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Publisher's Summary

At the outset of this adventure, Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin pursue a heavy American privateer through the Great South Sea. Their ship, the Surprise, is now also a privateer, the better to escape diplomatic complications from Stephen's mission, which is to ignite the revolutionary tinder of South America. Jack will survive a desperate open-boat journey and come face to face with his illegitimate black son; Stephen, caught up in the aftermath of his failed coup, will flee for his life into the high, frozen wastes of the Andes; and Patrick O'Brian's brilliantly detailed narrative will reuinte them at last in a breathtaking chase through storm seas and icebergs south of Cape Horn.
Don't miss the rest of the Aubrey/Maturin series.
©1993 Patrick O'Brian (P)2003 Recorded Books, LLC.

Critic Reviews

"So much better than the competition that comparisons long ago ceased to be relevant: [the Aubrey/Maturin books] are uniquely excellent." (The New York Times)
"Meticulously researched and heart-stoppingly vivid." (Washington Post Book World)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Patrick Tull is the only narrator to choose

Patrick Tull reads the Aubrey/Maturin novels far better than anyone else. Buy the whole series with his voices, to bring alive each character with subtlety and vigor.

24 of 26 people found this review helpful

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

oínopa pónton

“And jealous now of me, you gods, because I befriend a man, one I saved as he straddled the keel alone, when Zeus had blasted and shattered his swift ship with a bright lightning bolt, out on the wine-dark sea.”
—Homer, The Odyssey, Book V

So, "wine-dark sea" (or "oínopa pónton") is a phrase used quite a bit by Homer. And Homer was quite an author I guess. And he did some pretty damn good writing about boats and stuff. So, it is only natural that Patrick O'Brian would eventually get around to using the "Wine-Dark Sea" image in one of his books. In Book 16 to be specific. This book is actually book 4, of a 5-novel circumnavigation of the globe sieries within his greater 20 book (21 if you count his last unfinished novel) Aubrey-Maturin series. There is some nice sailing, and the wine-dark sea section happens to appear at a point when some volcanic activity is happening nearby (which given the location of most of Homer's sea stories, also ties the mysterious wine-dark colors together).

Anyway, there was some interesting sections dealing with South American politics, and Andes hiking. Some of my favorite new characters are the two little girls rescued from a South Asian island that was decimated with small-pox. They have attached themselves to Dr. Maturin and become a lovely feature on the Surprise. I'm starting to get that feeling one gets towards the last couple days of an amazing vacation. You still enjoy the country, beach, mountains, etc., but there is a sense of impending dread that this all will end too soon. One day, I'll reach to the table next to my bed and there won't be a new O'Brian novel to read. I'm already sad.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

If you've gotten this far, you don't need a review

If you could sum up The Wine-Dark Sea in three words, what would they be?

Hip, hop, horray

Who was your favorite character and why?

They're always the same; Aubrey, Maturin, Bonden; having listened to all the books, they feel like friends

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

Tull is beyond compare. He has all the accents down beautifully, and his voice is perfect for this seafaring classic.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I'd like to listen to all 20+ in one sitting.

Any additional comments?

A tour de force; I'll have more to say after the last volume.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Narration

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

I have heard other narrators and Patrick Tull, is the right man for this series.

Any additional comments?

Excellent as usual.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Another fantastic story with Aubrey and Maturin.

I have absolutely loved this book. The narration has been wonderful and brings added depth and expression the book conveys. The stories and interactions of the characters and the sea actions all come together to form a great story.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

This audiobook is mixed up

Is there anything you would change about this book?

Yes, I would like to be able to hear the chapters in order. This book starts midway through the story, then starts at chapter 1 and then just gets even more from there, The ending happened midway through book,I was wondering why I was so lost throughout the story. Like when did this happen, what happened to this ship and How is Captain Pullings not back on the ship and not on his command he was sailing? It was just all over the place. Very disappointed that it was so messed up. Still love the series though.

Who was your favorite character and why?

I love both Aubrey and Maturin, and their interactions with their crew, especially Killick..."Killick,Killick there!!!" lol

Which scene was your favorite?

all of them, just life on the seas in that time period.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

Oh yeah, would love sequels to "Master & Commander"

Any additional comments?

I dont want to scare anyone off from this series, and this is the only one out of 16 ive had any problem with, but they really need to fix this audiobook

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Audible Sound Cloud puts ending in the middle!

What did you love best about The Wine-Dark Sea?

I do love this book. I have read the entire series and I love Patrick Tull's readings of them.

HOWEVER, at the moment I CANNOT RECOMMEND THE AUDIBLE VERSION. On Sound Cloud, the very ending of the book instead cuts in during Section 12, the middle of the story. With audio books, I'm generally listening in 30 minute chunks as I clean, so I was simply confused about how I seemed miss some plot twist. Then at the end of the book, it simply cuts to an author interview -- in the midst of an unfinished ship chase! I spent two days calling to try to get it fixed with Audible tech support. It was not fixed. Eventually in desperation, I went re-read the plot summary online, and re-found that confusing section in the middle (actually the ending of the story), so I could at least have closure...

I am so sad to have invested so much time listening to the book, only to end up with an overall rather confusing, strange version. GO READ THE PAPER BOOK FOR THIS ONE.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Still firing on all cylinders

this is more like a collection of short stories, but it is excellent all around and has some of the best writing of the entire Canon. Patrick Tull's performance is confident, suerb, and hilarious. Highest recommendation.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • ArrCar
  • Eugene, OR, US
  • 11-07-17

Another great book in the Aubrey/Matchurin series.

This is another great book in the Aubrey/Matchurin series. This book has a very good storyline. On to the next book in the series.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Always consistent with the story line.

The series is always consistent with tradition of the British Royal Navy. My favorite stories!