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Publisher's Summary

Jack's prize money has set the household accounts aright, but if he continues frittering it on naive extravagances, it will be gone in a fortnight. Fortunately he gets a commission aboard the Leopard, bound for Australia to rescue the hated and captive Captain Bligh.
Don't miss the rest of the Aubrey/Maturin series.
©1978 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 members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.7 out of 5.0
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Performance

  • 4.8 out of 5.0
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Story

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I loved it...

Consider the intrigue between the Doctor and the Lady Spy. Consider the friction between Jack and the ?I?d do it this way? Grant. Consider the parallelism between the Doctor and Herrapath [SIC], the bad luck with women, the opium problem, etc.

I thought it as the second best of the first 5, with only the first book being better. Well written.

And the sea chase between The Leopard and the Dutchman were outstanding.

Can?t wait for the next one.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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A joy to listen to.

This book, as well as the others in the series, are a joy to either listen to or read--especially after the first or second volumes when you have your "sea legs" and can understand the jargon.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Darwin8u
  • Mesa, AZ, United States
  • 02-14-17

Cutting a Coat According to One's Cloth

"But I was forgetting -- all is grist to your grisly mill..."
- Patrick O'Brian, Desolation Island

I'm only five books into this series, but I must declare that I love these books like I love ice water on the beach, or hot chocolate with a warm blanket on a Fall night. Rarely do I find a writer that amazes and seduces me with his/her technical skill, prose, poetry, and sense of humanity. I've said the same thing of John le Carré, but I really do feel that when a lot of the bones and books of our modern classics are dead, bleached, buried and forgotten, this series will be still published, read and loved.

Patrick O'Brian captures a certain dynamic element of what it means to be alive, to love, to kill, to scheme, and to befriend. The relationship between Captain Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin is one of the great friendships in literature EVER. I say that after ONLY reading 1/4 of the series. I can't imagine that O'Brian can sustain this level of resonance, but I have said that before when I first heard Bach's Violin Concertos. I had still yet to discover all the other pieces Bach had in his repertoire. I am older and humbler now. I am prepared to be humbled by future O'Brian masterpieces.

11 of 16 people found this review helpful

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  • connie
  • United States
  • 03-11-13

Listen Forward

A day isn't complete without Patrick Tull to listen to! Desolation Island continues the life story of Cap't. Jack Aubrey & Dr. Stephen Maturin whom I happily follow from one end of the ocean to another, as long as they keep sailing together. They are such great companions &, as our eyes & ears into the history of the early 19th century British Navy, they are great foils for one another. Maturin's interest in nature & Jack's in sailing give us a whole picture that is lovingly rendered. The high seas adventures continue & I would have it no other way than as read by Patrick Tull, narrating the various accents with ease & allowing the drama to carry itself, which it does effortlessly.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Battling an Iceberg in 1811

I thoroughly enjoyed the story and the writing. This book includes problems with convicts headed for Australia – including female convicts – problems with serious illness during a long becalmed period, out maneuvering a Dutch man-of-war, crashing with an iceberg that almost sinks them and destroys their rudder and then encountering an American whaling vessel that hates the British. It was very exciting.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Zachariah
  • Pahrump, NV, United States
  • 08-15-10

Very Well Written

There are a few negative reviews of this book.
I would disagree.
I found this story to be very entertaining and very well written.
It's not all swashbuckling, but still a very good story.
Besides, if you don't listen to this story, you won't understand the beginning of the next story.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Don't Miss

While this book is not one of the best of the Aubrey/Maturin series, you should not miss it. It has one of the most memorable chase scenes in any of the books, that between the Leopard and the Dutch 74 gun Waakzaamheid. The book also establishes the vast difference between Jack Aubrey ashore (a dolt) and Jack Aubrey afloat (a genius). If you skip this book, you will have missed a great listen.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Debali
  • Chicago, Israel
  • 03-23-07

One of the Best

The dialogue in this one is brilliant even flashing at times. The swearing of oaths is particularly choice in this one. More than once I burst out laughing aloud (embaressing when other people are around). Both Aubrey's and Maturin's character develop and deepen considerably in this one too. In the case of the doctor, the calling of science in a man of the enlightenment like Dr. Maturin is far more deeply explored, particularly with the outbreak of jail fever. Aubrey's stature as a commander too grows considerably in the face of this great trial, being captain of an unlucky ship. Altogether superb.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Paul
  • houston, TX, USA
  • 02-27-06

Why so many bad reviews?

Was hesitant to get this title because of so many poor reviews. Only did it to have read them all. Now I'm very pleased I did. Why so much fuss over such a great listen. Lots of different aspects of A&M life looked into. Very satisfing. I can only guess that the minimal "ship to ship" fighting, and the linear story, didn't apeal to everyone. Plus really got under my skin that Jack is such an oblivion on land. Great suspence with the chase and the spying.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Paul
  • Tyler, TX, USA
  • 02-28-05

desolation

actually, i could probably listen to tull narrate a 14-hour ping-pong match between aubrey and maturin and enjoy myself. however, this wasn't quite as good as the others. a little too much time spent brooding. still, it ain't bad.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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