alone to do it. - Salinger ^(;,;)^
"You cannot blame the bull because the frog burst: the bull has no comprehension of the affair"
- Patrick O'Brian, The Mauritius Command
This is my fourth Aubrey/Maturin novel (obviously) and I have yet to read one that I wasn't completely in love with. There is just too much to love about O'Brian's writing: his knowledge, his wit, his humor, his details, his affection for all his characters, his various digressions. Some of my favorites in this book:
- Dr. Maturin's discussion with Mr. Farquhar and Mr. Prote on the poetics of law
- Dr. Maturin and William McAdam's discussions about medicine and mermaids (Manatees and dugongs)
- Commodore Aubrey and Dr. Maturin's discussions about his temporary assignment as Commodore.
- Dr. Maturin the Naturalist's pursuit of eggs, drawings of aardvarks, etc.
- Dr. Maturin's thoughts on Aubrey's character, surveyed against Captain Corbett, Lord Clonfert, Captain Pym, etc.
- Dr. Maturin's addiction to Laudanum compared with McAdam's issue with alcohol.
- Commodore Aubrey's explanations of figures of speech in the Navy (e.g. the devil)
- the general horror of war, even triumph, shown by Dr. Maturin
Many of the best lines and best observations are made by Dr. Maturin, which is by design. It isn't that Captain/Commodore Aubrey is without wit, intelligence, or even genius, but he is a man of action. The brilliance of the design of these books is with these two you get the action and the observer. It isn't that simple and often O'Brian will reverse the rolls or combine the two for perspective, but it still is a useful structure for a long narrative.
This novel came out in 1977 and I'm still convinced that there was some deeply secret relationship between Patrick O'Brian and Gene Roddenberry. It might be the universe delivering a weird twin, but there is something similar in the way these stories seem to fit the mood and temperature of Star Trek. I even get a Captain Kirk vibe from Jack Aubrey and a Leonard "Bones" McCoy vibe from Stephen Maturin (with a bit of Spock thrown in as well). Since the first M&C book came out in 1969 and Star Trek first came out in 1966, it is a hard sell to say that one really influenced the other, but both were being created over the same time. Anyway, I love thinking there is some secret back and forth between these two pioneers of 20th-Century maritime fiction.
The Mauritius Command tells the story of an historical Royal Navy campaign, set in the "Aubrey/Maturin" universe.
At story's open, Jack is grounded on half-pay, living with his wife, their twin daughters and his mother-in-law. Jack longs to return to sea, and he gets his chance as the Commodore of a squadron of ships sent to disrupt the French bases and privateering in the Indian Ocean. Stephen Maturin accompanies as both medical man and intelligence agent. In addition to the actual effort of stopping the French, Jack and Stephen must finesse their relationships with the other officers and men in the squad.
This is almost a purely nautical and military adventure. Jack's domestic life is pretty settled, and Stephen's on-again-off-again romantic life is not referenced, so "home life" isn't a major theme in the story.
Patrick Tull's narrative style is lively and has a very "nautical" feel. However, his regional accent, gravelly voice and early-1990's production may be hard on American (and other) ears. There is a second version narrated by Simon Vance; I happen to prefer Tull's version.
1. Loads of nautical talk, no translation provided. Wikipedia can be a helpful reference (it was for me).
2. Although this is fourth in the Aubrey/Maturin series, you can appreciate this one without being familiar with the previous ones.
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