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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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Story

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Best historically accurate fiction ever

These books contain literally every one of the Genres of Great literature. Don't be miss led by the movie "master and commander "- the relational aspects are every bit as fascinating as the amazing adventures. With 21 volumes, you will be immersed in the complete life and times of the early 19th century.

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Wonderful!

Magnificent story now rated to perfection by one of the best leaders in the world.

Not to be missed by any lover of the sea or of O'Brien.

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Excellent tale, well told!

Patrick Tull has a perfect voice for narrating Patrick O'Brian's nautical historical fiction. I recommend this and the other stories heartily.

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Better each time!

I think this is my 4th time through the Aubrey Maturin series. Each reading exposes new depth of story and character so subtly penned by Patrick O'Brian that I'm left amazed at what can be accomplished in so few words. I understand Jack and Steven that much better each time through. Their motivations, faults, humor, and potential become clearer and clearer to me, and I would love to meet them (though I will admit Steven is somewhat on the implausible side).

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Wombats on shore for those that like them...

The next chapter in the spectacular Aubrey/Maturin series. I love these books and I could probably just line all of my superlatives up and be done with it. I don't quite know why I love them so much. I think it's a combination of the attention to detail in the sea-going portions of the books (plus the piquing of interest from the references and allusions to actual historical events) and, since I'm listening to the series rather than visually ingesting it, the marvelous reading that Patrick Tull performs.

Many a better reviewer has reviewed this series and its component parts so I'll just mention the bits that I loved and be done with it.

Desolation Island has a few passing allusions to Australia since the penal colony at Botany Bay is the ultimate destination of the voyage that this book describes. This leads to references such as "Think of the opportunities, Stephen - thousands of miles of almost unknown sea and coastline - wombats on shore for those that like them...". My Australian heritage and subsequent prolonged absence therefrom make me a sucker for anything Aussie and it was fun to hear ye olde Australia referenced like that.

The chase scene in this story is also fantastic. I don't want to mention any specifics but the description of the participants (including the weather), the general drama leading up to the final conclusion really was top notch.

Stephen's intelligence work plays a reasonably central part in this story and his machinations are interestingly examined and explained as the story progresses.

Finally, as previously mentioned, the minutiae of historical shipboard life, the details of the convict transportation, the food, the medical treatments of the time, it's an awesome (in both the old and new senses of the word) reminder of what people used to take for granted and of how lucky we are today.

In conclusion, go read it now, great fun!

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Great book. Great narrator.

One of my favorite Aubrey/Maturin novels.
And since I love them all, that is saying something.

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The adventure continues...

I am enjoying the series immensely. Solid characters and always a good adventure to go on. :)

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Stephen takes the lead role

Just one battle; I like three or four! The focus is on Stephen, his struggle with laudanum and his intrigues. If, like me, you have come to care about Aubrey and Maturin as if they were real friends, then you read it with enjoyment anyway, and on to,the next!

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Do not buy this version, buy Simon Vance version

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

Truly, this reader is quite terrible. Several times, I am wondering if he will finish the sentence before passing away into the next realm. Instead, go buy the Simon Vance version, he has read the books terribly well and you will not be disappointed.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Patrick Tull?

Simon Vance.

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Not the best in the series

I do enjoy these books but this one falls short. Somewhat of an amateurish job by other wise very good writer in terms of having his plots and themes flow together towards a destination.

The plot is all over the place, is the book about are transferring convicts? deciding Blighs fate, fighting the Dutch, surviving near shipwreck and mutiny, Maturin's inner conflict over Dianna and drugs (again), or playing a spy game?

The answer all of the above at different times, but only some of the above and the less interesting ones by the end. The Maturin spy theme is too abstract to really carry the day for the final climax of the book. So while the journey is entertaining at times the final destination is boring.

If you are a fan of the series by all means read so you can get to the next chapter, its not painful, but its worst of the series so far, and a very poor follow up to the Maturius Command.