Master and Commander is the first of Patrick O'Brian's now famous Aubrey-Maturin novels, regarded by many as the greatest series of historical novels ever written. It establishes the friendship between Captain Jack Aubrey RN and Stephen Maturin, who becomes his secretive ship's surgeon and an intelligence agent. It displays the qualities which have put O'Brian far ahead of any of his competitors: his depiction of the detail of life aboard an early 19th century man-of-war, of weapons, food, conversation and ambience, of the landscape and of the sea. O'Brian's portrayal of each of these is faultless and the sense of period throughout is acute. His power of characterisation is above all masterly. Ric Jerrom reads this classic sea story from Patrick O'Brien.
©1970 The Estate of the late Patrick O'Brien CBE ; ©2011 AudioGO Ltd
"Unabridged at last"
This is the first of a fantastic series of book. I have read them all. I must admit that the first time I read Master and commander I was not drawn straight into it. I found it to be a bit of a slow burn and O’Brian does not leave out any detail of life on board ship so there is a sea of very technical language that it is very easy to sink in. I persevered however and was soon lost in the world of the 19th century royal navy and the many adventures of Captain Jack Aubrey and his friend and Master Spy Stephen Maturin. The day I finished the last book was a sad day indeed but what a ride!
At the moment this and just one other of the books seem to be available in their unabridged form. I Have asked and beg any fans of the novel to join me in asking Audible to try and get the whole series available in the unabridged form on this side of the Atlantic where jack and Stephan would want them.
"At last, unabridged and well read...it begins."
... It is not the best of his novels, (he really hits his stride a few stories down the line) but it is the right place to begin and after a slow start in Port Mahon this story gets interesting. The really great thing about O Brian's novels, apart from the detail and authentic atmosphere, is the way he manages to steer clear of the old three act hero's journey structure. There is action and heroism of course, but so much more, and his stories seem to warp and change key in unexpected ways, often wrong-footing the reader. I do hope we are going to see the rest of the series released unabridged too. (If possible read by Ric Jerrom.)
"Fantastic and unabridged"
I was so pleased, when I found, that I could get this unabridged version of Master and Commander. The story is full of humor and life. Ric Jerroms narration is spot on.
I would love to be able to buy the rest of the series in an unabridged version.
"Which it was a relief!"
As a massive fan of this justly famous and much loved series I was nervous of possible mortal injury to my own internal narrator from some badly formed and merely commercial attempt at an audiobook.
So I am pleased to confirm that it is Beautifully read with the characters voiced delightfully.
I hesitated for months before taking a chance on this. If you are a big Aubrey and Maturin fan then buy it now.
"Please listen to the crew!!!"
Loved these books for years, such detail, such knowledge, such style, such a mordant wit and most of all such fabulous and detailed yarns.
I also enjoyed the film which was (loosely) based on this and a later novel "The Far Side of the World".
Comimg to the Audible version I was a little nervous: the main characters have their own voices in my imagination after all these years, but this reading did not let me down. In fact some of the more obscure nautical passages (and for the beginner these can be a tad daunting) became clearer through Mr. Jerrom's excellent reading.
The only disappointment is that I couldn't go straight on to Post Captain, because Audible have only produced one other unabridged novel in the series.
Come on Audible, we may be a smallish crew of admirers, but we are loyal to Honest Jack and we will happily follow him and the admirable Doctor for another 19 of these excellent tales.
"Unabridged. At last."
Unlike another reviewer, I have been waiting for the unabridged versions of the O'Brian novels to appear on Audible ever since I joined. The whole series was available on cassette but sadly I never recorded them, and I have found the abridged versions unsatisfying.
I consider them to be the best naval historical fiction - loosely based on a real naval captain - ever written, and can only hope that more will appear in due course.
Prodigious fine book, with dashing good narration.
I have read all the novels but enjoyed this audiobook tremendously, O'.Brian creates is a world in which one cannot help but be utterly immersed. The dialogue, especially that between Aubrey and Maturin, is sheer joy. More unabridged Patrick O'Brien please.
"Seafaring, adventure and great history"
This is an addictive story which will lead you in to the rest of the series. Although the books don't have to be read/listened to in order, this one sets the background and personalities of the key characters. They are developed wonderfully well, with all their charms and their faults. Very sympathetic reading by Ric Jerrom. The play on language and the use of the vernacular is very entertaining and it's altogether rivetting stuff. And you learn about an important time in British naval history at the same time.
"The start of a long, pleasurable experience"
I started to read Patrick O'Brian only on hearing of his death in January 2000. I had seen the books on the shelves at Barnes and Noble in Houston, but I had, until that time not picked up a single copy. The eulogies intrigued me, and so I started to read from the beginning - which is this book.
I could not put them down. I devoured them in (too) rapid succession.
Now I have the added pleasure of listening to them - usually as I run or on my treadmill. The miles go by almost as fast as The Surpise logs them when sailing on a bowline...
True - chronological accuracy does tend to disappear after The Surgeon's Mate - but that does not - in any way - detract from the pure pleasure.
It is a great pity that Book 21 breaks off so abruptly - but then - all good things must come to an end.
"Unmissable boy's book"
I have read the books, and now working my way through the audio versions. What a delightful revisit. Excellent narration.
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