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The Mauritius Command (Aubrey/Maturin ) Paperback – May 17, 1991
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
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 ›
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.
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
One of the best of the Aubrey - Maturin novels. O'Brian at his peak.Published 13 days ago by Amazon Customer
If you like Napoleonic warfare, good writing, and naval themes- this is the book for you. If you've seen the movie Master and Commander and loved or even liked it, start reading... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Estalio
Love this series! True, I get a little lost with all the nautical terms, but the main characters are so well developed it doesn't matter. Read morePublished 2 months ago by danny
Rated "full of surprises" although she makes no appearance in this book.Published 3 months ago by Senatus
This is a totalling engaging series. Beautifully written, and remarkably adept at capturing the idiosyncrasies of human character. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Shirley Kirk