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Publisher's Summary

After a dangerous tour of duty in the Great South Sea, Jack and Stephen finally return to their families in England. For Jack, the return is joyful, but for Stephen, it is heartbreaking. His wife, Diana, has left for parts unknown; his young daughter has all the symptoms of autism. To escape these painful circumstances, Stephen joins Jack on a bizarre decoy mission to the lagoons of the Gulf of Guinea.
Don't miss the rest of the Aubrey/Maturin series.
©1995 Patrick O'Brian (P)2003 Recorded Books, LLC

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

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Story

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  • Overall

Patrick Tull is a master

I love the entire series as books. I didn't really get how wonderful audiobooks can be, though, until I heard these readings by Patrick Tull. They are superb -- the variety of voices and accents -- and he captures Jack Aubrey and especially Stephen Maturin to perfection. If you love the series, do yourself a favor and get the version read by Patrick Tull. I tried the Simon Vance version, and in my opinion it doesn't compare.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Aidan
  • Gilbert, AZ, USA
  • 12-11-06

Another Classic

A little more historical fact in this one, but has a blast of good news for Jack. See a side of Stephen re his daughter that make for a very warming read.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Slave trade,

One of the best of the series in its description of British efforts to stop the slave trade and to prevent the French plans to invade Ireland. This one also has a description of the treatment of mild autism of Stephen's daughter. One of the ships in the convoy is captained by an overt homosexual leading to a long discussion of "buggery" in the British Navy. And, of course, romance and sailing!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

One of the more enjoyable.

In some of the books in this series nothing good happens till the very end; whereas this one, similiar to some of the early books, has a mix of good & bad experiences. The story moves along quite quickly too, but this is probably due to it being a shorter audio book (i.e., <11 hrs compared with 20-30 hrs of some of the other books).

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • Darwin8u
  • Mesa, AZ, United States
  • 11-28-17

To honour we call you, not press you like slaves

&quot;Come cheer up my lads, 'tis to glory we steer
To add something new to this wonderful year:
To honour we call you, not press you like slaves,
For who are so free as we sons of the waves.&quot;
- Patrick O'Brian, The Commodore quoting the sailor-song &quot;Hearts of Oak&quot;

Captain Aubrey (technically Post-Captain) gets frocked (or the Naval equivalent) and now commands a squadron of ships. This was a temporary rank given to high ranking captains without making them admirals, thus saving the Navy the cost, but still giving the captains the prestige they needed to command multiple vessels. Aubrey and Maturin head to the coast of Africa to disrupt the slave trade, but not before Maturin meets his daughter and discovers his wife has disappeared. The high points of this book is Maturin meeting his daughter (who is considerd slow) and in the final scenes with Maturin is reunited with his wife. From the action side, there is a fleet action at the end of the book that seems like one of those magical juggling acts that only O'Brian can pull off. He throws so many details in the air, and spins and swirls, and keeps them all floating in his narrative that the reader is left amazed that everything doesn't come crashing down.

The book contains a great deal of information about leadership as Aubrey discovers the difficulty in commanding a squadron of captains with various capabilities. There is also several amazing discourses on slavery and the slave trade (something that would definitely have been an oversight if O'Brian didn't cover it before the series ends in 3.5 books). I may be wrong, but the story told about Aubrey's victories during the slave trades broadly resemble the exploits of the HMS Black Joke. Anyway, it was a fascinating bit of naval history and the details were fantastic.

It wasn't my favorite O'Brian, but there is always soul in his books. They breathe and they hurt and they stretch you as you read every one of them. I'm getting close enough to the end of the series that I'm already feeling a bit sad knowing this is the 17 and that there are only 20 (and one unfinished novel). This isn't an unusual feeling, I usually get this way anytime I'm on the backhalf of a work of genius.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Great series

A great series of books well written and performed. Surprises even after listening to more than once - by far my favorite!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Story

O'Brian Rocks

Compared to other authors writing about the age of sail, Patrick O'Brian is the king.

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Not his best

this is the point when Patrick O'Brien begin slipping a little bit. Who stories become repetitive, although there are always excellent moments in them. Patrick Tull is always fantastic

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  • Story

The Best of Stories

These stories, though set in a bygone age, hold your interest by seducing you into the lives and adventures of two friends, Jack and Stephen. As with all great storytelling, it is the subtlety that produces such wonderful dialogue and events. Mastery of grammar and words, story development and so on are all very good, but in these stories it comes down to that unquantifiable gift some writers have. Patrick O'Brian invites us into a world of intrigue, loyalty, sacrifice, all timeless elements. Well done.

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  • Story

Beautiful

Tons of action and scenic descriptions, can't say enough good about this series! Read it!