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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 listeners say about The Truelove

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

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.

10 people found this helpful

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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 person found this helpful

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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 person found this helpful

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As always. Spot on.

If you are this far into the series there is nothing left to tell you. If you are considering this book please start with the first in the series. O'Brien and Tull are the perfect combination if story tellers.

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The story goes on and on

This one felt slow to begin with but ends with a rousing finish. Will likely go for at least one more book

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Best fiction series ever...

Not because of the subject matter, though the complicated and precise nature of the nautical content may lend itself to the clever turns of phrase and veiled entendre, rather because of his brilliant use of dialogue in which he buries hints to tiny and sometimes hilarious details.

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Decent story, but not the best.

O'Brian was running out of real history by this point and was beginning to rely on set pieces, but this is still worth reading if for no other reason than to advance the main story arc. Also it has a significant female character for a change.

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The Truelove

Good story, great series, didn't like the reader. To much breathing and mouth sounds for my liking.

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Black Dick

I've decided to finish this series before the end of the year. I don't really want to rush it too much where I will find it to be a burden to get through the next five more novels left and "21". Maybe one book a month or I will finish all of them in a few weeks, but this is what makes this series so great to read because there is an end to the series.

"The Truelove" is probably my favorite book in the series so far. There is no battles or ship wrecks, but #15 introduce an new character, Clarissa Oakes. Her sensuality was a pure joy to read. Instead reading about sex and eroticism, Patrick O'Brian was a remarkable writer. He could has easily wrote a steaming story with her and shipmates, but he kept the 19th century writing intact. He kept focused to the plot and didn't added unnecessary garbage to keep the reader entertained.

I just have one question.

Who is Black Dick?

"No. Well, Black Dick decided against an action that might last until darkness, and he hauled to the wind, steering the course he judged the French would follow."

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another wonderfully written sea story

Patrick Tull makes every book come alive, he is excellent. so in wads to the next tale