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The Commodore (Aubrey-Maturin) [Hardcover]

Patrick O`brian
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
RRP: £16.99
Price: £14.02 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

24 Aug 1995 Aubrey-Maturin (Book 17)
Having survived a long and desperate adventure in the Great South Sea, Captain Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin return to England to very different circumstances. For Jack it is a happy homecoming, at least initially, but for Stephen it is disastrous: his little daughter appears to be autistic, incapable of speech or contact, while his wife, Diana, unable to bear this situation, has disappeared, her house being looked after by the widowed Clarissa Oakes. Much of The Commodore takes place on land, in sitting rooms and in drafty castles, but the roar of the great guns is never far from our hearing. Aubrey and Maturin are sent on a bizarre decoy mission to the fever-ridden lagoons of the Gulf of Guinea to suppress the slave trade. But their ultimate destination is Ireland, where the French are mounting an invasion that will test Aubrey's seamanship and Maturin's resourcefulness as a secret intelligence agent. The subtle interweaving of these disparate themes is an achievement of pure storytelling by one of our greatest living novelists.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1st American Ed edition (24 Aug 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393037606
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393037609
  • Product Dimensions: 15.1 x 3.3 x 21.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,056,849 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Patrick O'Brian, until his death in 2000, was one of our greatest contemporary novelists. He is the author of the acclaimed Aubrey-Maturin tales and the biographer of Joseph Banks and Picasso. He is the author of many other books including Testimonies, and his Collected Short Stories. In 1995 he was the first recipient of the Heywood Hill Prize for a lifetime's contribution to literature. In the same year he was awarded the CBE. In 1997 he received an honorary doctorate of letters from Trinity College, Dublin. He lived for many years in South West France and he died in Dublin in January 2000.

Product Description


The Commodore is so satisfying...because it is crowded with so many different kinds of pleasures. O'Brian's genius is in his ability to arrange all this material upon the well-constructed frame of an adventure plot....A lyric poet working in the epic form. --John Ferguson"

From the Publisher

If you have enjoyed any of Patrick O'Brian's novels there is a whole series of books and audiotapes to look out for :
1. Master and Commander
2. Post Captain
3. HMS Surprise
4. The Mauritius Command
5. Desolation Island
6. The Fortune of War
7. The Surgeon's Mate
8. The Ionian Mission
9. Treason's Harbour
10. The Far Side of the World
12. The Letter of Marque
13. The Thirteen-Gun Salute
14. The Nutmeg of Consolation
15. Clarissa Oakes
16. The Wine-dark Sea
17. The Commodore
18. The Yellow Admiral
19. The Hundred Days
20. Blue at the Mizzen
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Thick weather in the chops of the Channel and a dirty night, with the strong north-east wind bringing rain from the low sky and racing cloud: Ushant somewhere away on the starboard bow, the Scillies to larboard, but never a light, never a star to be seen; and no observation for the last four days. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent O'Brian 14 Oct 2004
Having returned home, Jack Aubrey finally makes the next step on the ladder and is promoted commodore. There is much to sort out at home, not at least for Stephen Maturin; Diana has fled from home and left their daughter Brigid with Clarissa Oakes and the servants.
Jack receives orders to command a squadron of ships going to West Africa to harrass the slave trade, but also to lay in wait for a convoy of French ships.
As with other books in this series, it isn't the action that makes the book very good. The quality lies in the description of life on the boat, both the daily routine chores, the events and the social life among the men, and especially in the dialogue between Jack and Stephen. We get to know them and their family lives, their lives as navy officer and as scientist, and their friendship and the carefulness with which they live so close together despite their outward and inward differences.
O'Brian is obviously a first-class writer and uses language masterfully to convey a feeling of early 19th century to us, both in choice of words and in wording.
Despite the caption of naval novel, this is a book of dialogue and slowly unfolding life, with short bursts of fast action in between.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 50 % land, 50 % water 25 Sep 2009
Finally, Captain Aubrey is coming home to Shelmerston and Ashgrove; and Dr Maturin to the same, and to the Liberties of the Savoy; after a long, 4-book voyage (13 gun salute; Nutmeg; Clarissa Oakes; Wine-dark sea). On land, as usual, there has been many a change, and many a worry ensues; but also some bright new things. But oh, the worries on dry land... and not just the dread Mrs Williams, but Mrs Aubrey and Mrs Maturin (well, Ms Villiers at least) as well.

After half the book, we set sail again, and Captain Aubrey leads a squadron to West Africa - this time in admirals' uniform. He is 'only' a Commodore, but with Killick we delight in this new rank.

If you are new to the series, don't begin with this book; start with 'Master and Commander', and you'll have a wonderful experience of a sea of books to look forward to.
The joy of O'Brian's writing - his style, the choice of words, his constructions, so familiar, and giving pleasure time and again. These books are very re-readable, too; O'Brian can make me feel pleasure, and pain; when I am sad, he can make me laugh out loud, and you can't say better than that. I believe I am on my seventh read-through, and I hope many more will follow. I think the pleasure might increase in re-reading!

The interaction Jack/Stephen reaches new sensitivities. Stephen hears Jack playing his Guarnieri in the summerhouse at Ashgrove, and realizes Jack has been holding back in their duets - his playing now is masterful, and infinitely sad. Stephen's interactions with his daughter are an absolute delight. And to the connaisseur, Killick saying "no-one can call me nosy..." is almost worth the price of the book by itself.

A delight, an absolute delight.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 10 July 2014
By peter
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Good copy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The career of a naval officer in the 1800's 15 Jun 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Patrick O'Brian was a brilliant writer -All twenty one books in this series are very well written and the whole story is a great read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Commodore 6 Jun 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Another one of his books that I have added to my collection. Will soon get around to reading it soon
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5.0 out of 5 stars Hopelessly Addictive 8 April 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Although these books are a series all involving the sea born adventures of Captain Jack Aubrey and his pal Stephen Maturin the ship's surgeon, they can also be read as stand alone stories.

Beware though as these are seriously addictive and I have bought and read each and everyone of the series and have read them in order.

Forget Hornblower, he is good but these are brilliant! Also don't be put off by Russel Crowe and "Master and Comander" the movie, which was an odd mash up of two of the books. Being an addict I enjoyed the film as well!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brillant 28 Feb 2014
By SueI
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Another good book in the series. A must read for O'Brian fan, unfortunately getting too close to the end of the series! Excellent delivery time by Amazon.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Gently gripping 7 Jan 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
It started a little slower than some of the other books in the series. trouble often threated but was then averted with a shrug or a joke. This style of writing keeps one eager to read more
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Comments on The Commodore
V well ,researched subject .V knowledagable about the sea & ship s rigging.the authour has an encyclopedic knowledge on a variety of subjects which informs his (many ) readers in... Read more
Published 7 months ago by fbrod
4.0 out of 5 stars Nearing the end of the series of books, pity
Excellent journey from beginning to the end, although I still have two books to read year. Start at the beginning not half way through like my brother.
Published 8 months ago by MOET
4.0 out of 5 stars The Commodore
A convoluted book where the Author contrives some Peruvian adventures to move the plot along. Relieved when finally Aubery returns to active service and the pace picks up to a... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Rafflles
5.0 out of 5 stars Aubrey/Maturin Series
Excellent story and series. Well worth the read and worth reading again. The detail within the story is tremendous. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Sam the Jack-tar
5.0 out of 5 stars no 17 in aubrey maturin series
even after clawing his way up to commodore level ,Jack is still fighting the odds.
this book keeps us guessing and hoping for the war not to end. Read more
Published 9 months ago by ms j irving
3.0 out of 5 stars The Commodore Review.
The later books in the series were at a time when the author was beyond his peak. The exuberance of the earlier days was fading. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Allan Hudson
3.0 out of 5 stars The Commodore.
Not the best book of the series,due mainly to the meanderings in Peru of Maturin that deviated from the main plot,(as I saw it. Read more
Published 11 months ago by JBH
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