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The Reverse of the Medal [Paperback]

Patrick O'Brian
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
Price: 6.29 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

1 April 2010

Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey-Maturin tales are widely acknowledged to be the greatest series of historical novels ever written. To commemorate the 40th anniversary of their beginning, with Master and Commander, these evocative stories are being re-issued in paperback with smart new livery. This is the eleventh book in the series.

The Reverse of the Medal is in all respects an unconventional naval tale. Jack Aubrey returns from his duties protecting whalers off South America and is persuaded by a casual acquaintance to make investments in the City on the strength of supposedly certain information. From there he is led into the half worlds of the London criminal underground and of government espionage – the province of his friend, Stephen Maturin, on whom alone he can rely.

Those who are already devoted readers of Patrick O’Brian will find here all the brilliance of characterisation and sparkle of dialogue which they have come to expect. For those who read him for the first time there will be the pleasure of discovering, quite unexpectedly, a novelist of unique character.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 286 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; New Ed edition (1 April 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0006499260
  • ISBN-13: 978-0006499268
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 58,665 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

Amazon Review

Ashore between cruises, Captain Jack Aubrey is persuaded to sink some money into an investment scheme. Soon this innocent decision enmeshes him in various criminal and even treasonous enterprises, which threaten to destroy his entire career. Bad luck? A deliberate plot? Read this latest instalment of the Aubrey-Maturin saga to find out. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


'…full of the energy that comes from a writer having struck a vein… Patrick O'Brian is unquestionably the Homer of the Napoleonic wars.' James Hamilton- Paterson

'You are in for the treat of your lives. Thank God for Patrick O'Brian: his genius illuminates the literature of the English language, and lightens the lives of those who read him.' Kevin Myers, Irish Times

'In a highly competitive field it goes straight to the top. A real first-rater.' Mary Renault

'I never enjoyed a novel about the sea more. It is not only that the author describes the handling of a ship of 1800 with an accuracy that is as comprehensible as it is detailed, a remarkable feat in itself. Mr O'Brian's three chief characters are drawn with no less depth of sympathy than the vessels he describes, a rare achievement save in the greatest writers of this genre. It deserves the widest readership.' Irish Times

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Lucky" Jack no longer. 8 Jan 2004
The Aubrey-Maturin series reaches its emotional high-point. Like Post Captain, Reverse of the Medal takes place mostly on land but it is as far-removed as it can be from that romantic-comedy interval. We get to see a fascinating glimpse of the London underworld and the legal processes of the time and Jack Aubrey in adversity is an impressive sight. He bears his misfortune with stoic dignity and the respect in which he is held by all he has served with comes to his rescue in his blackest moment. The climax of the book is one of the most powerful and moving passages I have ever read and made me realise how much I had come to care about these characters.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
I find Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin series a challenge to read, albeit an excellent, well-connected long novel. I could not put down the eleventh in the series, The Reverse of the Medal, once I began it. Although most of this book occurs on land, where Captain Jack Aubrey is naive and awkward, O'Brian exploits this: the force of the plot is as strong as the earliest, more typically naval stories in the saga. The climax brought tears to my eyes, and the last chapter's denouement evoked a cheer for Maturin and his dear friend. I went right to the Web to order the next two novels.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Aubrey's low point is O'Brian's high point 11 May 2008
By N. Webb
This is simply, for me, one of the best novels ever written, of any genre, & finds O'Brian at the very peak of his considerable powers. Ostensibly it is 'just' another instalment of the Aubrey/Maturin sea-faring tales & works very well on that level. However, apart from the opening sequences, the story unfolds mainly ashore & represents Captain Aubrey's most difficult challenge to date. As he has shown in previous episodes, he is never more at sea than when he is on land. Basically he is 'stitched up' by unsuspected enemies & consequently becomes embroiled in the politically biased judicial system of the time, with predictable results. If like me, you have followed Aubrey through all his previous adventures, all his various ups & downs then, like me, you will find this a very bittersweet experience as he reaches his nadir. I'll not attempt to deny that I blubbered unashamedly as the story reached it's poignant climax. It is not all doom & gloom however, the book has it's lighter moments &,as can be seen by the number of sequels, it is far from the end of the line for Aubrey. Historical novels,indeed any novels, really do not come any better than this. Enjoy !
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Murky circles 11 Nov 2011
Captain Jack Aubrey becomes embroiled in the murky circles of espionage more usually the province of ship's surgeon Stephen Maturin. Stephen's behind the scenes actions enable the situation to be rescued, but at a high price to Jack and his career.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 10 July 2014
By peter
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
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1.0 out of 5 stars Over priced for what you get 7 July 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I'm surprised that this was published as a free standing book, I reached the end and was looking for the second half. This Kindle version should be combined with the next book in the series. The price should be a half of what it is. I feel cheated. Dammit I have to find out what happens next. 10 for 2 Kindle books in three days. One star for feeling ripped off.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Helping to complete the set. 9 Jun 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
We decided to complete the whole set of these Patrick O'Brian books for a good, close friend. He was thrilled to bits as he had read them in the past, and loved them. Sadly he had lost his original set.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Reverse of the Medal 6 Jun 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Another book that has been added to my collection that I have yet to read. It is bound to good though as the others were
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