Master and Commander

Master and Commander

Book - 1970
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Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin tales are widely acknowledged to be the greatest series of historical novels ever written. All eighteen books are being re-issued in hardback by HarperCollins with stunning new jackets to coincide with a new film based on the adventures and to introduce these modern classics to a new generation.

Master and Commander is the first of Patrick O'Brian's now famous Aubrey/Maturin novels, regarded by many as the greatest series of historical novels ever written. It establishes the friendship between Captain Jack Aubrey RN and Stephen Maturin, who becomes his secretive ship's surgeon and an intelligence agent. It contains all the action and excitement which could possibly be hoped for in a historical novel, but it also displays the qualities which have put O'Brian far ahead of any of his competitors: his depiction of the detail of life aboard a Nelsonic man-of-war, of weapons, food, conversation and ambience, of the landscape and of the sea. O'Brian's portrayal of each of these is faultless and the sense of period throughout is acute. His power of characterisation is above all masterly.

This brilliant historical novel marked the début of a writer who grew into one of our greatest novelists ever, the author of what Alan Judd, writing in the Sunday Times, has described as 'the most significant extended story since Anthony Powell's A Dance to the Music of Time'.

Publisher: c1970.
ISBN: 9780007157860
Branch Call Number: FIC O'Bria


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Hillsboro_ChrisK Oct 16, 2018

Starts a bit slowly, but it picks up and by the end you'll be hooked for the whole 20-book series.

Jan 12, 2018

Just can't get through it. Aubrey has almost no sympathetic qualities. I hope that the French mock him, the Dutch fleece him, the Spanish thumbscrew him, and the Brits throw him in Newgate.

Jun 06, 2017

The opening salvo of the Aubrey-Maturin epic, in which the surgeon introduces himself to the captain by driving an elbow into his ribs during a chamber-music recital. Fortunately for millions of readers, the two quickly make up. Then they commence one of the great literary voyages of our century, set against an immaculately-detailed backdrop of the Napoleonic wars. This is the place to start--and in all likelihood, you won't be able to stop.

May 08, 2017

The Aubrey-Maturin novels of Patrick O'Brian begin with Master and Commander (the series is loosely represented in the movie version starring Russell Crowe), and follow the exploits of Royal Navy captain, "Lucky" Jack Aubrey and his particular friend, a surgeon, naturalist and spy, Stephen Maturin, as the Napoleonic Wars threaten Britain and her allies. Filled with intrigue and couched in prose Jane Austen could have written, they are meticulously researched and filled with dry humor and exciting battles. Some people I know have complained that O'Brian spends too much time explaining the trim of the sails, but it's easy to overlook this flaw for such wonderful storytelling. This first story details the first meeting and voyage of Aubrey and Maturin and a bold sea battle as Aubrey's smaller, outgunned ship, Sophie, takes on a foe much larger than herself, and Aubrey narrowly escapes court-martial. For those who enjoy it, there are 20 other books in the cannon, as well as Harbors and High Seas, a geographical companion to the series, and Lobscouse and Spotted Dog, a gastronomical companion, written by fans. Highly recommend!

Dec 02, 2016

An enjoyable very fun book. I would highly recommend this book (and possibly the series) anytime you are looking for something new to read. But let me qualify and get myself into tons of trouble with the female persuasion. This is a mans book, not that it contains debauchery, sex, brutality, or the like. In fact it is the complete opposite. The long and short of it, this is a story about being a man, one's honor and integrity, truth, regard and protection for all, etc. Captain Aubrey, in light of his short comings, would be a very fair model ant young man would not be lacking in inspiration and role modeling.

The premise of the story takes place during the Napoleonic war. Capt. Aubrey has his first command on small vessel and along with his new friend, Ships Surgeon Maturin, who together battle the challenges of the sea, the enemy, the politics and traditions of the British navy, as well as discipling and maintaining a crew.

Three are a lot of nautical terms that at times get a little complicated, but as a whole, a very well written book. The characters are real, believable, and engaging. The story line and plot is also engaging, adventurous, real. There were times I could almost feel the cold sea spray in my face.

I would put this book as far as story telling along the lines of "Tom Sawyer" or an adult level of the "Hardy Boys". Self reliance, manhood, honesty and integrity, are fully intertwined throughout the whole story. A lot of meat and sound principles the reader can be inspired by.

I am not sure if I will ever get around to reading the whole series of 15 books, but I do know that when I am looking for something to read, this series offers a very good filler for the interim.

May 27, 2016

This is a wonderfully warm book to read. Just get through the initial avalanche of naval terms and I promise it's a funny, fascinating, and touching story.

Jul 23, 2012

When you first read this novel, you may be put off by the navel termonology. Don't let that stop you. I have read the entire series four times. It's trully amazing how OBrian can transport the reader into a believable world of 19th century sealife. But what's more, is the way he draws you into the personal lives of the complex charectors and uses a fine wit to make the stories even more entertaining. An absolute must for any history lover.

Jun 27, 2012

One of the best contemporary authors in the English language, God bless the old gentleman.

May 09, 2012

This is more like a time machine portal- an entry to a world that teems with vivid characters, exciting exploits and beauty. The entire series is over 6,000 pages long-but I was ready to begin again when I finished it the first time. A true epic, I would go so far as to say this is one of best books/series ever written. Nothing but superlatives can describe it.

Nov 20, 2011

My friend John has been recommending this series to me for a few years - he's read it through 3 times now - and I finally had a chance to pick it up and read it, uninterrupted. O'Brian throws the reader into the Napoleonic era, and between the two main characters, Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin. Their friendship grows interestingly over the course of the book, and all the characters are precisely drawn and completely believable. For those of us who don't know seafaring terms, there is a companion book for all that; if you don't want to find that, just read through and you'll pick up on the plot. Great historical novel, with solid characters and setting.

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Jul 22, 2013

eddymerckx thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 35 and 99


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