The Letter of Marque

by Patrick O'Brian
Category: "Fiction - Historical"
Year of Publication:1988
Date Read:07/22/1999
Notes:Twelfth in the Aubrey-Maturin series. Captain Jack Aubrey, a brilliant and experienced officer, has been struck off the list of post-captains for a crime he did not commit. His old friend Stephen Maturin, usually cast as a ship's surgeon to mask his discreet activities on behalf of British intelligence, has bought for Aubrey his former ship, the Surprise, to command as a privateer, more politely termed a letter of marque. Together they sail on a desperate mission against the French, which, if successful, may redeem Aubrey from his disgrace.
My Rating: 10

Reviews for The Letter of Marque

Review - Letter of Marque, The

I was tempted to rate this one a "9" rather than the perfect 10 I've given the earlier books in the series. The plot races along, wrapping up loose end after loose end in a most unbelievable manner. But when I had finished, I realized that I enjoyed it just as much even so.

Jack has been dismissed from the service after the trial covered in the previous book. Stephen has purchased the Surprise and turned it over to Jack as a Letter of Marque (privateer). Jack hires a crew and sets out on a training voyage. He happens upon the American privateer he chased in an earlier book and manages to capture it, its escort and five merchant ships it had taken. This makes Jack a very wealthy man, getting him out of all the financial troubles he'd been in up until now. Another, semi-official, mission is offered — to capture a French frigate that is about to set off with an ambassador to South America. Jack cuts it out of a French port, along with two gun boats and two more merchant vessels. Now he is very rich. His father, who was a political ball and chain conveniently dies and Jack is offered his fathers pocket-borough seat in Parliament. When he states his intent to support the current regime, his reinstatement is almost assured. Meanwhile, Stephen takes off for Sweden to search for Diana. He manages to fall down a flight of stairs, and by the time he recovers, he and Diana have made up and she returns to England with him.
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