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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

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
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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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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Fabulous

If you could sum up Master and Commander in three words, what would they be?

Hard to pick three words. Realism. Accuracy. Brilliant descriptions of the sailing life on the 19th century war ships. And a tough life it was especially for the enlisted men.

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excellent performance of an amazing story.

The story is captivating. The narration is fantastic. I have listened to the entire series 3 times. highly recommended

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  • David Wong
  • Orlando, Florida United States
  • 07-11-15

THE BEST NAUTICAL FICTION EVER!

And Patrick Tull brings it to life as no other. Why would you ever want to listen to an abridged version. Like drinking diet coke or skipping dessert. This is full strength Patrick O'Brian. Just like the coffee the Jack and Stephen love so well.

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  • H.H.
  • Hebbronville, TX, United States
  • 06-12-15

Fourth time through the series and it is still fantastic!

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and series. Please understand that the series is much more about the friendship of Jack and Stephen than it is the sea battles. The first time through I was turned off by the lack of action in some of the books until I realized this. Also, the narrator is consistently good throughout. The voices are spot-on and are easily recognizable. Patrick Tull has received some bad comments but I believe that these are from people who are expecting a near-perfect monotone rather than the voice acting that is done here. In summary, this is one of my favorites and has given me a real passion to learn more about the Age of Tall Ships.

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Even better on the second listen.

I've listened to all 21 books previously. I finished about 10 years ago.

The first book is even better the second time around. Patrick Tull is the master and commander of narration for this Series. I am looking forward to the next 20 books.

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  • G 3
  • Los Angeles
  • 05-12-15

fantastic narrator

The nautical terms make following this story tricky at times. the narrator is quite good, and really brought the story to life.

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A masterpiece!

Any additional comments?

Upon listening to this book, it is clear why it is a classic. Well researched, well written and well performed. The amount of detail enhances the illusion of authenticity. The language is exquisite, with the writer demonstrating full command of the English language.

The performance by mr. Tull is also warmly recommended, his voice and diction suits the rich writing and brithish language very well indeed.

Magnificent, and recommended for any lover of classical high adventure, on the seven seas or otherwise!

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  • Linda
  • Blaine, MN, United States
  • 03-27-15

Master and Commander Is In A League of Its Own!

The challenge - to read something different than I usually read and to recommend to my friend something different for him too. He read Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte; I read Master and Commander by Patrick O'Brian. He was glad he had finally read Jane Eyre, but I found an entirely new series to delve into and listen to for hours! Patrick O'Brian is a master (no pun intended) at his craft and has written a novel with consummate details of the British Navy, a lovely sense of humor, and characters you don't want to leave at the end of the story. Captain Aubrey and his sidekick, Steven Maturin, are like the odd couple, but despite their differences they develop an abiding friendship. The series follows Captain Jack (Aubrey) on his sailing exploits, sometimes humorous, sometimes dangerous, but always engaging. As for Patrick Tull, he is by far the most talented narrator I have ever had the privilege to hear. This book is a rare combination of excellent writing and excellent narration. I am a dyed-in-the-wool romance novel listener, but this novel struck a chord with me; perhaps it was the romance of the open sea.

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Great book. Nice performance.

the story is compelling, entertaining and educational too. A great insight into both human nature as well as the cultural engineering and organizational proqess of the British Navy at its pinnacle.

I think the Narration was clear and dramatically on point, but there were times when I felt that having an ensemble cast may have been more effective.

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  • Neil
  • San Francisco, CA, United States
  • 03-25-15

I liked it but not a lot

The story was a little slow for me, but I do understand there are many books that belong to the Patrick OBrian list. I just didn't totally get into it. I will seek out more of his novels as I am interested in the time period and ships especially.