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The Letter of Marque (Vol. Book 12) (Aubrey/Maturin Novels) Paperback – August 17, 1992
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When Jack Aubrey is unfairly deprived of his commission in the Royal Navy, Stephen Maturin comes to the rescue, purchasing the captain's former ship and outfitting it as a privateer, to be commanded by...Jack Aubrey. Soon the Surprise is off to sea, on a mission that Aubrey hopes will redeem his good name. The author's grasp of period detail is astonishing as ever--and so is his gift for pure entertainment.
From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Unlike its competitors, who are usually linked to major book publishers, Blackstone specializes in giving new audio life to classics—using prize-winning readers like Vance to bring new and exciting life to neglected works. This is Vance's 17th reading of one of O'Brian's superb seafaring novels about Jack Aubrey and Dr. Stephen Maturin, and it's the first time that anyone has made new versions since O'Brian's death in 2000. Vance (who also reads under the names Robert Whitfield and Richard Matthews) is absolutely perfect for O'Brian's sad and stirring tale about Post Captain Aubrey's unjust punishment: Aubrey has been stricken off the Admiralty's list, usually the end of a man's career. But Dr. Maturin uses his own money to buy Aubrey's old ship, HMS Surprise, and turn it into a privateer—a letter of marque. Vance catches the subtle differences between the land-owning Jack, his rough-tongued crew and the Spanish/Irish Maturin. O'Brian fans should relish this excellent audio outing as should anyone with a love of adventure, history, the sea and fine writing. (Reviews, July 6, 1990). (Dec.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Jack Aubrey has been dismissed from the Royal Navy and is in low spirits. However, Stephen Maturin, now rich by inheritance, purchases the frigate "Surprise" and a "letter of Marque", i.e., an authorization to operate as a privateer. However, Stephen is still in the intelligence service, and the resulting missions are a mixture of intelligence collecting and profit making. The privateering goes well making Jack wealthy and popular. Later Stephen journeys to Sweden and is reconciled with his wife, Diana. In the meantime, partly as a result of the death of Jack's father, Jack acquires a seat in Parliament, and sufficient influence to be given assurance that he will soon be reinstated in the Royal Navy.
"Letter of Marque" is a typical installment in the saga, filled with fascinating characters, battles, sea lore, and insights into early. There is virtually no mystery or suspense, but rather high adventure. Many men will wish that Stephen simply divorce and forget Diane, but of course, that's easier said than done.
I have lost track of how many times I have read the entire series start to finish-- somewhere between six and ten times, and I look forward to re-reading the series again and again. This is one of the grand classics to purchase in hardcover, and to bequeath to your grandchildren.
> Click on “Stoney” just below the product title to see my other reviews, or leave a comment to ask a question.
Go buy the first two books. Be prepared to be enriched and entertained and amazed.
The Letter of Marque is a fun and exciting read, though the story was not especially emotionally involving, so did not stick with me as much as thought it would. Great history and wit as we've come to expect from this author. On to the next book!
Reviewer: Liz Clare, co-author of the historical novel "To the Ends of the Earth: The Last Journey of Lewis and Clark"