Master and Commander (Aubrey-Maturin Series #1)

Master and Commander (Aubrey-Maturin Series #1)

4.2 105
by Patrick O'Brian, Simon Vance
     
 

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This, the first in the splendid series of Jack Aubrey novels, establishes the friendship between Captain Aubrey, Royal Navy, and Stephen Maturin, ship's surgeon and intelligence agent, against the thrilling backdrop of the Napoleonic wars. Details of life aboard a man-of-war in Nelson's navy are faultlessly rendered: the conversational idiom of the officers in… See more details below

Overview

This, the first in the splendid series of Jack Aubrey novels, establishes the friendship between Captain Aubrey, Royal Navy, and Stephen Maturin, ship's surgeon and intelligence agent, against the thrilling backdrop of the Napoleonic wars. Details of life aboard a man-of-war in Nelson's navy are faultlessly rendered: the conversational idiom of the officers in the ward room and the men on the lower deck, the food, the floggings, the mysteries of the wind and the rigging, and the road of broadsides as the great ships close in battle.

Editorial Reviews

New York Times
The best historical novels ever written.
Observer
Patrick O’Brian can put a spark of character into the sawdust of time.
Sir Francis Chichester
The best sea story I have ever read.
Library Journal
These two selections represent a series of abridged audiobook versions of O'Brian's works narrated by Robert Hardy, that most blustery and unstudied of British actors. Hardy reads the stories cold, but here it works. He uses his voice to evoke everything from brutality to mannered drawing-room excesses to the physical threat of a storm at sea. The stories are superb depictions of life on a British man-of-war and incorporate O'Brian's exquisitely accurate historical detail (Testimonies, Audio Reviews, LJ 7/96). The friendship of protagonists Capt. Jack Aubrey and ship's surgeon Stephen Maturin plays out against an expanse of ocean, from India to the Atlantic, with a full complement of battles and adventures at sea for devotees of naval fiction. Highly recommended.--Mark Pumphrey, Polk Cty. P.L., Columbus, NC
Time
“If Jane Austen had written rousing sea yarns, she would have produced something very close to the prose of Patrick O'Brian.”
People
“You're in for a wonderful voyage.”
A. S. Byatt
“Gripping and vivid… a whole, solidly living world for the imagination to inhabit.”
Washington Post
The Aubrey-Maturin series… far beyond any episodic chronicle, ebbs and flows with the timeless tide of character and the human heart.— Ken Ringle
Los Angeles Times
“It has been said that this series is some of the finest historical fiction of our time . . . . Aubrey and Maturin have been described as better than Holmes and Watson, the equal of Quixote and Panza . . . . All this is true.
And the marvel is, it hardly says enough.”
Chicago Sun-Times
There is not a writer alive whose work I value over his.— Stephen Becker
The New Yorker
“They're funny, they're exciting, they're informative. There are legions of us who gladly ship out time and time again under Captain Aubrey.”
New Republic
Patrick O’Brian is unquestionably the Homer of the Napoleonic wars.
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
Irish Times
Some of you...have never read a Patrick O'Brian novel. I beseech you to start now. Start with Master and Commander, which should be available in paperback from your nearest bookseller. And if he—or she—does not have a copy, then beat the wretched fellow.— Kevin Myers
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.— Richard Snow
Los Angeles Times Book Review
“O'Brian is a novelist, pure and simple, one of the best we have.”
Slate
I devoured Patrick O’Brian’s 20-volume masterpiece as if it had been so many tots of Jamaica grog.— Christopher Hitchens
Stephen Becker
“Certain authors we read because they enlarge us, because they offer experience, wisdom, beauty of language, a sense of fate and the only defense, a sense of humor…To compare Patrick O'Brian with 'writers of sea stories' is to compare Proust to the 'Orchard Fancier's Quarterly'. O'Brian is literature. I am one of your surly pragmatical polyglot landlubbers, and I read him and reread him with awe and gratitude. His Aubrey-Maturin volumes are in effect one great book, and if I could keep only a half a dozen contemporary writers, O'Brian would be one of them.”
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.”
Martin Levin - New York Times Book Review
“Re-creates with delightful subtlety, the flavor of life aboard a midget British man-of-war plying the western Mediterranean in the year 1800, a year of indecisive naval skirmishes with France and Spain. Even for a reader not especially interested in matters nautical, the author's easy command of the philosophical, political, sensual and social temper of the times flavors a rich entertainment.”
Kevin Myers - Irish Times
“Some of you...have never read a Patrick O'Brian novel. I beseech you to start now. Start with Master and Commander, which should be available in paperback from your nearest bookseller. And if he—or she—does not have a copy, then beat the wretched fellow.”
Richard Snow - New York Times Book Review
“The best historical novels ever written.”
John Bayley - New York Review of Books
“A world of enchanting fictional surfaces.”
Donald Graham - Wall Street Journal
“If there were seventeen more novels, I'd start today.”
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.”
Ken Ringle - Washington Post
“The Aubrey-Maturin series… far beyond any episodic chronicle, ebbs and flows with the timeless tide of character and the human heart.”
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.”
Terry Teachout - New York Times Book Review
“Taken as a whole, the Aubrey-Maturin novels are by a long shot the best things of their kind…they are uniquely excellent.”
Katherine A. Powers - Atlantic Monthly
“One does not get many pages into the Aubrey-Maturin sequence before falling under the spell of O'Brian's prose, which is…elegantly paced, quietly witty.”
Cutler Durkee - People
“[The series shows] a joy in language that jumps from every page…you're in for a wonderful voyage.”

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780786127634
Publisher:
Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Publication date:
03/28/2004
Series:
Aubrey-Maturin Series, #1
Edition description:
Unabridged, 10 Cass 13 hrs. 30 min.
Product dimensions:
4.40(w) x 6.20(h) x 2.60(d)

Meet the Author

In addition to twenty volumes in the highly respected Aubrey/Maturin series, Patrick O'Brian's many books include Testimonies, The Golden Ocean, and The Unknown Shore. O'Brian also wrote acclaimed biographies of Pablo Picasso and Sir Joseph Banks and translated many works from the French, among them the novels and memoirs of Simone de Beauvoir and Jean Lacouture's biographies of Charles de Gaulle. He passed away in January 2000 at the age of 85.

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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