Listen free for 30 days

Listen with a free trial

One credit a month, good for any title to download and keep.
Unlimited listening to the Plus Catalogue - thousands of select Audible Originals, podcasts and audiobooks.
Exclusive member-only deals.
No commitment - cancel anytime.
Buy Now for £19.69

Buy Now for £19.69

Pay using card ending in
By completing your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and authorise Audible to charge your designated card or any other card on file. Please see our Privacy Notice, Cookies Notice and Interest-based Ads Notice.

Summary

Jack Aubrey returns from his duties protecting whalers off South America and is persuaded by a casual acquaintance to make investments in the City on the strength of supposedly certain information. This innocent decision ensnares him in the London criminal underground and in government espionage - the province of his friend Stephen Maturin. Is Aubrey's humiliation and the threatened ruin of his career a deliberate plot?

©1986 Patrick O'Brien (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about The Reverse of the Medal

Average customer ratings
Overall
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    447
  • 4 Stars
    71
  • 3 Stars
    8
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    3
Performance
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    442
  • 4 Stars
    35
  • 3 Stars
    2
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    0
Story
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    404
  • 4 Stars
    60
  • 3 Stars
    12
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    2

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Keep them coming

Another great adaptation of the Aubrey/maturin books. Great credit to Ric Jerrom for bringing the characters to life.being on the next one quick please!

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A turning point

I read this in a few days- captivating! So many characters for Jerome to handle and he does so admirably!

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A great story

Each of these books get better, plots get deeper and Jacks life gets ever more complicated.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Just brilliant

Continuing the story, these books are fantastic. Of the time, friendship, duty and of course the storytelling is magnificent.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Spoiler - Got him!

I'll leave it to you to find out who, how and where. Another wonderful read from the pen of Mr Obtain.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Brilliant from start to finish.

Having read the entire Aubrey/Maturin series many years ago I was concerned that I might find the repetition tedious. Not a bit of it, to be sure. Ric Jerrom's skilful performance brings the story to life and I shall continue to listen to the others, quite certain of hours of enjoyment.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

One of the best Jack and Maturin interactions.

This story builds an atmosphere with graceful pathos and promises a denoument some way down the road like treasure map discovered in an inherited escritoire. Joyful.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

The best nautical, historical novels ever written

If you could sum up The Reverse of the Medal in three words, what would they be?

Gripping, accurate, superb

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Reverse of the Medal?

The scene where Jack Aubrey is placed in the stocks (framed for rigging the stock market) and is surrounded and protected by his fellow sailors. 'Hats, off!'

Which character – as performed by Ric Jerrom – was your favourite?

Probably Stephen Maturin, a very complex character and portrayed well.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes, definitively, never a dull moment.

Any additional comments?

The 21 Aubrey-Maturin novels are essentially one continuous story. I would suggest starting with the first: Master & Commander and working through them in order. You won't be disappointed..

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Don't do the accents!

I love the Aubrey Maturin books with a passion and downloaded this for a journey. Mistake. A laboured performance and dreadful accents entirely ruined the novel. I've learned my lesson.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A surprisingly good book

Aubrey and Maturin usually excel at sea and annoy me on land. Previous books in the series have frustrated me with laboured sections on land tackling affairs of the heart. I nearly skipped this particular book after learning that there the story mostly takes place on land, but I am glad I did not.
Having worked all the way through the series to hear, the plot is a culmination of various plot threads, neatly entwined, and the story keeps up the pace building to an excellent climax. It has left me seeking out the next instalment as soon as I can download it!
Thoroughly enjoyable.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Jefferson
  • Jefferson
  • 17-02-22

Jack and Stephen Mostly Ashore

After the showy towing of a prize (a British whaler that’s been recaptured from the Americans during the ongoing War of 1812) into the West Indies squadron and the exciting chase after an American privateer, the eleventh novel in Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey and Maturin series of Age Napoleon British navy books, The Reverse of the Medal (1986), occurs completely ashore, back in England. The story mostly develops the spy side of O’Brian’s series, with a treasonous “rat” making trouble for British intelligence, Stephen Maturin, and Post-Captain Jack Aubrey. The prime odd couple and best friends Jack and Stephen are entertaining and compelling ashore, where Jack is a gullible mark for every “land shark” and is caught in a tangled web of legal and financial difficulties from which he expects to extricate himself by using his prize money to engage in a little “harmless” stock-purchasing, and where Stephen is much more in command of himself (at sea he is prone to mistaking starboard from larboard, falling down hatches, and drowning). Although it should be said that Stephen has been knocked a bit off stride by the burning down of his comfortable London lodgings and the absconding of his wife Diana to Sweden with a handsome young Lithuanian hussar.

And yet… O’Brian’s novels lose much of their attraction (for this reader) when Jack and Stephen are on land. O’Brian is so good at evoking what it must have been like to be at sea in the early 19th century with sails propelling a ship through every kind of weather over every kind of water in every kind of spot on the globe. He does give us some of that good stuff early in this novel, as in the two following examples:

Short and fast:
“There was a pure keen delight in this flying speed, the rushing air, and the taste of sea in his mouth.”

Long and slow:
“There were mornings when the ship would lie there mirrored in a perfectly unmoving glossy sea, her sails drooping, heavy with dew, and he would dive from the rail, shattering the reflection and swimming out and away beyond the incessant necessary din of two hundred men hurrying about their duties or eating their breakfast. There he would float with an infinity of pure sea on either hand and the whole hemisphere of sky above, already full of light; and then the sun would heave up on the eastern rim, turning the sails a brilliant white in quick succession, changing the sea to still another nameless blue, and filling his heart with joy.”

Ashore, the novels tend to turn one part comedy of manners and two parts cloak-and-dagger. And since about the eighth book in the series, we’ve known that the alcoholic, gambling blackguard Andrew Wray is in fact the “Judas” in British intelligence selling his country out to Napoleon and hatching schemes against Jack and or Stephen, so it’s increasingly hard to believe that Stephen, who in addition to being a famous naturalist and doctor is a veteran ace spy, never suspects the guy, and it increasingly feels like O’Brian is contriving Stephen’s obtuseness to generate conflict. So as I’ve read on in the series, I’ve been increasingly finding it flawed in this area, and here this book has seven of ten chapters devoted to this plot strand.

Moreover, O’Brian is not averse to setting up a fine climax and then cutting it short and ending a novel without any resolution, so the reader is left having to read the start of the next entry in the series to find out what happened at the end of the previous one. This happens at the end of the tenth book, The Far Side of the World, when everything is leading up to a conflict between American and British sailors stuck on an otherwise deserted island in the Pacific, only to have a deus ex machina presumably save the day, but the novel ends so abruptly that we don’t know exactly what was going on with the American ship’s captain and crew, how the Surprise happened to show up at just that moment in the nick of time, and so on and so forth. This eleventh novel pulls a similar disappointing trick: abrupt climax and absent resolution.

There are surely many virtues in this book. Plenty of interesting things about Jack’s natural dark-skinned son, the British legal system, about cricket played between two ships’ crews, about how quickly and competently sailors can renovate a cottage, about how to set up as a privateer, and of course about Jack and Stephen’s friendship (e.g., “Brother, I told you I had inherited from my godfather”). And O’Brian is a fine, wise writer, so of course there are nice lines revealing human nature, like “Ever since I had a great deal of money, I have found that I much dislike being parted from it, particularly in a sharp or overbearing manner,” as well as great descriptions of the natural world, like a “living silence” when “the green world and the gentle blue sky might have just been created.”

But I’m hoping that the next book will mostly take Jack and Stephen to sea again!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Eric and Stacy
  • Eric and Stacy
  • 09-07-19

Ric is the man

The series is a masterpiece. The best I’ve heard or read. Ric is the ultimate in verbal performance, never have I enjoyed a story telling as I have by him. I’ve listened multiple times and always get great joy and happiness from the telling. So cool. Thank you both. Regards.