- Series: Aubrey/Maturin (Book 4)
- Paperback: 348 pages
- Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (May 17, 1991)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780393307627
- ISBN-13: 978-0393307627
- ASIN: 039330762X
- Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.7 x 8.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 507 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #93,761 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Mauritius Command (Aubrey/Maturin) Paperback – May 17, 1991
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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.
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.
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All of them are 5-star reads as far as I’m concerned, such is the richness of the author’s writing, the historical, political, nautical, botanical, biological detail, the clever, economical depiction of his characters and relationships, the wry humour, his utterly convincing portrayal of a storm at sea …...
I suppose some of the books might be marginally better than others but, compared to any other authors' novels I can recall reading, they’re all worth 5 stars.
Having said all that though, they may not be to everyone’s taste. I’m 66 years old and male, and I suspect those two demographics might explain much of my enamourment. Someone of a different generation or gender may not be as entranced by the 18th century language, the naval-historical themes, the authenticity of description of things of that era (at least I presume it’s authentic, I wouldn’t know, maybe some of O'Brian's apparent erudition is bluff). I know my 15yo son read a paragraph of “Surprise” at random and wasn’t tempted to read on. His loss I say.
As always O'Brian writes from history, as much as possible, and this book is based on a little known action against the French in the India Ocean bringing both action and suspense to the story. As always a welcome addition in our ongoing love of all things navel as illustrated by Commodore Aubrey and Dr. Maturin.
It's history + escapism and most sailors will love it. I am reading the series for the second time because it is fascinating most of all, but also because it reminds me of my Navy days.