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4.5 out of 5 stars
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4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 19 December 2000
The book's heroes, Aubrey & Maturin, are a little jaded in this Mediterranean episode of the Napoleonic naval wars, and so is the plot. Two or three times we are promised action, but it comes to nothing. I never became as engaged as in previous episodes. The final action, when it comes, is exciting, but cursory and unsatisfying. The interplay between the main characters had a feeling of going through the motions. Nevertheless, even when O'Brian is not at his best, he still produces an enjoyable, well written and thoroughly believable novel that is a pleasure to read.
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on 8 April 2014
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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on 18 February 2015
I am now on the tenth book of Patrick Brian's saga about Captain Aubrie. I think you might say I've become a huge fan. As well as the swashbuckling, rollicking stories he produces, the wealth of technical knowledge the reader can acquire is amazing - I now know what running on a bowline means!!
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on 22 June 2014
It is increasingly difficult to try to write a critique which is not repetitive. Yet this is another fascinating story of fact and fiction in the Navy at the times of the Napoleonic wars. Highly recommended.
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on 6 September 2010
Classic O'Brian, derring do, crafty Turks, spies and the whiff of gunpowder. What more could one want?

For newcomers to O'Brian I strongly suggest you start at the very beginning (Master and Commander), its a very good place to start, and work your way through in sequence as there are references to earlier missions in previous books
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on 6 November 2011
Captain Jack Aubrey and his crew are required to carry out tedious duties at the whim of naval politics but action errupts when they escort spy and ship's surgeon Stephen Maturin to broker a sensitive deal - with Jack playing an important part. Events are unpredictable, as usual, making this a thrilling continuation of Jack and Stephen's journey together.
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on 15 September 2009
Help! I need a dictionary of 19th century naval terms...
I am on number eight now in this series and am still having difficulty in following some parts due to ignorance. But I haven't been put off by this. The richness of description and the sincerity with which the characters is drawn is making a slow journey through the careers of Jack Aubrey and Steven Maturin an absolute delight. The essays by notable experts at the end of each novel is of great help too, and certainly my sketchy knowledge of the history of the period has been embellished.
Love it.
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on 5 May 2015
A great read, as far as it goes. Unfortunately it doesn't seem to go the whole way. The Kindle edition appears to be missing the last section of the novel. It stops 3/4 of the way through and never reaches the satisfying climax that O'Brian constructed. How Amazon accounts for this unpredicted abridgement is as mysterious as it is Ill-advised.
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on 25 September 2007
The book has a slow start but progressively gets more interesting and faster paced. The last 100 pages are absolutely brilliant - as good as you'll find anywhere.

Superb book!
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on 5 March 2013
I saw "Master and Commander", I came across an O'Brian book, decided I wanted to read the series.
Have enjoyed the series.
The story lines are bit repetitive. (20+ books)
There is not a lot of 'action' in the books they are more 'drama' in their nature.
The stories are interwoven with a lot of information about animals and birds that at times can become too much of a good thing.
The stories are interwoven with a lot of information about the navy of the time that I found fascinating and not distracting. Apparently mutiny, within tightly specified protocols, was an accepted form of 'industrial action'.
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