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Publisher's Summary

This, the first in the splendid series of Jack Aubrey novels, establishes the friendship between Captain Aubrey, Royal Navy, and Stephen Maturin, ship's surgeon and intelligence agent, against the thrilling backdrop of the Napoleonic wars. Details of life aboard a man-of-war in Nelson's navy are faultlessly rendered: the conversational idiom of the officers in the ward room and the men on the lower deck, the food, the floggings, the mysteries of the wind and the rigging, and the road of broadsides as the great ships close in battle.
Don't miss the rest of the Aubrey/Maturin series.
©1984 Patrick O'Brian; (P)2003 Recorded Books, LLC.

Critic Reviews

"The best historical novels ever written." (The New York Times Book Review)
"No writer alive can move one as O'Brian can; no one can make you laugh so loud with hilarity, whiten your knuckles with unbearable tension or choke with emotion. He is the master." (Irish Times)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
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    413
  • 2 Stars
    187
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Performance

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
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Story

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
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    90
  • 1 Stars
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The Beginning Of Greatness

Thus began my entrance into British naval historical fiction. I have read most of it by now but this is the door to naval terms and tactics. One can continue into general naval history with confidence due to O'Brian's tutelage.

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Narrator Improves Upon Perfection: Brilliant!

One of my favorite authors... brought to life by the narrator's phenomenal talents. Nuanced performance. Amazing characterization. Brilliant pacing.

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Top Notch

I like this Audible Presentation very well. Post the MainSails, Square up the Yard Arms, set the Stunt sails ! None of the terms are probably right, but good enough for a great listening.
Three Cheers for the Sofie! Hurray Hurray Hurray! And one more for Captain Aubrey! Hurray!

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loved the story but...

The story is a faithful reading of the book and very enjoyable.

The narrator's voice and peculiar pauses takes a bit of getting used to. Sometimes sentences and paragraphs on different topics run together.

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Read them all, going back a second time

One of the best written novels of the Napolionic era. Great characters and storyline. Read them all!

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Beautiful performance of a classic.

Absolutely submersive. Looking forward to the next book in the series. Great character potrayals by both the author and the reader. Love the nautical language.

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good read. my comprehention could have been bette

good story. some quality was lost in performance. but more lost due to quick story change and me not fully comprehending the old english grammar.

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wonderful story, not just for sailors!

this is a magnificent book. Patrick Tull does a splendid job, but honestly, I prefer Simon Vance as a narrator for the series.

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  • Jonathan
  • Franklin, PA, United States
  • 03-01-16

Well written and well performed

The story and performance combined for an excellent adventure. You can get lost in the details of sailing a ship, but I just took what I could from those descriptions and focused on the story. The narrator does an excellent job of bringing the characters to life. While he doesn't have a different voice for each character, I had no trouble discerning which character was talking. You can actually feel Capt. Aubrey's heft and imperfections in the narrator's performance. Very well done!

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This landlubber says hurrah for Master and Commander

A thoroughly enjoyable experience despite this reader's utter ignorance of nautical terms. The descriptive art of the author carried me into battle all the same and kept me totally enthralled with the story. The personalities of the characters were cleverly drawn and then brought to life by the superb narrator. I feared I would be at a disadvantage without the printed page for reference but that was not the case. I have already put book two on my wish list and look forward to further adventures with Captain Jack Aubrey and his friend, the doctor.