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Post Captain (Vol. Book 2) (Aubrey/Maturin Novels) Hardcover – November 17, 1994

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Editorial Reviews Review

As the first sentences of Post Captain roll off actor Robert Hardy's tongue, you know you're somewhere you've never been before: the high seas in the early 19th century. Hardy's rich rendition of Patrick O'Brian's 1972 novel, a follow-up to Master and Commander, starts with series heroes Captain Jack Aubrey and surgeon Stephen Maturin enjoying a brief period of peace. Soon enough, though, the Napoleonic Wars resume, and the seafaring adventures continue. (Running time: 4.5 hours, three cassettes) --Lou Schuler --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


“I haven’t read novels [in the past ten years] except for all of the Patrick O’Brian series. It was, unfortunately, like tripping on heroin. I started on those books and couldn’t stop.” (E. O. Wilson - Boston Globe)

“Aubrey and Maturin compose one of those complex and fascinating pairs of characters which have inspired thrilling stories of all kinds since the Iliad.” (Iris Murdoch and John Bayley)

“One of the finest seafaring novels of the Napoleonic wars.” (Taranaki Herald [New Zealand])

"Pathfinder Tales: Lord of Runes"
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Product Details

  • Series: Aubrey/Maturin Novels (Book 2)
  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; y First edition thus edition (November 17, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393037029
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393037029
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.7 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (213 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #575,419 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

159 of 166 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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57 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Richard R on August 10, 2000
Format: Hardcover
"Post Captain" is the second in Patrick O'Brian's epic 20-volume 19th-century maritime series. Captain Jack Aubrey, who made and lost a fortune in the first book, spends this book on the run. On the run from France as war comes, from debtor's prison throughout, and from the entanglements of romance. His shotgun-approach to courtship leads to a near-disastrous conflict with his best friend, the ship's surgeon Stephen Maturin, whose own secret life slowly unfolds behind Aubrey's back.
This is a wonderful book, not a typical novel in the sense that it does not open questions in the beginning and then answer them by the end. Instead, it is a linear narrative that ends on a cliff-hanger just begging for a sequel. O'Brian's writing is crisp and spare. The characters are fully-developed human beings, the action is exciting. The book is hard to put down, but the best thing is that there are eighteen more to follow.
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42 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Margaret Fiore on November 5, 1999
Format: Paperback
What absolutely delicious reading this is! Master and Commander was excellent. This is even better. I cannot believe how very, very funny O'Brian can be!
There is a little scene in the beginning of this book where he briefly describes Jack's horse, a "sullen gray gelding" who spends most of his time "mourning his lost stones", and the horse's train of thought, something like, "Sits too far forward at a jump, I'll have him off sooner or later... Oh, a mare! A mare!" I just laughed myself to tears.
It is rare to find a book that has such a rich blend of various ingredients. O'Brian's insights into the wide variety of human personality (not to mention equine!), his quirky sense of humor, his excellent portrayal of the ways of life in that time, the politics, the navies, the ships, all are tied together, and blend beautifully into this absorbing human drama.
I think I'll have to read them all!
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Bill Mac on May 26, 2000
Format: Paperback
Post Captain is the second in the Aubrey/Maturin series and perhaps the first written with the knowledge that it was part of a series. O'Brian's first novel in the series was published shortly after C.S. Forester's death and the publication of Pope's and Kent's first novels in their series of wooden ships and iron men. O'Brian found a different niche within the genre and one that ultimately led to his recognition as a serious author of historical novels. If one has read Pope or Kent and even Forester, then the reader might have some difficulty getting into O'Brian's novels. If one accepts that O'Brian is a longer read and that the emphasis is more on character and historicity than violent action then one can enjoy this novel thoroughly.
I read the first book in the series, Master and Commander, and was disappointed. I enjoyed Post Captain more. Perhaps that was due to knowing what to expect and perhaps it is because Post Captain is better than its predecessor. However, it is not your typical naval action adventure. In fact, the first few chapters sounded a bit like Pride and Prejudice from Mr. Darcy's perspective. The fact is that O'Brian writes well enough to pull it off. Post Captain does pick up when war is declared and Aubrey goes back to sea.
One area of conflict that I found strangely missing in Master and Commander was that between Aubrey and Maturin. I had expected that Maturin would be critical of Aubrey taking the ship into actions that caused wounds Maturin would have to treat. There is a serious conflict between the two in Post Captain although it's not over Aubrey's naval actions. Since the series has 18 more novels one knows that the conflict will be resolved.
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