Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.
Blue at the Mizzen (Vol. Book 20) (Aubrey/Maturin Novels) Paperback – September 17, 2000
|New from||Used from|
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
That may sound like a lot to keep track of. However, it's not necessary to carry around a scorecard or ship's roster while reading Blue at the Mizzen. The ostensible issue is whether Jack will finally be promoted to Admiral of the Blue. But long before he hears any word from the Napoleonic era's equivalent of Personnel, he loses half his crew to desertion, his ship undergoes a disastrous collision, and the entire company comes close to perishing in the ice-choked seas off Cape Horn. Meanwhile, the widowed Maturin issues a surprising proposal of marriage to a beautiful, mud-bespattered fellow naturalist while trekking through an African mangrove swamp. (The two lovebirds happen to be searching for a rare variant of Caprimulgus longipennis, the long-tailed nightjar, which they hope to surprise in full mating plumage.)
Still, this is hardly a plot-driven novel. O'Brian takes time to get anywhere, and invariably enjoys the journey more than the arrival. So even as we get constant hints of the climax to come--Jack's spectacular naval action on behalf of the infant Republic of Chile--we don't mind hearing about the nuances of shipboard existence or the secret life of the white-faced tree duck. We're treated, for example, to this snippet about managed care, circa 1816:
Poll, Maggie and a horse-leech from the starboard watch have been administering enemas to the many, many cases of gross surfeit that have now replaced the frostbites, torsions, and debility of the recent past, the very recent past. Strong, fresh, seal-meat has not its equal for upsetting the seaman's metabolism: he is much better kept on biscuits, Essex cheese, and a very little well-seethed salt pork--kept on short commons.And we're grateful! We can only hope that the elderly author will favor us with at least one more novel, so that his avid followers can avoid their own form of short commons. Life without Aubrey and Maturin would be a deprivation indeed. --Andrew Himes --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
More About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
But now we're done for. I read "Blue at the Mizzen" two weeks after the sad news of O'Brian's death. As I closed in on the ending, the lump in my throat had nothing to do with the resolution of the plot. And it wasn't really for the drying-up of this amazing flow of dialog and description. Like all great literature, the books will be there forever, to be re-read with pleasure and recommended to friends and family. No, it was for poor Jack and Stephen. Because by now I know well how long it takes to sail around the Horn and I could tell by the number of pages remaining that the tale would end-with the usual flurry of action-but that the two particular friends would still be standing out to sea, far from England. Like Capt. Cook, the great navigator the stories owe so much too, Aubrey and Maturin are triumphant and ever hopeful, but their bones can never rest at home.
If you are a reader of the series, there is no question that you are going to read this book. The only worry is the details. Buy now, or wait for the paperback edition? I say, go for it. And be assured that O'Brian went out at the top of his form. "The Hundred Days" seemed hackneyed and tired, but "Blue at the Mizzen" has all the dialog, the detail and intrigue, all the warmth of the best of the series.Read more ›
In recent years, I have eagerly awaited the release of new books in the series. And, Blue at the Mizzen was worth the wait.
The Aubrey and Maturin characters have evolved as individuals, as they have aged and had other experiences in life. Unlike most of the earlier books in the series, Blue at the Mizzen features Dr. Maturin to a greater degree than the brooding Capt. Aubrey whose concern over his future makes him more remote to both Maturin and to the reader. After O'Brian killed off Dr. Maturin's wife in The Hundred Days, Dr. Maturin surprisingly develops a romantic interest in a fellow naturalist, Christine Wood. Their romantic episode is odd, but given Maturin's character, that is not really surprising.
As usual, a lot happens in this book, but as in the other books, O'Brian often unleashes the action in a understated or offhanded way. Events happen with little or no warning or with minimal discussion. The intelligence activities involving the Republic of Chile are not as clearly described, for example, as Maturin's South American intelligence activities in The Wine Dark Sea. As with other books in the series, the action sometimes is secondary to the activities on the ship, the relationships of the main and minor characters, and Maturin's focus on the birds and beasts that they encounter. Even so, Blue on the Mizzen was an enjoyable book that held my interest.
How does it compare with the other books in the series? Good question. Personally, I liked it better than The Yellow Admiral, which spent too much time on shore.Read more ›
Rereading all the books confirmed that O'Brian is a superb writer and that his ability to evoke the past is outstanding. O'Brian has numerous gifts as a writer. He is the master of the long, careful description, and the short, telling episode. His ability to construct ingenious but creditable plots is first-rate, probably because he based much of the action of his books on actual events. For example, some of the episodes of Jack Aubrey's career are based on the life of the famous frigate captain, Lord Cochrane. O'Brian excels also in his depiction of characters. His ability to develop psychologically creditable characters through a combination of dialogue, comments by other characters, and description is tremendous. O'Brien's interest in psychology went well beyond normal character development, some books contain excellent case studies of anxiety, depression, and mania.
Reading O'Brien gives vivid view of the early 19th century. The historian Bernard Bailyn, writing of colonial America, stated once that the 18th century world was not only pre-industrial but also pre-humanitarian (paraphrase).Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Wonderful writing. Characters and life at sea are clearly drawn in your mind's eye.Published 3 months ago by TerrierTops
Too bad this is so near the end of O'Brien's engrossing saga.Published 4 months ago by Charles Pailthorp
The final novel in the Aubrey-Maturin series (except for the unfinished Number 21) satisfies in every way. One could only wish for more. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Michaele L. Benedict
I bought Book 20 of the series to replace one that was loaned and not returned. The Aubrey-Maturin series is one of my favorites. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Harry Vonk