Don't miss the rest of the Aubrey/Maturin series.
©1973 Patrick O'Brian; (P)2004 Blackstone Audiobooks
"The best historical novels ever written." (The New York Times Book Review)
It appears there is strong feeling about the different readers. The full series will be available from both readers within months. I find both readers' versions enjoyable but prefer Vance. The voice he gives to each character brings out and complements O'Brian's dramatic and humorous content.
I find that Tull allows the personalities to fall a bit flat. Indeed the Tull's Aubrey simply fails to capture the perpetually high-spirited captain. Moreover the Irish accent of Maturin seems unrealistic given the mixed heritage and his scholarly bent. The quiet, neutral voice chosen by Vance is more convincing.
Whichever reader on chooses, however, the story is top-notch!
I'd give the book 5 stars if I would have gotten the Patrick Tull naration. Simon Vance, though not bad by any measure, couldn't match Patrick Tull's narration of the series for me. The book itself is one of the best of the series. It is filled with suspense and action throughout. The main characters face personal and professional challenges that define their character again and again. This is a book where the reader gets a real feel for the characters of Jack Aubrey and Dr. Maturin at a greater level than in the first 2 books. The beloved HMS Surprise is also introduced, a ship that comes back into the series again and again. An excellent book.
I personally have enjoyed Simon Vance's narration of the Aubrey/Maturin series a great deal; I think he capture's the books tone beautifully! I listened to another sample of Tull's narration and it just sounds all _wrong_ to me. Nothing against Tull, I think it's just personal preference. If you haven't heard either, than I strongly recommend that you listen to samples from both before making a decision.
adventure, prose, thoughtful.
"Moby Dick or the Whale” Although Patrick O'Brian is a 20th century writer, he really harkens back to the early 19th century. The poetic flow of the prose, the variance into alternative disciplines (natural philosophy, biology, physiography) and the adherence to historic accuracy make a novel as compelling as Herman Melville’s classic work.
Simon is one of my favorite narrators. His vocal abilities are expansive. He has as many accents as there are characters in the book. He could make a mediocre book pleasurable, although I would not consider this, in any way, a mediocre book. Patrick O’Brian is a wonderful writer and Simon Vance’s performance only adds to the wonderment.
This is the Aubrey and Maturin series and you really can't distinguish between the two. Jack Aubrey entices you with his wit and innocence as the extrovert and Stephen Maturin displays the introverted intellect that you crave. My feelings fluctuate between the two but if I take them together they paint a more complete whole.
I would think that any reader would enjoy this book but someone who is compelled by historical fiction and by wind-powered adventure would be enthralled with this series.
This series is entertaining and enjoyable. The characters are well developed and the nautical and military details are interesting. Simon Vance does a fantastic job as reader. The books in this series are a bit 'fluffy', there are no great philosophical issues being explored here...perfect for a beach listen or a tedious flight.
I made the mistake of Buying this book narrated by Tull, I know some folks like his style but the long pauses between sentences and his inability to vary his speech for the different characters enough to fill them out, well I ended up buying the book twice to hear Vance who I find much more entertaining. Tull can hold a tune Vance doesn't sing,That's one point in Tulls favor, Listen to a sample before buying is what I recommend, hehe It was a great book, Truly enjoyed it.
I've completed my first pass through O'Brian's universe and have just gotten to HMS Suprise on my second run through. This series is one of the few I've read/listened to that virtually REQUIRES multiple readings... the richness of the story make it as enjoyable now as the first time. I don't know if I could add anything to the many great reviews I've read of the various novels in the series... so I'll just add that it's every bit as brilliant as the consensus suggests, read (or listen to) just one of the novels and you'll find yourself greedily devouring the second... third... fourth... then looking back with regret that Patrick wasn't able to finish just one more (or two... or three).
As far as the two narrators... I have an almost even split between the two and while Tull has a wonderful breadth of accents that clearly delineate the various characters, Vance has amazing skill at conveying emotion... both broader and more subtle than Tull. When Jack yells "SURPRISE!!!" for the first time... I'm glad it was Vance's performance (the second pass thorough... I broke out into a HUGE smile, having the cheek to feel I've gotten to know Jack over the last 6 months or so - the time it took me to get through the first pass). Interestingly, my first O'Brian novels were Tull and when I got the Vance version of HMS Surprise I was initially very turned off by his very formal English... but by the end of the book I'd become as happy with his reading as with Tull's, but for different reasons. Vance's Aubrey is my favorite, but I like Tull's support characters (Killeck especially). I'm glad I bought some of both performers.
I enjoyed listening to this book. However, for those of us who are not accustomed to 50 different British accents, understanding everything may be somewhat of a challenge. That said, I really enjoyed the story, despite the fact that there was not much of a plot. It seems that these books are more of a fictional biography of a sea captain and a doctor, rather than a book with an actual plot.
This is an excellent story, one of the best in the series.
Sadly, Narrator Simon Vance simply does not have the range to do justice to the huge ensamble casts that are a feature of all the POB novels. He's fine when the third person narration, but he does a poor job of reading the dialog. He has only a BBC style english accent. His Jack is a BBC voice read in a very affected bass style. His Stephen is a BBC voice with a slightly comic "Dr Watson" sound. You will not detect the slighted Catalonian or Irish in this version of Stephen. All the other sailors have a BBC voice with a slight cockney flavor.
If you listened to 'Master and Commander' read by Patrick Tull you will hear POB in his full glory. Tull gives each and every character a very distintive voice.
My advice is don't settle for second best. Patrick Tull is known as "The Voice" by POB fans for a very good reason. Any other reader is second best.
Avoid this recording, get the Tull version.
Simon Vance is the better narrator IMHO. Just look at the wide variety of novels by other authors read by him with high ratings. Patrick Tull on the other hand has these annoying pauses where he is "catching his breath" and sometimes you can even hear his breathing.
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