For over 16 novels, Patrick O'Brian has been carrying readers away to the wave-tossed-seas with Nelson's navy. Steeped in exquisite period detail, breathtaking prose, and bold adventure, The Letter of Marque
continues the saga of Jack Aubrey, brilliant yet disgraced officer, and Stephan Maturin, ship's surgeon and British intelligence operator. Together they sail on a desperate mission against the French, which, if successful, may redeem Aubrey from the private hell of his disgrace.
From Publishers Weekly
If Jane Austen wrote Royal Navy yarns, they might read like this sequel to Master and Commander and Post Captain (which Norton issues in paperback in August). In the early 1800s, Captain Jack Aubrey, unjustly drummed out of service, is now master of the "letter of marque" (privateer) frigate Surprise , secretly owned by Stephen Maturin, ship's doctor/naturalist/abandoned husband/opium-eater and intelligence agent. The major events here are two great sea victories that make Jack a rich folk-hero, and Stephen's winning back of his wife and breaking his laudanum habit. Jack's seamanship and heroism are complemented by Stephen's absent-minded brilliance, their friendship cemented by their shared music-making (violin and cello, respectively). The early-19th-century locutions are fascinating, as are the evocation of period shipboard life (including ship-provisioning and naval lingo), Whitehall politics (rotten boroughs, etc.) and drug addiction (coca leaf-chewing as well as opium-eating). Seafarers and landlubbers alike will enjoy this swift, witty tale of money and love.
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