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The Ionian Mission (Vol. Book 8) (Aubrey/Maturin Novels) Paperback – January 17, 1992


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Frequently Bought Together

The Ionian Mission (Vol. Book 8)  (Aubrey/Maturin Novels) + The Surgeon's Mate (Vol. Book 7)  (Aubrey/Maturin Novels) + Treason's Harbour (Vol. Book 9)  (Aubrey/Maturin Novels)
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Product Details

  • Series: Aubrey/Maturin Novels (Book 8)
  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (January 17, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393308219
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393308211
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #85,261 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Aubrey and Maturin return to the choppy Mediterranean waters where they first served together, enforcing the Royal Navy's blockade of Toulon. Then the two companions are sent to the Greek Islands, where another series of maritime cliff-hangers awaits them. O'Brian performs his peculiar narrative magic as adeptly as ever, putting (as The Observer would have it) the "spark of character into the sawdust of time."

From Publishers Weekly

This entry in the Aubrey/Maturin series (see above review of The Surgeon's Mate ) finds Captain Jack Aubrey "shoved into a temporary command in that rotten old Worcester ," a poorly built ship. Worse, he's off to the Mediterranean to join the Royal Navy's endless blockade of the French port of Toulon. Aside from a chance encounter with a French man-of-war that triggers a brief but extremely colorful battle, there is little excitement as HMS Worcester settles in with the other blockading ships, some with crews showing signs of strain from remaining constantly alert but inactive. Second in command at Toulon is Admiral Harte, no friend of Aubrey's (who cuckolded the admiral years ago). Harte dispatches Aubrey on a delicate mission to the politically volatile Ionian coast. Although he has the succor of Stephen Maturin, a seasoned intelligence agent, and Professor Graham, an expert on the region's customs, Aubrey is caught in a complex net of Turkish politics and rivalries. And while Harte seems to offer all reasonable backing for the mission, Aubrey knows that should he fail, the admiral would like nothing better than to throw him to the dogs.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

In addition to twenty volumes in the highly respected Aubrey/Maturin series, Patrick O'Brian's many books include "Testimonies," "The Golden Ocean," and "The Unknown Shore". O'Brian also wrote acclaimed biographies of Pablo Picasso and Sir Joseph Banks and translated many works from the French, among them the novels and memoirs of Simone de Beauvoir and Jean Lacouture's biographies of Charles de Gaulle. He passed away in January 2000 at the age of 85.

Customer Reviews

The Aubrey/Maturin series by Patrick O'Brian is fantastic.
Dennis Watkins
O'Brien's interest in psychology went well beyond normal character development, some books contain excellent case studies of anxiety, depression, and mania.
R. Albin
This book was very enjoyable, but, after reading the first eight books in this series, I have the feeling that I've already read the best of the series.
Roger Lee

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Doug Briggs on April 4, 2000
Format: Hardcover
"The Ionian Mission" is every bit as worthy as any of the Aubrey/Maturins that came before. This time they are engaged in Jack's worst nightmare: a blockade, which is bad enough, but in this case Rear Admiral Harte is second in command. Harte is a scrub to those under him whom he doesn't especially dislike. But to Aubrey! Ugh.
But Jack gets a respite from the tedium when ordered to escort the ship captained by his old mid, now Commander William Babbington, on a mission that Harte hopes will set Aubrey up for a fall.
We're at sea. Babbington is visiting Captain Aubrey aboard the Worcester, his Dryad sailing along over there, when we are treated to one of tasty little morsels that O'Brian's sack is so full of. Babbington and Aubrey are leaning on the Worcester's rail when the quote begins:
The Worcester and the Dryad had hardly sunk the squadron's topsails below the western horizon before the sun came out and the breeze increased so that the sparkling blue was flecked with white horses.
"Buttons, the French call them," observed Captain Aubrey in his thick, cold-ridden voice.
"Do they indeed, sir," said Captain Babbington. "I never knew that. What a curious notion."
"Well, you could say that they are as much like sheep as they are horses," said Jack, blowing his nose. "But sheep ain't poetical, whereas horses are."
"Are they really, sir? I was not aware."
"Of course they are, William. Nothing more poetical, except maybe doves. Pegasus, and so on. Think of the fellow in the play that calls out 'My kingdom for a horse' -- it would not have been poetry at all, had he said sheep.
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29 of 34 people found the following review helpful By R. Albin TOP 500 REVIEWER on October 26, 2003
Format: Paperback
Some critics have referred to the Aubrey/Maturin books as one long novel united not only by their historical setting but also by the central plot element of the Aubrey/Maturin friendship. Having read these fine books over a period of several years, I decided to evaluate their cumulative integrity by reading them consecutively in order of publication over a period of a few weeks. This turned out to be a rewarding enterprise. For readers unfamiliar with these books, they describe the experiences of a Royal Navy officer and his close friend and traveling companion, a naval surgeon. The experiences cover a broad swath of the Napoleonic Wars and virtually the whole globe.
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).
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Pauline J. Alama on August 17, 2000
Format: Paperback
Capt. Jack Aubrey of the British navy sets out on a delicate mission calling for cunning, finesse, and political acumen -- not generally his strong points, at least on dry land. With the advice of his friend, surgeon and sectret agent Stephen Maturin, Aubrey must choose which of three rival regimes to support in their conflict over a disputed territory. If he chooses amiss -- as some in the admiralty seem to hope he will do -- he faces disgrace and quite possibly bankruptcy. Can he navigate the treacherous waters of politics in the Ottoman Empire? I wouldn't dream of giving it away!
Along with the dry humor and vivid historical texture Patrick O'Brien can be counted on to provide, this book brings out depths in Aubrey's character that hadn't been apparent in earlier books. I rate this one of the best of a very good series. (They're best read in order; start with Master & Commander, if you haven't started yet.)
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Michael K. Smith TOP 500 REVIEWER on November 23, 2002
Format: Paperback
This is the eighth in the naval action adventures of Captain Jack Aubrey and Dr. Stephen Maturin, and, except for the last twenty pages, there's a surprising lack of action. Jack is doing a turn commanding a seventy-four-gun ship of the line in the blockade of Toulon on the French Mediterranean coast, a mostly cold, dreary, boring, enervating sort of warfare. The admiral he admires is wasting away from overwork and the vice-commander, Jack's old nemesis, tries to use him in a diplomatic feint which turns into a debacle, damaging his reputation among those of his crew who don't really know him and even making him doubt himself. Stephen is busy behind the scenes, sharing the secret limelight with Prof. Graham, an expert in all things Turkish. Finally, in a narratively somewhat disconnected incident, they are sent off to the Turkish-held Greek islands to undermine the French among the local beys and pashas. While it makes for interesting reading in depicting another, rather less dashing, side of the naval war against Napoleon, this volume is uncomfortably episodic and not at all one of O'Brian's best. I would definitely not recommend this as one's first novel in the series.
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