The Letter of Marque (Aubrey-Maturin Series #12)

The Letter of Marque (Aubrey-Maturin Series #12)

4.3 8
by Patrick O'Brian
     
 

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"Fine stuff...[The Letter of Marque] leaves the devotee of naval fiction eager for sequels."—Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post Book World
Captain Jack Aubrey, a brilliant and experienced officer, has been struck off the list of post-captains for a crime he did not commit. His old friend Stephen Maturin, usually cast as a ship's surgeon to mask his discreet

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Overview

"Fine stuff...[The Letter of Marque] leaves the devotee of naval fiction eager for sequels."—Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post Book World
Captain Jack Aubrey, a brilliant and experienced officer, has been struck off the list of post-captains for a crime he did not commit. His old friend Stephen Maturin, usually cast as a ship's surgeon to mask his discreet activities on behalf of British Intelligence, has bought for Aubrey his former ship the Surprise to command as a privateer, more politely termed a letter of marque. Together they sail on a desperate mission against the French, which, if successful, may redeem Aubrey from the private hell of his disgrace.

Editorial Reviews

A. S. Byatt
“Gripping and vivid… a whole, solidly living world for the imagination to inhabit.”
Eudora Welty
“[Patrick O'Brian has] the power of bringing near to the reader...savagery and tenderness, beauty and mystery and boldness and dignity.”
George Will
“O’Brian’s Aubrey-Maturin volumes actually constitute a single 6,443-page novel, one that should have been on those lists of the greatest novels of the 20th century.”
Richard Snow - New York Times Book Review
“The best historical novels ever written… On every page Mr. O’Brian reminds us with subtle artistry of the most important of all historical lessons: that times change but people don’t, that the griefs and follies and victories of the men and women who were here before us are in fact the maps of our own lives.”
Peter Campbell - London Review of Books
“The Letter of Marque is both serious and light-hearted, true and sentimental, as comic opera can be.”
Christopher Hitchens - Slate
“I devoured Patrick O’Brian’s 20-volume masterpiece as if it had been so many tots of Jamaica grog.”
James Hamilton-Paterson - New Republic
“Patrick O’Brian is unquestionably the Homer of the Napoleonic wars.”
Keith Richards
“I fell in love with his writing straightaway, at first with Master and Commander. It wasn’t primarily the Nelson and Napoleonic period, more the human relationships. …And of course having characters isolated in the middle of the goddamn sea gives more scope. …It’s about friendship, camaraderie. Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin always remind me a bit of Mick and me.”
Tamar Lewin - New York Times
“It has been something of a shock to find myself—an inveterate reader of girl books—obsessed with Patrick O’Brian’s Napoleonic-era historical novels… What keeps me hooked are the evolving relationships between Jack and Stephen and the women they love.”
David Mamet - New York Times
“[O’Brian’s] Aubrey-Maturin series, 20 novels of the Royal Navy in the Napoleonic Wars, is a masterpiece. It will outlive most of today’s putative literary gems as Sherlock Holmes has outlived Bulwer-Lytton, as Mark Twain has outlived Charles Reade.”
Stephen Becker - Chicago Sun-Times
“There is not a writer alive whose work I value over his.”
E. O. Wilson - Boston Globe
“I haven’t read novels [in the past ten years] except for all of the Patrick O’Brian series. It was, unfortunately, like tripping on heroin. I started on those books and couldn’t stop.”
Ken Ringle - New York Times
“The Aubrey-Maturin series… far beyond any episodic chronicle, ebbs and flows with the timeless tide of character and the human heart.”
Publishers Weekly

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.)

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Stephen Vaughan
These novels, thoroughly steeped in their Nelsonic period, were originally hailed as Hornblower's natural successors, and in certain respects—humor, characterization—have succeeded in stealing the wind from that paragon's sails.
—Stephen Vaughan, Observer
London Review of Books
The Letter of Marque is both serious and light-hearted, true and sentimental, as comic opera can be.— Peter Campbell
Boston Globe
I haven’t read novels [in the past ten years] except for all of the Patrick O’Brian series. It was, unfortunately, like tripping on heroin. I started on those books and couldn’t stop.— E. O. Wilson

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393309058
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
08/28/1992
Series:
Aubrey-Maturin Series, #12
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
284
Sales rank:
190,584
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.60(d)

Meet the Author

Patrick O'Brian's acclaimed Aubrey/Maturin series of historical novels has been described as "a masterpiece" (David Mamet, New York Times), "addictively readable" (Patrick T. Reardon, Chicago Tribune), and "the best historical novels ever written" (Richard Snow, New York Times Book Review), which "should have been on those lists of the greatest novels of the 20th century" (George Will).Set in the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars, O'Brian's twenty-volume series centers on the enduring friendship between naval officer Jack Aubrey and physician (and spy) Stephen Maturin. The Far Side of the World, the tenth book in the series, was adapted into a 2003 film directed by Peter Weir and starring Russell Crowe and Paul Bettany. The film was nominated for ten Oscars, including Best Picture. The books are now available in hardcover, paperback, and e-book format.In addition to the Aubrey/Maturin novels, Patrick O'Brian wrote several books including the novels Testimonies, The Golden Ocean, and The Unknown Shore, as well as biographies of Joseph Banks and Picasso. He translated many works from French into English, among them the novels and memoirs of Simone de Beauvoir, the first volume of Jean Lacouture's biography of Charles de Gaulle, and famed fugitive Henri Cherrière's memoir Papillon. O'Brian died in January 2000.

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Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
December 12, 1914
Date of Death:
January 2, 2000
Place of Birth:
Chalfont St. Peter, Buckinghamshire
Place of Death:
Dublin, Ireland
Education:
Shebbear College, Devon
Website:
http://www.wwnorton.com/pob/pobhome.htm

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