The Commodore

The Commodore

Book - 2003
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Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin tales are widely acknowledged to be the greatest series of historical novels ever written. To commemorate the 40th anniversary of their beginning, with Master and Commander, these evocative stories are being re-issued in paperback with smart new livery. This is the seventeenth book in the series. Jack Aubrey's long service is at last rewarded: he is promoted to the rank of Commodore and given a squadron of ships to command. His mission is twofold - to make a large dent in the slave trade off the coast of Africa and, on his return, to intercept a French fleet set for Bantry Bay with a cargo of weapons for the disaffected among the Irish. Invention and surprise follow at every turn in this tale of nineteenth-century seamanship, as rich, as compelling, as masterly as any of its predecessors.
Publisher: London : HarperCollins, 2003.
ISBN: 9780006499329
Branch Call Number: FIC OBria
Characteristics: 311 pages : illustrations ; 20 cm.


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Jun 19, 2011

O'Brian readers can expect the same comfortable literary habitat occupied by Captain Aubrey and Stephen Maturin in this 17th installment of the series. Oblique conversations about their back-on shore-wives, over pots of coffee below decks, as the ship sails to far-off assignments is the familiar stuff of past books, but these later installments, this one included, are becoming more parlor scenes at sea than high sea adventure. The books are getting a bit old, along with their creator. But that said, I still enjoyed hanging out with these old friends navigating the sea and the depths of international espionage. What in earlier books were thrilling and seductively drawn out naval battle scenes, in this book are delayed and brief at best, as if O'Brien is deliberately denying the reader the adrenaline fix of a good battle in favor of hanging out with his two aging main characters. It's a case of comfort and domesticity at sea trumping sea adventure, and the rough spice of travelling to the far sides of the world. And it leaves me longing for the earlier books, the far left side of the book shelf. Fortunately, it has been so long since I set out with O'Brien on the first voyage sixteen books ago, that I can look forward to the earlier adventures as if for the first time.

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