H.M.S. Surprise (Aubrey-Maturin Series #3)

H.M.S. Surprise (Aubrey-Maturin Series #3)

by Patrick O'Brian

Paperback(1st American Edition)

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393307610
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 05/28/1991
Series: Aubrey-Maturin Series , #3
Edition description: 1st American Edition
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 83,219
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.80(d)

About 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.

Date of Birth:

December 12, 1914

Date of Death:

January 2, 2000

Place of Birth:

Chalfont St. Peter, Buckinghamshire

Place of Death:

Dublin, Ireland


Shebbear College, Devon

What People are Saying About This

Robertson Davies

"A first-rate tale to see....I read it with absorbtion and satisfaction."

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.

A. S. Byatt

Gripping and vivid… a whole, solidly living world for the imagination to inhabit.

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.

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H.M.S. Surprise 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 29 reviews.
212toni More than 1 year ago
This series is irresistible -- even for someone who knows nothing about the sea. To my astonishment, I read every single book in this series and was really sad when it was over -- 19 or 20 volumes later! O'Brien was not in fact a sailor himself, but you would never know it. He never condescends to his readers, just accepts them as part of his compelling fictional world, and as a result, we find ourselves right there with him. There is a huge amount of technical information in these books, and the chances you will understand it all are close to nil -- but somehow, the author has you so involved that you get the general idea of how to sail a serious 18th century ship anyway. His only discernible weakness is his female characters -- luckily, they are never on stage for very long. His male characters, however, are fully realized, maturing gradually from book to book, so that we get a real feeling for the arcs of their lives. A ship at sea is a world unto itself, with its own rules, environment, and unique set of circumstances. O'Brien's books are bizarrely like excellent science fiction novels, transporting you to a fascinating and utterly convincing alien time and place that you could never experience on your own.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found this third entry in the Aubrey-Marturin Series much more enjoyable that the second, "Post Captain." I do like more "action" in books, and found this one more on the scale of "Master and Commander." I would give this advice to any who would choose to read this series, "Keep a good dictionary next to your reading table!" O'Brian seems to write with an assumption that all of his readers know naval nomenclature, not to mention Latin phrasiology. The love story between Aubrey and Sophie carries well, and Maturin's tragic character is believable, as well as intriguing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The third installment of the Arbury-Maturin series, but probably the best. Really get to know the characters. The story in India is great.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love reading this book. It has got something for everyone. There is plenty to learn about ship during the Napoleanic Wars. My favorite character is Diana. She is like a tomboy who lives in India and she dresses like she's from India too. Diana is not the type of woman who would sit around and drink tea. She more likely to go exploring in the Indian jungles. She doesn't even care about what the other women say. I also realy admire Sophie Williams because she puts up with this monster who claims to be her mother. Sophie is not afraid to break her mother's rules especially when her mother is being ridiculous. I am starting to think that Patrick O'Brian thought that men and women were to be treated as equals and that is why he portrays women that way.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The HMS Surprise is the best novel out of the Aubrey/Maturin series, by far! This book is packed with both scoial and seafaring drama, I had no inclination to put it down the entire time I was reading it. I highly recommend the series, though this book I must say is the best.
TadAD on LibraryThing 21 days ago
Another excellent volume in the Aubrey/Maturin series; I liked it even better than the first two. There's really not much to say¿if you're this far in, you know what to expect. About the only difference in this story from the previous is that Maturin is the trial to his friends this time, instead of Jack.I haven't decided whether I like Patrick Tull or Simon Vance better as narrator. I feel the former does a slightly better job of characters; the latter does a better job of pace on the story. I'll continue to give them both a try.
read.to.live on LibraryThing 22 days ago
I don't know if I will be able to put in words why I love this book. I enjoy spending time with the characters: they are larger than life, but accessible; human, drastically flawed, but honorable and good company. I find life at sea fascinating, all of it: the ocean, the storms, the navigation, the shipboard life, the ports of call, the little islands along the way. The battle scenes are fabulous, and the relationship between Aubrey and Maturin just makes me feel good about humankind. Some of my favorite scenes from this book: Stephen's last glimpse of Dil, her arms spread out like a kite; the albatross; Jack and Sophia; the battle with Linois; Stephen caught in the storm on the rock in the ocean. Side note. This was my first audiobook. I read the first two in the series with my eyeballs. This worked well: With Book 1 I spent a lot of time with the dictionary, and by Book 3 I understood enough of the vocabulary to be able to listen and follow all the action. This is a great book to "read" on your commute since you can pretend you are sailing over the glorious ocean and not crawling down the highway. Also, this book started very, very slowly, until they actually got on the Surprise, and if I hadn't been trapped in the car I might not have had the patience to get to the good stuff, which would have been a shame.Another side note. I occasionally wonder if this is the sort of life Captain Wentworth led in those years without Anne. Despite all the glory and grandeur, did he feel like Jack, that life lacked color without her waiting at home? Final side note. It's clear Stephen could never make Diana happy, so I think if he really loved her he wouldn't have asked her to marry him. The life he could give her would be suffocating to her, and because she truly likes him she would only feel bad about making him unhappy. They would have both been a lot better off if he could have settled for being her very good friend. But that is hard to pull off even in the modern world, maybe it would have been impossible then. Or maybe he was so obsessed with her it just never crossed his mind.
kcslade on LibraryThing 27 days ago
Another great Capt. Aubrey, Dr. Maturin novel.
tjsjohanna on LibraryThing 27 days ago
There is plenty of action in this third installment-sea battles, rescues, duels, deaths... How much I like Jack! He's staightforward, loyal, and courageous. And how much Stephen suffers in this novel. I have to hope for better fortune in the next book.
lucybrown on LibraryThing 27 days ago
This may well be my favorite of the series which is saying something since I love this series.
ASBiskey on LibraryThing 3 months ago
I really enjoy Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin series. I have read and enjoyed many of them. I continue to fear I will become jaded "They sailed, they fought, same old, same old". However, I continue to find this series, and this book in particular, some of the best reading I have ever done. There is the sailing and the fighting, which does not grow dull, no matter how much I read. The range of emotions expressed by the characters continues to amaze. The range of experiences and the reactions are so brilliantly concieved and described. HMS Surprise in particular, and the series in general, are treasures worth reading.
duhrer on LibraryThing 5 months ago
My friend Sean Boles and another online friend with whom I play chess got me interested in Patrick O'Brien's series of novels involving the characters Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin. Although I have to admit that I don't consume the Aubrey-Maturin novels as regularly or with the same gusto as other books and authors I follow, I enjoyed "Surprise" quite a bit, just as I enjoyed the previous two in the series ("Master and Command", and "Post-Captain").I will again avoid spoiling the work for anyone who hasn't read it by describing particular details. The serial nature of the work makes it especially important to encounter the events in sequence. Instead, I will focus on the qualities of the writing that I find particularly appealing.I won't presume to be able to do better justice to the period authenticity or O'Brien's ability to portray the seagoing life, many other reviewers have commented on this, included the afterward in the particular edition of "Surprise" I picked up, which was written by Charles Heston himself. (As an aside, I wonder about his other reading tastes, in particular whether he read "I am Legend" before being presented with the script of and agreeing to portray the lead role in "Omega Man").What I admire so much about the series is O'Brien's ability to start with truly excellent characters and to continually give us a more intimate understanding of their lives, their growth, their interactions with each other. He also has a fine sense of detail, narrative, pacing, and is on the whole a great writer in every sense.Reading this work, I can't help but think of "Moby Dick", "Middle Passage", and any number of sea-going works (sadly few of which I've read). The Aubrey-Maturin series is written for a relatively modern ear, making it easier to parse than Melville. However, far from diluting the spirit of the age he describes, O'Brien's writing is believably rooted in the time and culture he describes, and does not engage in obvious revisionism by inserting overly modern characters and situations.I look forward to continuing to read the series, and would love to hear from others who enjoy the series.
parelle on LibraryThing 5 months ago
My recomendation to anyone starting on the Patrick O'Brian series is simple: wait at least three books. If you're not willing to give a twenty book (and then some) epic a good chance, then you won't finish it anyway. It's a rule which has helped me time and again in introducing unsuspecting friends to the wonders of Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin. Even after reading the series, this is and remains my favorite Aubrey-Maturin book. It contains both highs and lows, some of the funniest moments, animal misadventures, and truly daring battles, but also the personal depth and emotion which defines this series and makes it greater than simply 'naval fiction'.
ursula on LibraryThing 6 months ago
The third entry in the Aubrey-Maturin series. This one finds the HMS Surprise on a run to India and back, crossing paths with a French fleet and an equally dangerous contender, Diana Villiers. I really enjoyed this book, and it had some of the funniest Jack/Stephen moments I've yet read.
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