Customer Reviews for

Master and Commander (Aubrey-Maturin Series #1)

Average Rating 4
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

13 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

Fantastic book

While I understand and (to a limited extent) sympathize with some of the negative ratings this book has received, this is fast becoming my favorite series and I'm only on Book 7(?) The Surgeon's Mate.

There were occasional stretches of narrative that I only dimly und...
While I understand and (to a limited extent) sympathize with some of the negative ratings this book has received, this is fast becoming my favorite series and I'm only on Book 7(?) The Surgeon's Mate.

There were occasional stretches of narrative that I only dimly understood, filled with 18th Century nautical terminology like "leeward", "close-hauled", etc. Some of this I am only now beginning to grasp, some I'm still clueless on. I simply read it through as best I could, happy for those who did understand it. Knowing all the fine points of sailing that O'Brien mentions undoubtedly enriches the reading experience, but it is by no means necessary. Three pages of text can either have you running to a dictionary, Google, etc. etc. every other word in frustration as one of the previous reviewers mentioned, or you can just plow through it to get the gist - something like "After a day-long chase, Aubrey was able to bring the French ship to battle by his ingenious method of cross-bracing."

The point is, the rest of the novel is so astoundingly good that to get hung up on not being able to follow all the nautical minutiae and jargon of the period is to miss the forest for the tree (lack of plural intentional). Each book seems better than the last, but I'm not sure if that's due to the books getting better, my being able to appreciate each one more, or some combination of both.

There is a reason that this series has been given such effusive praise, and it's not because those lauding it take delight in luring in and vexing unsuspecting readers: It's just that good.

posted by J_Thomason on June 12, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

Not Bad

I enjoyed this novel, though not as much as Forester's Hornblower ones. Between Aubrey and Hornoblower the latter is more open to the reader. He is more thoughtful and human, possessing sentiments, worries, and confusions that one easily empathizes with. He is a deep...
I enjoyed this novel, though not as much as Forester's Hornblower ones. Between Aubrey and Hornoblower the latter is more open to the reader. He is more thoughtful and human, possessing sentiments, worries, and confusions that one easily empathizes with. He is a deeply sympathetic character, a little bit more so than the braggadicio and excessive volubility of Aubrey.

Especially enjoyable in this work was the character of Dr. Maturin, whose blanket ignorance of all things nautical and his starkly different personality from Aubrey's place him in the position of representing the reader in the plot.

posted by GeoffSmock on January 18, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 2003

    I am in danger of prehaps becoming addicted.

    I saw the movie, and instantly went for the book. (My apologies for being ignorant of it until my cinematic experience.) Only then I found out that there was an entire series - 20 books, in fact. Well, I read this first one, thoroughly enjoyed it, recommend it to anyone who appreciates a dynamic tale to take the mind away to better times, and can't wait to expand my O'Brian collection. My only qualm - if you are expecting to find a wise, grave-yet-cheerful, charming Aubrey, as portrayed in the film, you might be disappointed by the written character - a slightly ignorant, sometimes drunken childish being. But perhaps you'll find him charming, in his own way.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 9, 2014

    On the high seas this summer

    Master & Commander is an action packed summer reading adventure. There you are in the eighteen century Royal Navy on the high seas with the water, the weather and your wily opponent. It is quite a contrast to being at the office, or is it! The writing is action oriented and the story set in simpler times. So relax and enjoy. This is the first of the extensive series of Jack Aubrey stories by Patrick O'Brian. It introduces Captain Jack Aubrey of the Royal Navy and his sidekick Dr. Stephen Maturin. They have much in common but in some ways do not see eye to eye. Nevertheless together they work hard on the ship and play hard on the beach. You will learn a lot about the officers and crew of a Napoleonic era sailing ship the Sophie. It is a smaller ship called a sloop. You will not only learn how different the lives of the officers and the crew are but also how they pull together to survive the sea and the enemy. And those sea battles against stronger opponents will blow you away like the eighteen pounders of the Sophie! And when you are done there are many more books about Captain Jack in the series.

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  • Posted February 1, 2014

    Recommeded

    In my opinion a delightful novel, however sometimes difficult to follow because of the nautical and English vocabularly. Somewhat easy to understand if the reader has had Military (Naval) background.

    AR

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 24, 2013

    Storm

    .__.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 9, 2009

    KTD review of this book.

    this a great book about adventuer and war at sea. i picked this book for a free reading book project in mrs. rosencrans class and to get points for it i have to write a reveiw about this book. patrick o'brian is a great writer and kepted me reading for hours just to see what came next. i like the book because it tells u how life was on a old ship like that and what the sea wars were like. after i finished the book i went and rented the movie and i saw less in the movie then the book, in the book it gives more detail about everything and everyone which is sad because it would be cool to see some of the things in the movie discussed in the book.if you like adventuer and war and ships in the 1800s this is the book for you and there are many more books about this story cont so pick out this book and get reading!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 20, 2004

    Jolly Good

    I am about halfway through, yet I can already see how the book is exellently written. I love the dry British humor

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2004

    Good reading so far

    I'm still in the middle of this title but am enjoying it so far. Mr. O'Brian is an excellent writer.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 2003

    Enjoyment in less than 500 pages -

    Caution - you are likely to become addicted. Though dull through a few pages of naval terminology, Master and Commander was in no way tedious. I admit, Aubrey is at times an ignorant, annoying fool, but Maturin very quickly compels the reader to forget all of his captain's weaknesses and focus on his own charming person. Appreciative of historical fiction as I am, I was somewhat skeptical about Mr. O'Brian's series, it being written at a much later date than the works of such favorites are Dumas, Hugo, or Scott. However, though one cannot compare the Aubrey/Maturin series to such classics, one can verily say that it is as good as many modern narratives get, and quite as dynamic in its characters as the best historical fiction. (I thought I might have cried when JD perished.) If you are nervous that the rich 19th century atmosphere may be polluted by language that is not as refined as you might like, remember that J. Austen was one of Mr. O'Brian's favorite authours, and be assured that the language - though not as beautiful and eloquent as her own - is almost as worthy.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2003

    The best book

    I recomend the book if you like to read books. I thought it was long, 495 pages

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