H.M.S. Surprise, the third in O'Brian's acclaimed Aubrey-Maturin series, follows the variable fortunes of Captain Jack Aubrey's career in Nelson's navy, as he attempts to hold his ground against admirals, colleagues, and the enemy, and accepts a commission to convey a British ambassador to the East Indies. The voyage leads him and his friend Stephen Maturin to the strange sights and smells of the Indian subcontinent, and through the archipelago of Spice Islands where the French have a near-overwhelming local superiority.
Rarely has a novel managed to convey more vividly the fragility of a sailing ship in a wild sea. Rarely has a historical novelist combined action and lyricism of style in the way that O'Brian does. His superb sense of place, brilliant characterisation and a vigour and joy of writing lifts O'Brian above other writers in this genre.
©1973 Patrick O'Brian (P)2012 AudioGO Ltd
I've been listening to some of the series and reading others.
This is not my usual fare but the writing is excellent and the sense of period is vividly caught. O' Brian uses a vast vocabulary of C18th century language and evokes the life at sea and on land with all the authentic sounds and smells. He has wry sense of humour too.
Ric Jerrom is perfect to read this. He makes the battles at sea as exciting as a movie. The film Master and Commander was based on these novels. Anyone hankering for a sequel to that film will love listening to this series of books.
I haven't listened to the abridged versions of these novels because I love all the obscure research and background detail that adds depth and perspective to the social and political history. Patrick O'Brian is a real scholar.
I thoroughly enjoyed this. O'Brien is really getting into his stride by Volume 3. We're spending more time at sea now, but the main characters continue to develop both on sea and on land. When's the next one out??Hurry, hurry, hurry!!
O'Brian really is the master of Nelson Navy tails and Ric Jerrom makes the books for me, with a hint of accent he brings the characters alive, can't wait to down load the next, just a pity Jereom doesn't narrate them all.
What a great book.
Great story. Great feel of empire and beautifully read. The master, OBrian, is warming up and Desolation Island has just been released too... :-)
I listen in the car and long journeys are toast.
To much mush. Spent more than half the book on the feminine side of their lives and not enough on the story line and the action.
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