Customer Reviews

102
4.4 out of 5 stars
Post Captain
Format: PaperbackChange
Price:£7.19+Free shipping with Amazon Prime
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
on 19 June 2001
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 ?
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
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.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 1 January 2008
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!
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on 24 October 2000
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."
11 commentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 22 May 2014
Cast your minds ,mateys,to a time of derring-do and high adventures on the seas..remember a time when 3 shipmates had to make good their escape in the dead of winter..cast adrift on the Loire,deep in Frenchie territory, or face the hangman in Paris for failure...Messrs Hornblower,Bush and Brown.

Now consider Jack Aubrey escaping on foot dressed as a bear.
Seriously, what?

I'm breaking the habit of a lifetime by actually posting on something that I've not finished reading,but the bear thing really makes me wonder if I can go on.
I can see the attraction of the O'Brian mythos,with it's archaic dialogue and attention to detail,but so far having finished Master and Commander and gone straight into this, I wonder if my time couldn't be better spent elsewhere.
They are not easy books to read.They are very loosely structured causing moments for pause and to read over ,because you appear to have missed something,due to the sudden and unexpected change of pace and often characters and location,all crammed into one paragraph.
I've found the characters were pencilled in and not given depth at least to begin with,but I'm sure they'll flesh out in time.
How can they not with 21 books?
The most intereseting parts,to me at any rate, are the engagements at sea,based on historical accounts of Cochrane.They seem to jar compared with what's going on around them though.
Just when your beginning to run before the wind ,all sails set,you're smack bang back in Pride and Predjudice or following Stephen Maturin around Spain with a butterfly net...
I bought this set on faith so I don't intend to go down without a fight..I'm only on Post Captain,book number 2, but damn your eyes sir A BEAR costume....really??
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
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.
22 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 23 February 2009
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.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on 24 June 2015
As I have not opened the Kindle version perhaps a 5 star rating seems over-generous as I imagine there will be the usual strange typos. and paragraphing common to most Kindle books. The book itself however is a must for me or anyone else who has read "Master And Commander" and wants to spend more time adventuring with the wonderful characters already met. Patrick O'Brian is not only a master storyteller but also has complete command of his subjects (and there are many fields within his writings) so that the reader trusts absolutely in the events and people described. Whether at sea or ashore, authenticity is in every line until one could believe that O'Brian was actually there. There is violence and, sometimes, bad language but these words are neither frequent nor regarded favourably by the seamen or officers, swearing being a punishable offence in the Royal Navy of the time - a pity it isn't in our armed services today. I have the whole series in paperback but now find Kindle reading kinder to my eyes. It would be unrealistic to expect books covering the Napoleonic wars to contain no scenes of violence but, again, these are not dwelt upon or introduced gratuitously. The medical knowledge and skills of the time are expertly illustrated and can be both grim and also give some insight into the courage and humour of all concerned. The books can be hilarious at times, with a single line giving rise to tear-wiping mirth as deftly as a cartoonist establishes a situation with a few strokes of the pen. As someone else has said, I envy those who have not yet met Jack and Stephen because they have all the treats still to come.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on 9 October 2013
When I read the first book in this series, Master & Commander, I had quite a tough time with parts of it, due to the nautical terms etc. But there was enough in that book to make me want to read the next one. The story begins a while later, as peace is declared, and Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin return to England. Setting themselves up as country gents they come under the attentions of an ambitious mother, Mrs Williams, who has her heart set on marrying her daughters well. These particular adventures form an ongoing strand throughout the novel, but are most prevalent in the opening hundred pages and, as such, it's quite a slow - if mildly amusing - beginning. But then various spoilery things happen and the story really gets going.

All of my problems with the first book seem to have been swept away here. Whether this is because the prior novel was a scene-setting exercise, or whether O'Brian had got all that out of his system, or - more likely, I suspect - his writing skills were growing immensely, I don't know. I found that there is a hypnotic rhythm to his writing in Post Captain and, once I realised that and settled into it, I was swept along by it. It's a novel that is bursting with character, action, adventure, and laugh-out-loud humour (I found an episode with bees particularly amusing). Aubrey and Maturin fall in love (not with each other), fall out spectacularly (with each other), and basically continue to develop the friendship begun in the first book, and what we soon find is that Aubrey is very much at home on the sea whilst being completely at sea when he's at home, which leads to much awkwardness, amusement, and danger.

There are a number of main plot threads woven amongst the thrilling naval battles, from the love interests to Aubrey's less than glowing finances to Maturin's other job as a spy. What almost passed me by as I was reading is the way O'Brian handled historical information: rather than info dumps, talking heads, or masses of exposition, he somehow sneaks it into the narrative in a way that you almost absorb it by osmosis. It's not apparent at all as you read, and yet it's there. The book is almost episodic in nature, moving from one tale to another before you can blink, and it is set as much on land as it is at sea. Once it hits its stride it is almost impossible to put down.

Hugely enjoyable and exciting, it's a cracking read.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on 6 August 2010
I first came across these books about ten years ago when a friend gave me Master and Commander - the first book in the Aubrey-Maturin series - as a gift. I was largely discouraged by the naval language and the style of writing. Older and wiser, I gave it another try last year and found a new affection for the characters.

Post Captain - the second book in the series - has confirmed me as a devotee and I'm looking forward to reading more of these.

The story picks up where Master and Commander left off. Royal Navy Captain Jack Aubrey thinks his fortune has been made just as the Treaty of Amiens is signed and peace returns, temporarily to Europe. He returns to England - along with his most particular friend Stephen Maturin - to live as a country gent. They eat, drink, go fox hunting and fall in love. Unfortunately, Aubrey's world comes crashing down when his prize agent runs off with his money and the other ships he captured at the end of the last book are declared to not be prizes. He is made a debtor over night and is forced to flee England, along with Maturin, and take to the sea again to remake his fortune.

This book develops the two main characters in new ways. They both fall in love - initially with the same woman - and some deep secrets are revealed about Maturin which show him to be more than just a doctor and avid naturalist. There are some great comedic moments - Aubrey travelling through France as a dancing bear?!- and some great battles too. The naval language is still present and to a landlubber it can still be confusing but this no longer overshadows the story. O'Brian clearly writes for the love of his subject and his characters and it's hard not be infected by his enthusiasm.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
     
 
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Master and Commander
Master and Commander by Patrick O'Brian (Paperback - 2002)
£8.99

HMS Surprise
HMS Surprise by Patrick O'Brian (Paperback - 1 April 2010)
£6.79

The Mauritius Command
The Mauritius Command by Patrick O'Brian (Paperback - 1 April 2010)
£7.19
 
     

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.