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Publisher's Summary

The Peace of Amiens has left Jack Aubrey with no ship, no enemy to pursue, and no possibility of prize money to supplement his meager income. His decision to seek refuge from his troubles, and creditors, in France proves doubly disastrous.
Don't miss the rest of the Aubrey/Maturin series.
©1972 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

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Story

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Great read and performance.

if I'm unfamiliar with rhe Aubrey Maturin novels this book is an excellent sequel to Master and Commander.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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I love a good sea story

The continuation of such a fun story of a beloved sea captain and dr. Maturain. I can't wait to hear if Diana and Stephen will meet again in love..

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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O'Brian meets Austen

Would you consider the audio edition of Post Captain to be better than the print version?

My opinion of this series has definitely been influenced by the fact that I have only listened to most of it. I read "Master and Commander" many years ago after hearing that these were wonderful books, and I couldn't understand what all the hype was about. It was a good book, but rather dry and full of detail to the point of being almost tedious. Then I started checking them out of the library on tape, and I was hooked. "Post Captain" is no exception.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Jack Aubrey's character is given more depth here in "Post Captain" than perhaps he had in "Master and Commander," which is another way of saying that the difficult circumstances he encounters here cause him to grow. In this book he runs the gamut from the depths of despair to the heights of triumph and elation, and most everything in between at some point in the story. The reader gets a deeper glimpse into his character here, beyond the rather earthy yet undeniably heroic naval officer first portrayed in "Master and Commander." Not that he was simplistic in that earlier story, but here we see depths and nuances not previously encountered.

Have you listened to any of Patrick Tull’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

As many have pointed out before, some like Tull's style and others don't. I am unashamedly one who loves to listen to Patrick Tull. I few years ago I heard him narrating a PBS special on the civil war battle ship Maine, and I was instantly hooked and had to watch the whole thing. When I first started listening to the Aubrey/Maturin series, I did it through my local library and was thus forced to listen to whatever they happened to have available. The first reader I heard was Richard Brown, who I grew to quite like. Then Patrick Tull, who did not convince me at first. I skipped back and forth between these two for several more books of the series and decided I liked both of them, but maybe I liked Brown a little better. As time went on, and the recordings by Richard Brown were re-done and replaced by other narrators, I eventually heard Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin voiced through David Case--a reader I absolutely love for anything by Dickens--and Simon Vance as well. I have listened to Vance read other books, too, as I listen to a lot of audio books. By now, I have gone through the entire Aubrey/Maturin series several times, mostly listening to Patrick Tull. My conclusion is that Tull's mastery of these books and his perfection for this role he loved might not be immediately evident to the new listener, since this is what happened to me. And several listeners seem to have been baffled by his British accent, which is a common-enough occurrence with Americans unfamiliar with that dialect. I remember watching a British movie when I was a little kid and hardly being able to understand a word they were saying! However, I discovered British TV about three decades ago, and by now I barely notice the accent, it sounds so normal to me. The idea that Patrick Tull is "hard to understand" is something only someone unfamiliar with British speech could possibly say. His readings are extremely clear and easy to understand (if you are comfortable with an English accent), yet at the same time, full of character and emotion. By comparison, Simon Vance is unbearably bland, and that's what I don't like about his narration of this series, or in fact of anything I've heard him read--the latest was "The Elephant Whisperer," which was an interesting book, but Vance's stilted narration didn't help it. Whenever I listen to him saying the familiar words of the Aubrey-Maturin series, I am always forcibly reminded that he is reading a book to me. It is all at second-hand. His enunciation is so careful and--by comparison with other readers--impersonal. When I listen to Patrick Tull, I am immersed in the story and it is as if I was there. The characters come to life, each one distinct and sharply-defined from all others. Tull was great with the different voices, and I love his slight Irish lilt when he voiced Stephen Maturin, who was after all half Irish and spent some of his childhood in Ireland. Admittedly, this may not be accurate, since no one who sees Maturin or hears him speak has any idea that he is Irish. But it sure makes it easier to distinguish the characters when you are listening to them, and I personally love Tull's interpretation of him. It isn't a heavy or thick Irish accent, as he did with certain other Irish characters along the way. I think, though, that it probably comes down to a matter of personal taste in the end. I've listened to Simon Vance read other books, and at least so far, I just can't enjoy listening to him, no matter how much I've liked the book he was reading. It isn't only that I think he's wrong for the Aubrey/Maturin series; I simply don't enjoy the sound of his voice! I'm sure there must be people who feel the same way about Patrick Tull. Still, I would recommend that anyone who likes this series give Tull a good, long chance. Get familiar with him. It's definitely worth the effort.

Who was the most memorable character of Post Captain and why?

Jack Aubrey stands out--and after all, he is the title character, so that's only fitting. As always in this series, however, it is a duet, not a solo piece. Stephen Maturin also becomes more clearly defined as the story progresses. In some ways he is the more admirable character, exhibiting more restraint and self-denial than Jack, partly because he is innately more mature at this point in the series and sees more clearly what is happening, Repeatedly, he decides to put his own interests aside in favor of his loyalty to his friend Jack. Though he is front-and-center in many scenes, he plays second fiddle (or cello, as the case might be) to Jack in this story.

Any additional comments?

With its lengthy passages on land, involved in the manners of the English gentry and their courtly rituals, this book is perhaps the one of O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin series which is most like Jane Austen's body of work. There are still sea-battles in plenty, as well as the intrigue of intelligence work, so don't think this is something like "Sense and Sensibility." As others have noted before me, the book actually feels like three books in one. The first part is the most Austen-like, as Jack and Stephen move ashore and take up fox hunting and visiting with the female neighbors. In the second part, everything goes sour, particularly for Jack. It is one of the darkest, gloomiest parts of the entire 20-book series. Finally, in the third part, as Jack's fortunes take a turn for the better, there is a light-hearted, humorous jubilation that makes a sharp contrast with the feeling of depression which preceded it. O'Brian's wit is evident throughout the story, sometimes blatantly expressed, as when Stephen comes aboard their ship with a bulky cello and a portable beehive, waving a narwhal's horn in one hand; to more subtle winks to the reader, as when the members of the dinner party on Jack's ship drunkenly sing of "Three Blind Mice," a reference by O'Brian to the three men who are stupidly pursuing the same woman, all of whom are in attendance at the dinner. While this is a really good book, in retrospect I think a person only comes to see these works in their proper light once they've read those that follow. I enjoyed "Post Captain" the first time I read it, but I like it so much better now that I've read the entire series. The Aubrey-Maturin chronicle really has nothing similar to it in modern literature, so it's hard for many people to get into, but it certain repays any effort involved.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Alan
  • Alpine, CA, USA
  • 05-30-04

Post Captain

Again, more of what I expected. O'Brian paints wonderful pictures with his words. I look forward to 18 more stories.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Not my favorite book in the series, but still good

It would have been hard to match the sea battles and action of Master and Commander. I'm not a huge fan of Jane Austin type writing, so the beginning of the book, with it's emphasis on courtship and social life, felt a bit slow...but the relationships created are of great importance later in the series. The novel is great though at showing what a roller coaster ride the career of a naval officer can be. Aubrey, riding so high in the previous book, has a series of dramitic ups and downs. For those who favor naval action, the later part of the book does not disappoint, with a suspense-filled cutting-out expedition and a a creditable, though brief account of a fleet action.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Good, but not as good as the first.

I actually gave the first book a 5. There is nothing wrong with this book. I enjoyed listening too it greatly, however parts of it were kind of a downer. I enjoyed the plot twists (hope that is not too revealing), and the intruduction of some new land bound female characters. I dont want to say too much, but how Jack can still be called 'Lucky Jack' is beyond me. The devolopment of stevens character in this book was also very pleasing. I still intend to finish the series.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Great Story--especially if you know sailing

You'll get more out of this book if you're a sailor but there's enough plot to go around even if you don't get all of the sailing terminology. (It hasn't changed that much since the days of the square-riggers.) Tull's reading is the best I've heard on any audiobook. Looking forward to downloading the rest of the books in the series.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • B.J.
  • Minneapolis, MN, United States
  • 03-09-14

Absolutely perfect in every way.

I truly love this series. I'm now on my second listen to all 20 books and appreciating the details I missed the first time through.

This particular book in the series, the second one, starts to explore Jack and Stephen's personalities more. As characters, they were established in "Master and Commander" but now are really fleshed out. Jack is growing up and growing into his role as a leader. Stephen, ultimately more complex as a character, is showing his colors more as an naturalist and volunteer spy in addition to his role as a "sawbones." The eccentricities of both are so delightful. I have to keep reminding myself that these characters were created in O'Brian's unbelievable imagination.

I never would have guessed that I could be this smitten with nautical historical novels set during the Napoleonic Wars. But I am. I love Patrick Tull's narration and the way he gives voice to these amazing characters. It's such an engaging listen.

4 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Great adventures and fun on land and sea!

It boggles my mind how someone who is so contemporary as O'Brian can write with a voice that is so true to the period, especially given the fact that sailing tall ships is essentially a lost art. I am also impressed at the scope of topics that he tackles, from sailing to music, to matters of the heart. Tull's narration is spot on, and adds so much to the joy of "reading" these Aubrey-Maturin books.

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Second in a long series

Post Captain is the second book in a long series of 21 books, and I plan to listen to them all! This particular story solidifies the previous book and continuous to entertain with the delightful tale of Aubrey and Maturin. I absolutely loved this book, it has a compelling romance story (Romeo and Juliet style), awesome ship combat that makes me cheer along with the crew, and even hilarious moments like Maturin bringing a glass hive of 30,000 bees on board. Great book!