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41 of 41 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars High standard maintained by O'Brian
This impressive follow up to the very good, 'Master & Commander', follows the mixed fortunes of Captain Jack Aubrey, the good natured and garrulous Royal Naval commander and his good friend, the calm and introverted ships surgeon and sometime secret agent Stephen Maturin, as they try to readjust to peace with Bonaparte's France following the Treaty of Amiens...
Published on 19 Jun 2001

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Well-written but episodic and a bit rambling...
I've only just started reading the Aubrey-Maturin books and while I found this, the second in the series, more involving than Master and Commander, I can't yet personally agree with all the rave reviews for O'Brien.

Here we see Jack and Stephen as much on shore as we do at sea, in a kind of Jane Austen romance but with definitely masculine elements which Miss...
Published on 11 Jun 2010 by Roman Clodia


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41 of 41 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars High standard maintained by O'Brian, 19 Jun 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Post Captain (Paperback)
This impressive follow up to the very good, 'Master & Commander', follows the mixed fortunes of Captain Jack Aubrey, the good natured and garrulous Royal Naval commander and his good friend, the calm and introverted ships surgeon and sometime secret agent Stephen Maturin, as they try to readjust to peace with Bonaparte's France following the Treaty of Amiens.
After indulging in the social life expected of country gentlemen and tying themselves in emotional knots over women in the shape of the graceful and beautiful Sophie Williams and the feisty and attractive Diana Villiers, they are forced to flee England when Jack unexpectedly finds himself in penury following the trickery of his prize agent and the successful appeal by two 'neutrals' (captured ships) whose money he had banked on..
Throughout the book, the naval action is interspersed with three other elements that in effect bind the novel together.
Firstly Jack's financial plight, that sees him living in dread of being arrested for debt. In one riotous episode, Jack is nearly apprehended during a celebration at an inn for Pullings promotion.
Secondly the romantic entanglements of both Jack and Stephen, who find affairs of the heart much more problematic than affairs at sea.
The last binding element is Stephen's spying missions for the Admiralty. These are always undertaken without Jack's knowledge and see him travelling throughout Spain trying to gauge Spain's intentions and the likelihood of a bid for Catalan independence.
An initially ponderous book, that is hard going for the first one hundred pages, it nevertheless comes alive in time to join its predecessor as another fine example of historical fiction set against the backdrop of the Napoleonic wars. Let there be no mistake, this is historical fiction from the top drawer. O'Brian's detail and ability to capture the ambience of the period is quite without equal, to all intents and purposes, in both dialogue and attitudes, you are transported nearly two hundred years into the past where as a 'fly on the wall' you can view the adventures of our two incompatible but inseparable heroes. At times the realism of the naval jargon, as orders and instructions are flying to and fro, can leave one feeling a little bewildered, much like a landsman coerced onto Jack's ship, however O'Brian never leaves you in any doubt about the result of all these nautical discourses.
The comedic element is also present. Stephen's inability to observe the rigid naval code of proper etiquette and behaviour is a constant theme in this book. His insistence, for example, on bringing a hive of bees on board the crack frigate 'Lively'whilst dressed in an odd woollen garment is very amusing. I also had to laugh at the drunken antics of the young midshipman Parslow who addressed Jack as 'Goldilocks' on the quarter-deck.
All in all an impressive book, a more than worthy follow-up to the groundbreaking 'Master & Commander' and a book that confirms O'Brian as one of the leaders in the field of historical fiction. If you have read 'Post Captain', having previously read, 'Master & Commander', then it is too late, you are by now most definitely hooked and all O'Brian's other Aubrey and Maturin novels lie in wait.'Where away ?' is the nearest bookshop ?
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fine sequel to Master and Commander, 1 Jan 2008
This review is from: Post Captain (Paperback)
Master and Commander was an excellent start to the Aubrey-Maturin series of novels, and the going gets even better with Post Captain. We find Aubrey and Maturin living ashore for a period, which gives O'Brian the chance to show us a romantic side to both their characters that we have not previously seen, with a depiction of early 19th century bourgeois society that Jane Austen would have been proud of. Far from weakening the book (as some reviewers below have suggested), this strengthens it and the series in general, as it fills out the characters and prepares us for what is to follow, not least the jealousy that arises between the two men, the flight from the bailiffs, and Stephen's spying activities.

O'Brian of course serves up the usual fare of sea battles, both at sea, in a French harbour, and on land between Aubrey and the malicious Admiral Harte. What captivates in these books is that O'Brian is not describing perfection. His heroes are clearly flawed and compromised, but this does not prevent us from becoming deeply attached to them. Even the ships in which they sail are far from perfect - in fact, in the case of the Polychrest, it is exactly the opposite.

Another great quality is that one is completely immersed in O'Brian's universe. Although most of the technical descriptions of sailing are beyond my knowledge, it is still a joy to read them used without compromise. Similarly, the descriptions of 19th century medical practices and beliefs are both erudite and fascinating.

The quality of the writing, the delicacy of thought and the narrative drive and excitement in the heat of the action mean that these are not just good historical novels, they are excellent as novels of any genre. I look forward to the next volume!
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Possibly one of the best historical novelists of all time, 24 Oct 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Post Captain (Paperback)
I had put off reading the Aubrey/Maturin novels; I was still undecided after reading "Master and Commander"; I bought this book (the second in the series) because I had a plane journey ahead - I had finished it and bought the sequel within 24 hours. Patrick O'Brian does not re-create the past - he inhabits it in a uniquely rich, exciting and funny way. I recommend this book heartily - "and wish you of joy of it, for all love."
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A major contribution to Naval history and wonderful read, 30 July 2009
By 
This review is from: Post Captain (Paperback)
Patrick O'Brian's work is in a class of it's own.

Having read every one of Aubrey/Maturin stories, I found the characters rich and the stories riveting.

It is true that you need to be interested in this great period of nautical history or you will be overwhelmed by the Naval terms. However, I have often found that a book that encourages you to learn, makes a more lasting impression. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the associated books and further research prompted by these great tales.

For those who have seen the movie, please read the books! Enjoyable though it was, the movie gives only the scantest impression of what you will find between the covers of O'Brian's story telling.

The man was a truly a master of his craft.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Well-written but episodic and a bit rambling..., 11 Jun 2010
By 
Roman Clodia (London) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Post Captain (Paperback)
I've only just started reading the Aubrey-Maturin books and while I found this, the second in the series, more involving than Master and Commander, I can't yet personally agree with all the rave reviews for O'Brien.

Here we see Jack and Stephen as much on shore as we do at sea, in a kind of Jane Austen romance but with definitely masculine elements which Miss Austen would have died before revealing. Unlike some of the other reviewers here I preferred this strand of the story to the sea battles, so suspect I might just not be the `right' reader for O'Brien.

Having said that, I can see that these books are technically well-written but so far I have not found then enthralling or exciting reads, and think they are too episodic and a bit rambling with no overarching plot to be truly unputdownable. So I am happy to try one more as I do like the characters of Jack and Stephen, but suspect this series, sadly, just may not work for me.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Winner all the way, 23 Feb 2009
By 
Mr. P. A. Bullen "PeeBee" (Hampshire) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Post Captain (Paperback)
For anyone who hasn't come accross Patrick O'Brian and his two Heros Maturin and Aubrey, you have a treat in store. O'Brian writes without making concession to your ignorance of naval terms but manages to do so without losing your interest or confusing you. Based on a true life story this series of books describes life during the Napelonic wars with depth, humour and historical accuracy. Fantastic and addictive reading.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars REVIEW FOR THE AUDIO VERSION NOT THE BOOK!, 26 Feb 2011
By 
Glenn Cook (South Cave, near Hull UK) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 10 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
First let us start by saying this is a review for the 4CD abridged reading by Robert Hardy Because previous reviews of READ books have been slated as they have been attached to the written versions!
Are you sitting comfortably??.....
Then I'll begin.
This is a cracking book and one that is very well read by the evergreen Robert Hardy (the actor best remembered as the vet in the long running TV series All Creatures Great and Small) but Hardy is more than that he is an excellent narrator of all the O'Brian books and this is no exception. He narrates well and really brings out the action of the book but he also a master in conveying the different characters' voices including the women really well.
The book sees our hero Jack returning to England to live the proverbial good life with Stephen Maturin (the Anglo-Irish-Catalan spy) after the treaty of Amiens. Reduced to the poor house over night when his prize agent skips to France. Jack has to be one or two steps ahead of the bailiffs and the threat of debtor's prison. Jack has missed out on being a Post captain by a whisker and a technicality so seeks a berth, any berth on the high seas. He accepts a post on a really strange experimental ship and goes into action. This is the sublime Patrick O'Brian excels he really knows his stuff in the King's Navy in the days of Sail and has added this historical fact of some of the strange ships tried out.
The action and the intrigues fairly zip along.
True a lot of the excellent details have been cut in this abridged version {Hence my deduction of 1 star} (read the book for more) but this is a fair attempt to get the main facts and the action in.
Now a puzzle...(My edition on CD states that it lasts Approx 5 hours but this download states 4hours 31mins so where have the 29 minutes of less gone to??)
The 5 hours (on my CDs remember?) just zipped by as I spent an enjoyable week commuting with this in the car.
Buy this for a dear friend that enjoys this type of stuff or better still yourself.
Recommended.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Another Great Naval Yarn, 13 Mar 2014
Hoofing, and this from a Royal Marine. Can't wait for the next instalment of Jack and Stephen. Where will they sail too next.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Different, but a very good read., 12 Mar 2014
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I was expecting something similar to the first book, but this was altogether a very different read. I enjoyed the further development of the characters in particular and was anxious to discover the next twist in the plot. I highly recommend this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Post Captain, 8 Mar 2014
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I was introduced to this author by a friend and thoroughly enjoy his work. This is no exception -excellent reading
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Post Captain
Post Captain by Patrick O'Brian (Paperback - 1 April 2010)
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