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Master and Commander

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I have to admit it, I’m hooked on the novels of Patrick O’Brian. They are fun, exciting, and great imaginative reads. They are not the easiest books to read, but they are swashbuckling fun.

In case you don’t know who Patrick O’Brian is, he is the author of the 20 books in the Jack Aubrey adventure series. Most recently his books, Master and Commander and Far Side of the World, were loosely adapted for the screen. The movie though great does not do the books justice.

The first book in the Jack Aubrey series details the beginning of the strong friendship of Jack Aubrey and Dr. Stephen Maturin. They meet at a concert where Jack elbows Stephen in the ribs, and the rest is fiction history.

When Jack Aubrey is promoted to the rank of Master and Commander he is given command of a sloop, the HMS Sophie. Needing a doctor for his new command, he invites his new friend, Stephen to come along on the cruise.

The ship is a small, slow, undergunned Man O’ War with a out of practice crew and a new commander. Soon though, through the will of Jack, the ship becomes a lean fighting vessel taking numerous prizes while on patrol, briging fame and fortune to the up and comming commander.

The book shows in great detail the rigors of life at sea. From dangerous storms, engangement with the enemy, to the boredom of life in between engagements.

Jack, though a brilliant seaman, tends not to play the political game very well, and proves it by having a not so private trist with the wife of the Commodore. This action leads him and his ship to not get the recognition they deserves and ultimately leads to the actions in the final battle which I will leave for you to find out when you read this exciting book.

This is the second book in the series i’ve read. I am reading my third now, HMS Surprise, and soon will give you a review of this book as well.

I highly suggest you try these books. They are fun, well written, and exciting books that detail life at sea during the start of the 19th century.

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About Tom Bux

  • hey tom, you ever read anything like Clavell’s Tai Pan?

    it’s probably the last thing i ever read that had anything close to swashbuckling in it. definitely a load of fun.

  • Actually, I think Stephen elbowed Jack, but you are right, this is an excellent book series.

    I’m on #8, and usually ration them out for vacation reading; there is a finite supply now that O’Brian has shuffled off.