Master and Commander

by Patrick O'Brian
List(s):"Carp 500"
Category: "Fiction - Historical"
Year of Publication:1970
Date Read:02/04/1994
Notes:This, the first in the splendid series of Jack Aubrey novels, establishes the friendship between Captain Aubrey, R. N., and Stephen Maturin, ship’s surgeon and intelligence agent, against the thrilling backdrop of the Napoleonic wars. Details of life aboard a man-of-war in Nelson’s navy are faultlessly rendered: the conversational idiom of the officers in the ward room and the men on the lower deck, the food, the floggings, the mysteries of the wind and the rigging, and the roar of broadsides as the great ships close in battle.

COMMENTS — A Lesson in Reading: If you read this novel expecting a conventional plot — introduction, build up of suspense, exciting climax and resolution — you will be disappointed. O’Brian’s novels are different. Think of them as a cross-section of life in the early 1800s. In one paragraph, Captain Aubrey will be talking about ship’s rigging; in the next, without transition, the surgeon will be writing a letter about beetles or birds. It’s not a novel to be rushed through. To fully understand, you should check out from your library an unabridged reading of the book by Patrick Tull. Make sure it’s by Tull. Nobody else will do. Patrick Tull understands perfectly how to read Patrick O’Brian, and after you listen to him, you’ll know how too.
My Rating: 10

Reviews for Master and Commander

Review - Master and Commander

Jack Aubrey receives his first command, the brig Sophie. He invites his new-found friend, Stephen Maturin, to join him as the ship's surgeon. After a few uneventful convoy cruises, Jack is given the freedom to coast along the shore of Spain seeking to destroy enemy merchant ships — and gain prize money. He has several successful victories, including one over the much larger Spanish frigate, Cacafuego. But he's also run afoul of Captain Harte, commander at Minorca, for dallying too freely with Harte'w wife. He's sent on a boring cruise accompanying a mail courier. He's attacked by three French ships-of-the-line and captured. He's exchanged and court-martials, but acquitted.
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