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Summary

Having survived a long and desperate adventure in the Great South Sea, Captain Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin return to England to very different circumstances. For Jack it is a happy homecoming, at least initially, but for Stephen it is disastrous: his little daughter appears to be autistic, incapable of speech or contact, while his wife, Diana, unable to bear this situation, has disappeared, her house being looked after by the widowed Clarissa Oakes.

Much of The Commodore takes place on land, in sitting rooms and in drafty castles, but the roar of the great guns is never far from our hearing. Aubrey and Maturin are sent on a bizarre decoy mission to the fever-ridden lagoons of the Gulf of Guinea to suppress the slave trade. But their ultimate destination is Ireland, where the French are mounting an invasion that will test Aubrey's seamanship and Maturin's resourcefulness as a secret intelligence agent.

The subtle interweaving of these disparate themes is an achievement of pure storytelling by one of our greatest living novelists.

©1994 Patrick O'Brian (P)2014 Audible, Ltd

What listeners say about The Commodore

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One of his better books

Well performed and very believable. One of the best books in the series. Even though towards the end of the series a good stand alone book.

3 people found this helpful

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Third time of listening, just gets better!

Great book in a great series. I love the detail and accuracy. Recommended to all.

1 person found this helpful

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Gold Coast story

fascination insight to the Royal Navy tackling the slave trade. the Gold Coast description is vivid

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Good enough

A good story but the need to repeat earlier facts makes it a bit repetitious for the seasoned listener

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Excellent book, working my way through the series

Have enjoyed all the books, well read, only disappointment is that I am coming to the end

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Ends abruptly, wondering why

Any additional comments?


I wonder at why sometimes Patrick O Brian seems to curtail his stories. This one was quite a shock when it ended -- there seemed to be many potential plot lines that were abandoned. The Duke Of Habbockstahl never even made an appearance after being set up as the next great nemesis for Dr. Matruin; the governor of Sierra Leone's wife was being set up as a love interest and potential complication for his reconciliation with Diana, abruptly cut off. Perhaps this will be material to come, but it seems that O'Brian has a way of leaving things largely unresolved at the end of one novel, only to find that it is tied up quickly with a few sentences or paragraphs in the next book. I need a bit of denouement, resolution of earlier conflicts, etc. After being in North Africa fighting the slave trade, they suddenly popped up on the coast of Ireland. Sure it was covered by the bout of Malaria experienced by Maturin, but the lone fleet action was brief and a little unsatisfying. I must admit a small disappointment with this book and hope things improve in the remaining books to come. O'Brian seems to spend pages and pages on some small nautical details only to rush over major events with a sentence or two. Still, I remain an avid fan of the series!
Ric Jerrom is one of the best audiobook narrators I have come across -- his characterization is very good and he has a great command of the various voices he uses.

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Not the best

Lots of build up to a naval engagement at the end that only lasted about ten minutes, and lacked almost all the usual details.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Simon
  • 09-05-15

Still going strong

This series continues to immerse and beguile. Get lost once again in the world of Maturin and Aubrey during the Napoleonic wars.

Audible for a long time had managed to confuse the book of the same title from C. S. Forester with this book by Patrick OBrian. So it has taken me nearly a year to pick up the series again. I nearly succumbed and went with the same title read by another narrator. but Ric Jerrom was worth waiting for.