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Publisher's Summary

With his swashbuckling adventures, best-selling novelist Patrick O'Brian transports you to the high seas of old, where privateers lurk in the mist, and great ships fight to control the waterways. Blue at the Mizzen hoists the excitement to new heights as British frigate commander Jack Aubrey stakes everything on a desperate raid against the mighty Spanish fleet. Ever since Napoleon was defeated at Waterloo, Captain Aubrey's prospects in the new peacetime navy have looked dim. Even worse, his frigate Surprise was badly damaged in a nighttime collision. While Aubrey waits for repairs, ship's doctor Stephen Maturin brings him intriguing information about the New World. Soon Aubrey is leading a bold expedition that will determine the fate of a rising South American nation, and his own. Critically-acclaimed author Patrick O'Brian blends authentic period atmosphere, rich humor, and elegant language in each of his seafaring yarns. You can almost hear the thunder of the waves and smell the salty sea air as you listen to Patrick Tull's dramatic performance.
Don't miss the rest of the Aubrey/Maturin series.
©1999 Patrick O'Brian (P)2003 Recorded Books, LLC

Critic Reviews

"O'Brian is not that hard a taste to acquire, but he is very tough to shake...[the Aubrey/Maturin series] is a great work." (Boston Globe)

What listeners say about Blue at the Mizzen

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A review of the (end) of an entire series

What made the experience of listening to Blue at the Mizzen the most enjoyable?

The narration of this entire series (by Patrick Tull) was phenomenal. When I re-read these books I hear Maturin's and Aubrey's voices exactly as Tull presents them. He made these characters come to life - he made them real. I have listened to many Audible books, particularly ones where the characters are from a certain time/place/class/education, and Tull has nailed O'Brian's people perfectly. Frankly, I am at a loss to understand why they were later re-recorded by a different narrator...

What other book might you compare Blue at the Mizzen to and why?

If a person picked up Blue at the Mizzen without having ever read (or listened to) any other of the Aubrey-Maturin series they would certainly be entertained but they would be at a disadvantage (or perhaps I should say they would be doing themselves an injustice). This book is the culmination (the last) of twenty books in a chronological series. These books (all of them) are an experience to be savored, but more so, far more, in their entirety. This is last (finished) book in a series that follows the lives, loves and careers of two men over the span of many years and through numerous adventures and hardships. These are characters that we all have come to care about over time. Which, is the real, lasting gift that a truly gifted novelist bestows to his readers. I don't think you can fairly take one of the series of out that sequence and judge it as a stand-alone novel. If anything, I would say that Blue at the Mizzen is the last chapter of a long and absolutely gripping and endearing novel. And under that premise I would say that O'Brian gave us a fitting, if bitter-sweet, final chapter. It's hard to say goodbye to Aubrey and Maturin (and the rest).

Which character – as performed by Patrick Tull – was your favorite?

Maturin. That Patrick Tull managed to pull together Maturin's Napoleonic-era English, laced (heavily) with a Catalan-Irish brogue, is a wonder (and a delight) to the ears. Masterful.

Any additional comments?

A final note on this series... This is not simply a 'period piece' where contemporary voices are set against a historical backdrop for effect. Nor is it a dry, historical docu-drama where the central characters are there simply in place to narrate who-did-what, when and where.
O'Brian's characters are men and women of their time - not ours. O'Brian (thankfully) does not give in to the modern evil of political correctness. There is no sense [to this reader] that O'Brian held back or diluted his characters to play it safe. These characters come to us as real - with genuine thoughts, expressions, passions and emotions. But for all the distance of time, historical circumstance and place these are characters (people really) that we wish we knew, conversed with and were friends with.

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

How can this be the end?

I started listening to this series about two months ago. I expected to enjoy the first book and then move on to other authors and titles. I thought of it as a "guy's book." That's not what happened.

I was completely sucked into the world that Patrick O'Brian created with Jack Aubrey and Steven Maturin at its core. Over two months time, I've listened to all 20 -- and a number of them I listened to twice. I lived with headphones around my neck.

Now that I'm at the end, I miss Patrick Tull's voice in my ear. I continue to think about the ways the author created and used these characters. It is simply a masterful piece of writing and the narration is spot on.

If you're thinking of an Aubrey/Maturin inspired dinner, there's a great cookbook derived from the series called "Lobscouse and Spotted Dog." Perfect for a movie menu to accompany "Master and Commander" or the next movie -- rumored to be based on "Reverse of the Medal."

10 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Sorry that it is over!

I have just spent the last 2 years listening to the 20 books in this series. It has been superb. This book does not disappoint, and for those that have followed the story I'm sure you'll shed a tear at the end. I shall miss very much Aubrey, Maturin and Patrick Tull. It has been a wonderful adventure and worth every minute.

8 people found this helpful

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Best and Saddest at once.

This was, of course, one of the best books I've read, even if it were only by dint of being one of the Aubrey-Maturin series written by Patrick O'Brian. Every book in this series is great, the author doesn't bring across the reality of life in the RN during the Napoleonic wars, he seems rather to deliver his readers TO the era.

And then to have to perfect voicing of characters in the book perfectly rendered by Patrick Tull in the reading just makes perfection more perfect (can we do that?).

The only down point of this book is that it is the final full book in the series, and I'm always sad to reach the end of it. It's like losing a good friend...until I realize that I can start again at book #1 if I so desire. In fact, enough of this writing, it's time to start the series again!

3 people found this helpful

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An Excellent Series

If you have heard already a few titles of this series, you will not need my recommendation. You know already what deep satisfaction one takes in these masterfully written works. The only sadness, aside from a few unfortunate moral decisions portrayed by O'Brian, is that it has come to an end. I should be shocked if you did not think yourself well rewarded for you time in undertaking this voyage.

1 person found this helpful

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What can you say at the end?

What an incredible ride, from the first book to the last. I enjoyed every word, every joke, every chapter. It is true that "blue at the mizzen" is not O'Brian's best work. However, it has its own charm and its own special place as a great work in modern literature. I think that it is magnificent that an author would be inspired to write book of this kind (let alone 20 in a series) in my lifetime.

1 person found this helpful

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Poor narration

Probably my favorite reads. I love this series. I have 1-19 narrated by Simon Vance which are excellent, he has a distinctive voice for all the main characters. This one narrated by Patrick Tull is like listening to the disclaimer at the end of a radio commercial, he talks fast and it is hard to keep track of who is speaking, as well as the story.
Too bad Vance is no longer available.

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This whole series has been awesome

Wow, just wow. And now I think I must listen to them all again! Superb.

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phoning it in

by the time he got to this book Patrick O'Brien was pretty much done . just about everything in this tired novel is a regurgitation of an early adventure. I read it when it first came out and was terribly disappointed. fortunately the series did end with this one despite the publishers trying to push an unfinished twenty-first onto the reading public. these are such incredible classics that it's a shame to see them diminished in this way

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An Improvement over the Previous Book

Patrick Tull serves as a superior narrator. I am still offput by Diana's death and Stephen's moving on to greener pastures. However, this book is superior to the last installment.