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54 Reviews
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The careers of Aubrey and Maturin take a darker turn
I was already enthralled by the sea faring adventures of Captain Jack Aubrey and his secretive friend Stephen Maturin before I came to this book, but this was the point of no return. I am now happily condemned to read them all.
No less comic or swashbuckling, but with a darker, more mature tone - real tragedy and disappointment haunt these pages. This novel is an...
Published on 24 Oct 2000

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars My opinion
This is the first Patrick O'Brien novel I'v read, although I'v seen the great film, "Master and Commander". I thought I'd try him out as I'v read so many good reviews about his books, including one by Charlton Heston who was enthralled by his series. I personally was disappointed though as HMS Surprise didn't live up to my expectations. His writing style is brilliant and...
Published on 25 Feb 2012 by Steve


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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The careers of Aubrey and Maturin take a darker turn, 24 Oct 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: HMS Surprise (Hardcover)
I was already enthralled by the sea faring adventures of Captain Jack Aubrey and his secretive friend Stephen Maturin before I came to this book, but this was the point of no return. I am now happily condemned to read them all.
No less comic or swashbuckling, but with a darker, more mature tone - real tragedy and disappointment haunt these pages. This novel is an extraordinary achievement by any standard.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars (un)Surprisingly good, 11 May 2008
By 
N. Webb "Nick" (Portsmouth England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: HMS Surprise (Paperback)
It seems strange now that when O'Brian's Napoleonic sea-faring tales were first published that they were initially compared to C S Forester's 'Hornblower' novels. Even the early books clearly had so much more to them that it now seems faintly absurd,like comparing a Ferrari with a Mondeo. The books obviously haven't changed over time, just peoples perceptions of them. I was lucky enought to find them quite early on &, for me, they seemed like a gift from the Gods & are still amongst my all-time favourite novels. HMS Surprise was the 3rd written & remains one of the very best, possibly only surpassed by The Reverse of the Medal & The Nutmeg of Consolation. The book starts in thrilling fashion with a desperate,audacious rescue (the action reminiscent of something from Dennis Wheatley's Roger Brook series) & finishes with a spectacular sea battle in the Indian Ocean. What falls in between is a heady cocktail of action & adventure, by sea & land, with a poignant episode in India & a near fatal duel & it's aftermath being amongst the more memorable. But this is so much more than just an action/adventure story because fundamental issues of life (& death) are constantly considered & dealt with, not always very wisely but by believable & fully human characters with all their attendant graces & follies. Some of the central characters are given intelligent, enquiring minds so many of the assumptions & practices of the day are questioned & challenged, sometimes literally as well as figuratively. There is also a good measure of ,mainly quiet, humour, with the occasional excrutiating pun. It all adds up to a very broad canvass & one that seems to appeal to a wide audience, even my mum eventually getting hooked on the series !
So, read this book & seek out the others, you'll surely be pleasantly 'Surprised'.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Drawn further in, 18 Jan 2001
By A Customer
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This review is from: HMS Surprise (Paperback)
Post captain is such a fine novel that HMS surprise took some time to draw me in.
This is in fact all a part of O'Brian's magic - once the Surprise is at sea once again I was hooked.
The scenes in India are particularly well- written and deeply moving.
The next instalment is safely ordered . This series is a tremendous treat
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic book!, 22 July 2013
By 
Mr. R. J. E. Biden (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: HMS Surprise (Paperback)
Fantastic Patrick O'brian book! Amazing story of the sea in the Napoleonic Wars, well told, much better than the film!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Beat to quarters Mr Pullings!, 20 Oct 2009
By 
Thylacine333 (North Yorkshire) - See all my reviews
This review is from: HMS Surprise (Paperback)
After 'Master and Commander' I waded straight into 'HMS Surprise' and after the first chapter ran aground like the land-lubber that I am. It struck me that O'Brian had suddenly gone from C.S. Forester (turned up to 11) to Jane Austen (with the volume well and truly turned down). Picking the book up again when I had more time to get into it I relished every sentence. In particular the portrayal of the ups and downs of Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin's relationship are beautifully rendered. After a brief sojourn on land the action returns to the sea and is all the more thrilling and intense when it comes. I think that to call this a historical novel (albeit accurately) is a diservice to O'Brian's innovative, tantalising and even poetic narrative. Wonderful stuff - bring on the next 18 volumes in the series!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Another, 27 July 2014
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Once again this is another engrossing and very enjoyable read by O`Brian. Not only does he keep you deeply interested with the story, but they are delightfully written in a flowing of thought manner that is easy and enjoyable to read. I am very much looking forward to reading the next exciting volume of this series.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 10 July 2014
This review is from: HMS Surprise (Paperback)
very good thanks
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5.0 out of 5 stars HMS Surprise - a damn fine read!, 19 Jun 2014
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Splendid stuff! well developed plot line, great growing characters who interact well with each other, exciting action sequences. Whats not to like!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 11 Jun 2014
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This review is from: HMS Surprise (Paperback)
Wonderful series. Not to be missed. A must for all sea lovers and readers of discern. Recommended for all readers.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Napoleonic War at sea, 29 April 2014
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This review is from: HMS Surprise (Hardcover)
If you like O'Brian, you will already have read this. If you haven't and you like Hornblower {CS Forester} or fancy a naval Bernard Cornwell start here. Classic changes of pace between long conversations in the Doldrums to hectic action. Others might recommend reading the series in chronological order. I say: read this. If you are hooked, then read them all from the start. If you don't like this, O'Brian is not for you.
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HMS Surprise
HMS Surprise by Patrick O'Brian (Paperback - 1 April 2010)
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