Regular price: $34.97

Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free.
  • 1 credit/month after trial – good for any book, any price.
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love.
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel.
  • After your trial, Audible is just $14.95/month.
OR
In Cart

Publisher's Summary

For the first time in Jack Aubrey's long, illustrious career, the sea, to which he had escaped with very little more than his dignity in tact, brings small solace to him because of his increasing despondency over debts and troubles at home.

Shoved into a temporary command in "that rotten old Worcester," Aubrey is off to the Mediterranean to join the Royal Navy's blockade of the French port of Toulon, where he will be dispatched by Admiral Harte (unfortunately the same Admiral Harte he cuckolded years ago) on a secret mission that promises to embroil Aubrey in political conflict. His friend Stephen's help notwithstanding, Aubrey faces some of the choppiest waters of his career.

This is the eighth book in O'Brian's 20-volume Aubrey/Maturin series.

Don't miss the rest of the Aubrey/Maturin series.
©1981 Patrick O'Brian (P)1994 Recorded Books, LLC

Critic Reviews

"Splendid adventures at a stately pace." (Kirkus)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    765
  • 4 Stars
    178
  • 3 Stars
    41
  • 2 Stars
    3
  • 1 Stars
    2

Performance

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    688
  • 4 Stars
    68
  • 3 Stars
    7
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    2

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    585
  • 4 Stars
    131
  • 3 Stars
    33
  • 2 Stars
    6
  • 1 Stars
    3
Sort by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Paul
  • houston, TX, USA
  • 04-10-06

Part of a bigger tale

One more of POB's books that starts off slow, real slow, and stayed there. But it's about a blockade. The most boring mission you could hope not to get. It did pick up at the end. But we all know if you are reading this review, your going to get the book anyway. Just like me. I thought it was interesting to see how politics in the Near East hasn't changed much.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

The Ionian Mission

Although this is the first of the series to hit the doldrums, it's saved by humor on several levels, and the ending.

For the audio version, Patrick Tull aids its salvation. After a slow start, Tull brings more and more dramatic presence into each successive novel. He truly hits his stride here.

Other pluses include a more thorough use of Steven's near incurable ignorance of naval matters as our window into that complex, jargon filled Age of Sail world.

Then again, if you have not already found yourself saying “Top Gallants and Royals, if you please,” to express the need for haste, and urging people to finish something before it's abaft - even if those phrases don't answer - then you probably have not made it this far.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jean
  • Santa Cruz, CA, United States
  • 05-27-11

The Ionian Mission

This story was less dramatic than the prior books. Mostly they were on blockade which I gather from the book is boring for the crew. I did enjoy all the extra information O'Brian provided about the ships, sailing and the Royal Navy in the early 1800's late 1790s. Patrick Tull did an fantastic job narrating the story. Felt the ending was abrupt, wish there was more follow up of what happened after the battle. But maybe that comes in the next book.

4 of 4 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
  • 03-16-17

...a plucking apart, a worrying to death.

"But he had not seen a more wicked and as it were spiteful sea, with its steep, close-packed waves -- a sea that threatened not the instant annihilation of the great antarctic monsters but a plucking apart, a worrying to death."
- Patrick O'Brian, The Ionian Mission

Probably my least favorite in the series so far. It was destined to happen. Even the best instruments will see their strings get loose after a few weeks on the water. It is still lovely and has some amazing parts, but this is not the book I would hand someone to get them hooked on Aubrey/Maturin novels. That said, I loved the poetry contest, was glad to see the good captain and doctor playing again, found the Ottoman politics, and naval blockade strategy interesting.

In a previous review I talked about one of the things that allowed the novels to remain fresh was a change in setting. I still think this is one of the biggest components that allows O'Brian to write book after book about the British Navy during the Napoleonic wars without being too repetitious. However, this book reminded me of another thing O'Brian does -- he changes ships quite often. It is like seeing Mozart play on different types of instruments. The song might not change that much, and it might be still a recognizable Mozart tune, but hearing different instruments keeps everything fairly fresh.

All that said, I would probably have given this a simple 3 stars, had the last bit, the final brutal act, not been so beautifully staged. Reading the last 40 pages of this novel was like watching the first twenty minutes of Saving Private Ryan. I'm not saying they are similar in brutality, only similar in resonance. You exit the action and wonder how anyone could craft something so sharp and hard. That is the dilemma I think in writing or filming war (even naval war) books and movies. So much of actual war is (to borrow a phrase that has almost become a cliché in describing modern war, piloting, etc.) "months of boredom punctuated by moments of extreme terror." THAT is the challenge for O'Brian with this book in particular. I think he was trying, in a literary fashion, to SHOW the reader that. 95 percent of the book was a naval blockade. It wasn't sexy. There was the weather, yes. But characters were almost dying from boredom. And. Then. Action!!!

11 of 16 people found this review helpful

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

Run away to navy, the 19th century British navy

Another great sea faring adventure ! O'brian captures the listener on the first page and never lets go til the last shot is fired. Patrick Tull as always brings the story to life like no other narrator can, he is the voice of Maturin and Aubrey.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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

Not the best

O'Brian books are always a treat, but some are better than others. This is not one of the better ones though it does have some excellent moments. I definitely recommend the entire series, but this is one of my least favorites.

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

sort of a double book

This book is one of my favorites. it starts off with a normal enough mission in a normal ship then explodes into action once given another, more familiar ship. the battle at the end of the second part is by far my favorite in the whole series!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Tim
  • United States
  • 04-24-18

Reluctant Reader

I have to admit that I have been a reluctant reader these days due to time and life getting in my way. I hope to get back into my hobby again. Trying to finish "The Ionian Mission" before I forget everything was a bit of a chore, but as soon as I heard Patrick Tull's voice again, I remembered where I left off. As others mentioned before, the eighth book of Aubrey/Maturin Series is more like a setup for the next mission to come. I actually enjoyed the long conversation on land, instead of the constant battle in the sea.

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

<br />Another great story 😀

When it ends you will be asking for another chapter, and hoping the next book picks up where it leaves off...

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

Not the best in the series.

For whatever reason this volume in the series lacks any sort excitement. NOTHING happens except a bunch of floating around. I found myself distracted and not listening due to inaction and an overabundance of unimportant detail. I still love the series overall but I'd skip this one. The reading is EXCELLENT however.