Master and Commander

Master and Commander

Aubrey/Maturin #1
by Patrick O'Brian
Trade Paperback, 459 pages
Current Retail Price: $14.95
Used Price: $5.53 (1 in stock) Condition Policy

It is the dawn of the nineteenth century; Britain is at war with Napoleon's France. Jack Aubrey, a young lieutenant in Nelson's navy, is promoted to command of H. M. S. Sophie, an old, slow brig unlikely to make his fortune. But Captain Aubrey is a brave and gifted seaman, his thirst for adventure and victory immense. With the aid of his friend Stephen Maturin, ship's surgeon and secret intelligence agent, Aubrey and his crew engage in one thrilling battle after another, their journey culminating in a stunning clash with a mighty Spanish frigate against whose guns and manpower the tiny Sophie is hopelessly outmatched.

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Exodus Rating:
FLAWS: Fighting/violence, Language, Sexual content
Summary: Captain Aubrey of the H.M.S Sophie and Doctor Maturin the surgeon (and spy) battle the Spanish at sea

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  Not Plot-driven, But Interesting Character Study
Amanda Evans of Oregon City, 10/17/2008
Halfway through this book I didn't like it very much. By the end I wasn't so adamant in my dislike, but I'm still not sure what I think of it. The author is talented and his storytelling technique is interesting, but I didn't like how brief and quick his writing style was. I always felt one step behind what was going on, figuring out what had happened based on what was taking place now. A wealth of unexplained technical mumbo jumbo only served to make me more muddled.

O'Brian is very vague in his descriptions of actions and surroundings, choosing instead to use his time developing characters. Since I didn't care much for Stephen's weirdly deep meditations and Jack's loud, boisterous personality, this didn't work for me. And yet, his characters are very developed; they are living, breathing, thinking people with multiple facets and more depth than meets the eye. So I'm still reading, curious to find out what other events O'Brian will think up to further mature his people.

Not for immature readers, don't try to read these books in an afternoon. Think of yourself as building a relationship with the characters with every page you turn. If you want fun, fast paced nautical fiction full of characters you can't help loving and rooting for against all odds, pick up C.S. Forster's Horatio Hornblower!