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The Truelove (Aubrey / Maturin Novels, Vol. 15) Paperback – July 17, 1993

4.2 out of 5 stars 85 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This entry in O'Brian's late-18th-century seafaring series will delight fans, while offering newcomers a good place to jump in. Here Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin are assigned to help a Polynesian queen in her struggle with a Napoleon-backed rival, and a female convict is smuggled aboard by a midshipman in Australia.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews

The musings and adventures of 18th-century sailors Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin (The Ionian Missionary, The Surgeon's Mate, et. many al.) follow the winds to the South Pacific. On this cruise: a shipboard wedding and a Polynesian dust-up. With Britain between wars for the moment, Captain Aubrey shifts his flag to The Truelove, a merchantman with a military past, and sails to Sydney and points east on a leisurely semiofficial cruise. As usual, Jack is accompanied by his friend Maturin, physician, naturalist, and early intelligence agent, and, as on previous voyages, the crew includes Mr. Martin, a clergyman who shares Stephen's great interest in birds of the world. This time, though, there is a bird on board--a prostitute smuggled out of Sydney by a smitten young officer. She's bad news. Even after she is wed to the smitten and violently jealous Lt. Oakes, Clarissa sees no reason not to scratch the itches of her husband's messmates. Discipline goes to pot, and Jack decides to disembark the young couple at the earliest opportunity. But nothing happens quickly when one must wait for wind. There is plenty of time for Clarissa to consult her physician, who learns that the lady is left cold by the marriage act and, in discussing her depressing past, also learns the identity of a traitor in the highest level of government. When Truelove at last finds the wind, it is off to a Hawaiianish island and rousing battle to install a government sympathetic to his Britannic majesty George III. Intelligent escape. Not for the rushed. (In April, Norton will also issue first-time US editions--at $9.95 each--of two more Jack Aubrey adventures: Treason's Harbour--ISBN: 0-393-30863-4; and The Far Side of the World--ISBN: 0-393-30862-6.) -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audible Audio Edition edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (July 17, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393310167
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393310160
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (85 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #119,207 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By L. Alper on January 7, 2000
Format: Paperback
Anyone who is working their way thru the Aubrey/ Maturin series as I currently am, will find "The Truelove" a slight change from earlier installments. This time around Jack Aubrey isn't concerning himself with earth-shaking events & Stephen Maturin is devoting himself to his philosophical and naturalist inclinations, so instead we simply spend some time afloat with them and the other members of the Surprise along with something entirely new - a woman!
Clarissa Harvill is a cipher & altho Patrick O'Brian reveals more about her as the book draws to a close, there are still many things left unsaid in her interactions with the other crew members. Maybe this reviewer did not read carefully enough, but allusions and omissions regarding Clarissa sometimes left me confused. However, the pleasure of O'Brian's writing is such that, even tho I'm often a little lost when reading his books (especially when it comes to naval terms), I'm never bored.
This definitely should not be the first book in the Aubrey/Maturin series you pick up, but do pick it up once you've started following their adventures. You won't regret it!
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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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Format: Paperback
This fifteenth novel in the series is not one of the author's better efforts, I'm afraid. The SURPRISE has just left Sidney Cove when a female stowaway is discovered in the cable tier. She turns out to be Clarissa, a transported convict under the protection of Midshipman Oakes (for which almost no explanation is given), to whom she is quickly married. ("Clarissa Oakes," in fact, was the English title of this volume, and I hve no idea why they changed it.) Most of the remainder of the book is taken up with the ship's progress across the South Seas and, although there is a land battle at the very end (and even that experienced at one remove), the bulk of the story is an exploration of Clarissa's character and how it was formed, as well as the extremely divisive effect of her somewhat warped personality on the ship's officers and company. As usual, O'Brian shows great skill in narrating a plethora of overlapping subplots, both supporting and complementary, most of them depending on the shifting relationships among the inhabitants of a closed universe -- a ship at sea for weeks and months at a time out of sight of land -- and for that reason the book is certainly worth reading. But if you're in search of a more usual naval adventure, this isn't quite it.
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Format: Hardcover
It was with some trepidation that I started this book because of what other reviewers said but I found it thoroughly enjoyable and moving as events subtly and inexorably moved to the blow up where officers are reprimanded and Surprises are flogged; where the innocent and the guilty worked till they near died under a right Tartar of a Captain who cowed even Killick until we reach this sentence: "When they were assembled in their usual unseemly heap their Captain surveyed them with a benevolence they had not seen this many a weary day and night..." and I and the Surprises breathed a collective sigh of relief. And then they dashed off into battle as the team they always were. Dull and actionless? Hardly.
SPOILERS: Clarissa Oakes did not throw a baby down a well. Stephen offered her his protection and she offered up this hypothetical situation to test the genuiness of his offer. He already knew what her crime was and states it at one point in a letter to Blaine.
At the start of the novel, it was obvious Jack had contracted hepatitis, an acute, self-limiting illness whose chief symptom is profound exhaustion which Stephen treated by purging and bleeding and admonishing him not to sleep so much as he'll only grow fatter. That he survived this regimen while commanding his ship is a testimony to his fortitude for even a saint would have grown liverish; I believe Jack may be excused for being grumpy and not his usual sanguine self.
Also, women, in Jack's limited experience, were those delightful creatures one dallied with on shore. No one as damaged and poisonous as Clarissa has ever crossed his path, much less dropped into his little wooden world.
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