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Publisher's Summary

A British whaler has been captured by an ambitious chief in the Friendly Isles, and Captain Jack Aubrey is dispatched to restore order. But Jack must first contend with an escaped convict who has stowed away on the Surprise, an attractive female convict who is driving the crew to awkward courtliness and dangerous jealousies.

The fifteenth installment of Patrick O'Brian's hugely successful Aubrey/Maturin series.

Don't miss the rest of the Aubrey/Maturin series.
©1992 Patrick O'Brian (P)2003 Recorded Books, LLC

Critic Reviews

"The best historical novels ever written." (The New York Times Book Review)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Darwin8u
  • Mesa, AZ, United States
  • 11-28-17

AKA Clarissa Oakes

“I am in favour of leaving people alone, however imperfect their polity may seem. It appears to me that you must not tell other nations how to set their house in order; nor must you compel them to be happy.”
- Patrick O'Brian, the Truelove

When originally published, O'Brian's 15th installment in his Aubrey-Maturin series was originally titled Clarissa Oakes. I'm not sure why the title was changed, but perhaps it is because the focus of this novel is less about Clarissa (Harvill) Oakes (the convict stowaway from New South Wales who marries Oakes, one of Captain Aubrey's Midshipman) than the events that surround her introduction onto the Surprise. Clarissa on the Surprise allows O'Brian to wax on a bit about sexual mores in the Navy and in England in the early 19th century. She also carries forward the series plot a bit.

It isn't the most exciting book in the series, but it is fascinating to watch the discipline aboard the Surprise deteriorate and Captain Aubrey's efforts to regain control. It is also provides O'Brian the space, with the introduction of Clarissa Oakes, to discuss sex (both gender and the act) in the early 19th century.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Dennis
  • FORT PIERCE, FL, United States
  • 02-17-13

We all seek Truelove, some find some not

If you could sum up The Truelove in three words, what would they be?

Action, Suffering, Enlightenment

What did you like best about this story?

The character of Mrs Oakes, she was a breath of fresh air to a structured world

What does Patrick Tull bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

I enjoy his charactors different emotions and he does a great job

Who was the most memorable character of The Truelove and why?

Liked Jimmy Ducks and the two little girls

Any additional comments?

Good book great story and look forward to the next one

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Gordon
  • Arlington, TX, United States
  • 09-12-12

Another Hit

Those familiar with this series will not be disappointed with this book and as always the characters and story are brought to life by Patrick Tull's wonderful narration.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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well done again Mr O'Brian!

Such a nice thing to visit old friends
a home coming
soon I will return to mundane life

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Fantastic book

I loved it. Another great book sailing, adventure and prizes. I cannot wait to find out what happens next.

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Declining Quality

This book seems more like filler when compared to the others. The later books in the series are not as good as those written before.

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Audio needs editing

the audio needs editing, too many gaps with no sound then abruptly cutting back in. at least fill the gaps with the same background noise as the rest of the reading, (Patrick Tull breathing, other narrators narrating, etc.)

I thought the book left too much hanging. Steven was too indiscreet giving up the name of Sir Joseph to who could very easily have been planted by the French or Americans to get that very information. and there was something in the air about Clarissa that I feel wasn't fully explained by her story. perhaps we haven't heard the last of her.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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I love this series and this is a favorite. l

Patrick O'Brian never disappoints and this is no exception. Add the narration on Patrick Tull and this is a winner.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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introduced a new character

I love the Intriguing new character whom both Jack and Maturin love. I can't wait to see what their wives think of her.

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Truly exceptional historical fiction.

O'Brian is the absolute best author in the genre of historical fiction. Patrick Tull is an exceptional narrator. Pity that they are both gone. Their work lives on!