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The Mauritius Command (Vol. Book 4) (Aubrey/Maturin Novels) Hardcover – November 17, 1994


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Frequently Bought Together

The Mauritius Command (Vol. Book 4)  (Aubrey/Maturin Novels) + H. M. S. Surprise (Vol. Book 3)  (Aubrey/Maturin Novels) + Desolation Island (Vol. Book 5)  (Aubrey/Maturin Novels)
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Product Details

  • Series: Aubrey/Maturin Novels (Book 4)
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; Reprint edition (November 17, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393037045
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393037043
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 5.9 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (113 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #437,538 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Ashore without a command--and on half-pay to boot--Jack Aubrey's prayers are answered when Stephen Maturin shows up with a secret mission for him. The two men have been ordered to the Cape of Good Hope. There they hope to dislodge the French garrisons on the islands of Mauritius and La Reunion. Alas, two of their own colleagues--a dilettante and a martinet--prove to be nearly as great an obstacle as the French themselves. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

This initiates the reissue (see H.M.S. Surprise above) of O'Brian's long-out-of-print novels, set in Napoleonic-era England, about the unlikely pair, Captain Jack Aubrey and Dr. Stephen Maturin. Aubrey is a strapping blond man of action; Maturin, his ship's surgeon and occasional intelligence agent to the king, is diminutive and somber. Aubrey is without a ship, uncomfortably surrounded by wife, babies and mother-in-law, when Maturin comes to visit. The good doctor has engineered a new mission for his friend, and they set off to take two small islands off the coast of Madagascar, thereby making the Indian Ocean safe for English commerce. O'Brian is a graceful writer, and the book is full of wonderful period details, such as the use of a sail to create a wading pool for non-swimmers in Aubrey's crew. Unfortunately, with Aubrey as commodore, too much of the action is seen from afar, as when batteries are taken on one of the islands. The book's peculiar narrative structure builds repeatedly towards anticipated climaxes that never happen. However, aficionados of C. S. Forester and Alexander Kent will delight in the almost excessive period nautical jargon.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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

Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin series is among the very best of seafaring novels.
Roy Nelson
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
I enjoyed the whole series of these books, and was so enthralled I read them one after the other this summer.
L. B. Smith

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

68 of 70 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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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on February 1, 2007
Format: Paperback
The Patrick O'Brian naval series of books are an acquired taste. If you love the first book, chances are that over the next few years you will find a way to work through the entire series. I do not recommend reading the book on its own. The true joy is seeing the transformation and progression of the two main characters.

The books are not for everyone, the writing style differs from what is found in 21st century adventure novels. The language is deep and the sentences are carefully crafted. While the books appear on the outside to be simple naval adventure tales, they are really deep studies in character development of a British naval officer and his best friend/ship surgeon/intelligence operative.

The Mauritius Command is one of the best books in the series. Almost the entire book takes place at sea. A few of the earlier book got bogged down whenever the lead character, naval officer Jack Aubrey, steps onto land, but at soon as he takes to sea the books take on a whole new life.

While the characters speak of honor and duty, the author makes no attempts to hide the rough, cruel, and violent life aboard British naval ships during the early 19th century. While not a quick read, if you are willing to invest the time and energy, the Mauritius Command and all of the books in the series are well worth you time.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Robert Moore HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 17, 2004
Format: Hardcover
The opening of THE MAURITIUS COMMAND finds "Lucky" Jack Aubrey married, poor, and bored. He is without a command, on half pay, and doing no more than tinkering with his telescopes. Happily, his particular friend Stephen Maturin comes bearing glad tidings: an assignment leading an expedition to capture the French-held islands of Mauritius and La Reunion just east of Madagascar.
Unlike the previous novels, where Jack commands a vessel usually unattached from joint maneuvers, he here commands several ships. Unfortunately, the Commodore (as Jack is temporarily called) has a problem: the captains of the three primary ships are troublesome. Lord Clonfert nurses a long held jealously of Jack's fame and success, and has a tendency for self-promotion and showmanship. Pym is solid, but in the end lacks judgment in battle. Corbett is the polar opposite of Jack in regard to discipline. While Jack believes in discipline, he staunchly believes that brutality and frequent punishment is both cruel and counterproductive, leading to an unhappy ship. Corbett, on the other hand, is a savage disciplinarian, and keeps his crew on the edge of mutiny.
All of the novels in the series have their unique appeal, and this one delights in its chronicling the course of a single campaign, a campaign that O'Brian notes is based quite closely on real events. The novel is also superb in its setting in a locale of which most readers will be utterly unfamiliar. It is also fun because more than in the previous novels, Stephen Maturin plays a more prominent role as an intelligence officer, and his work on the islands in fermenting rebellion against the French is as crucial as Jack's role in leading the military expedition.
I would caution anyone tempted to read O'Brian to start with the very first novel and work from the first to the last. I deeply love these books, but they do not stand alone.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Peter Mackay on May 9, 2002
Format: Paperback
At the end of the previous novel in the series, Jack Aubrey is returning home to England and marriage to his beloved Sophie, dreaming of the rosy future.
Here in the opening chapters of The Mauritius Command is that future, and they are some of the most sustained humorous scenes of the entire Canon. Poor Jack - marriage isn't quite what he imagined it to be!
But all too soon we are away on another cruise with Stephen Maturin, this time with a temporary promotion to Commodore, and the flying of a broad pendant to mark the fact. There's glory for you!
The bulk of the novel concerns the more or less historical campaign to win back Mauritus from the French, and it is here that I venture a word of criticism, for Patrick O'Brian bound himself a little too tightly with the actual history and has to resort to some literary strategems to keep up with the sometimes confusing action.
But that's by the by and along the way we meet some fascinating new characters, revisit some happy old ones, and spend a reasonable amount of time doing the things that make a Patrick O'Brian novel so well worth reading.
I enjoyed this book very much, hence the five star rating, for even a Patrick O'Brian book a trifle off his usual pace is a very good book indeed.
It is a good self-contained adventure, very rare in this series where a journey quite often takes four books or so to come to a conclusion, and it comes with the necessary maps at the beginning and an excellent essay on Jack Aubrey's ships at the end, including extracts from the plans of the dear old Surprise.
An excellent read and the pleasure is enhanced by the marvellous Geoff Hunt painting on the cover.
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