Post Captain (Aubrey-Maturin Series #2)

Post Captain (Aubrey-Maturin Series #2)

by Patrick O'Brian

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"Master and Commander raised almost dangerously high expectations, Post Captain triumphantly surpasses them...a brilliant book." —Mary Renault

"We've beat them before and we'll beat them again." In 1803 Napoleon smashes the Peace of Amiens, and Captain Jack Aubrey, R. N., taking refuge in France from his creditors, is interned. He escapes from France, from debtors' prison, and from a possible mutiny, and pursues his quarry straight into the mouth of a French-held harbor.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393059939
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 12/05/2011
Series: Aubrey-Maturin Series , #2
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 528
Sales rank: 38,656
File size: 1 MB

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

Iris Murdoch

"Aubrey and Maturin compose one of the those complex and fascinating pairs of characters which have inspired thrilling stories of all kinds since the 'Iliad'." -- Iris Murdoch and John Bayley

Mary Renault

Master and Commander raised almost dangerously high expectations… Post Captain triumphantly surpasses them… a brilliant book.

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.

Iris Murdoch and John Bayley

Aubrey and Maturin compose one of those complex and fascinating pairs of characters which have inspired thrilling stories of all kinds since the Iliad.

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.

Customer Reviews

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Post Captain 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 45 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the second of the O'Brian books that I have purchased. I am now on my fourth or fifth of the series.They are a good read, action interlaced with a good deal of naval and natural history. Caution must be exercised since this series is addictive.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Post Captian is one of O'Brian's greatest books. I had to tear myself away from it last Sunday, so I could go to bed. It has something for everyone from action to friendship to romance. However, I do think the government of England has been a bit unfair to Jack. I mean they are making him pay even thousand pounds for the late Sophie and he was doing everything he could to keep it out of enemy hands. Now, I certainly hope no one makes him pay for what happened to the Polychrest. For one thing, that was not a very good ship, and for another, he ahd managed to take the Faciulla as a prize. I hope I get the chance to read more of the Aubrey Maturin Novels for school.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This, the second installment in the Aubrey-Maturin series, delves deeper into its main charcters' attributes and personal lives. As ever, O'Brian brings his literary protagonists to life with a zeal that does not diminish the novel's historical accuracy in any manner. You learn to love Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin again, and grow to hate others. And though I am no fan of romance in novels, I developed such sympathy for O'Brian's people that I could not look away from the print; an excellent turn on Mr. O'Brian's part, indeed.
prof_steve More than 1 year ago
More relationship and not as much seamanship as I was expecting but it does a good job at fleshing out the characters in this series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Book 2 in the Aubrey/Maturin series, Post Captain, takes a dramatic turn veering sharply from the highly-technical and action-packed tone in Master & Commander. If you are expecting something very similar to Book 1, you won't find it, as this book delves deeply into the character and motivations of these characters when they are not at sea in a dramatic fashion. O'Brian's strength is in his technical writing, his historical accuracy, and in his ability to convey the action of a ship-to-ship battle. His weakness is in his writing of female characters who come off as unidimensional, particularly in Post Captain. Book 2 demonstrates very little of his strengths and very much of his weaknesses, though it should be read to put context to the rest of the series which is better written, more engaging, and definitely worth reading through Book 2 to get to.
TadAD on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This second book in the series doesn't move along as quickly as Master and Commander did. That might be due to the fact that much of the events occur on land, setting up the relationships between the two men and Sophia and Diana. Clearly these will be important characters in future volumes and, therefore, it was necessary to do so. However, the lack of naval action, particularly in the first part of the book, did slow things down a bit as a result...not to the point of dragging, but noticeable.Still, I definitely enjoyed it and will return for H. M. S. Surprise. As with the first book in the series, they are beautifully written. I particularly like the fact that O'Brian does not dumb down the naval terminology as some other Hornblower-esque series have done; if you don't know what a stud sail is or what made a frigate a frigate in the 18th century, then he leaves it to you to find out.Though only two books into this series so far, these are definitely on my Recommend list.
tjsjohanna on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Jack finds his fortunes reversed in this second installment. A good portion takes place on land, as Jack tries to avoid debtor prison, imprisonment in France, and a permanent place on land. The relationship between Stephen and Jack continues to deepen. This novel is a good example of the strains that women can put on the friendship between two men. Some interesting battles and insight into the delicacy of feeling among the men on a ship.
MrsLee on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Jack Aubrey would like to be promoted to Post Captain in HMS. Sadly, due to the lack of war and ships, even if he were promoted, there would be no ship for him to command. So this book finds him on land a lot. His friend, Stephen Maturin is with him for the most part, though missing at times without an altogether good explanation of his whereabouts.Happily, thanks to Napoleon, these two do manage to get on some ships; that is where they are at their best in my opinion. The joy of watching their friendship weather storms worse than nature is very prominent here. I love the very subtle humour throughout. I could have done without the women, and wonder if Mr. O'Brian does a better job with women characters in later books. That being said, I think he wrote them well as characters, I just didn't think much of them. Not good enough for our boys.The writing style can be very choppy. The author flat out tells you he is going to use a Deus ex machina to accomplish the story, so you can't really complain about that. I am rather fond of happy endings, anyway. I do wish there were a translation of the French, Latin and Spanish phrases, even if you don't need it to understand the story.
pwoodford on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I¿ll offer a single review of the late Patrick O¿Brian¿s twenty Aubrey/Maturin novels. I¿ve never read another series of novels so consistently excellent. These sweeping yet personally engaging stories of the British Royal Navy of the early 19th Century are about war, espionage, exploration, politics, treason, science, medicine, great and ordinary men and women, friendship, morality . . . the grand themes of yesterday, today, and tomorrow. I¿ve read the entire series four times. My Christmas present to myself this year was to replace the few remaining paperbacks in my collection with hardbacks, and once they arrive I¿ll start reading the series again, in order. Every time I re-read these books I discover they¿re not only as good as I remembered, they¿re better.
rameau on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
One of my favorite in the series, with Aubrey broke and without a ship. When he does get a ship, it is the recalcitrant Polychrest, a failed experiment. O'Brian was pretty gutsy to take on Austen on her own turf. Also having read this immediately after Emma, Austen seems to be the more "contemporary" author because being of that time, she doesn't have to do any work to evoke it.
benbulben on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
If you fathom deeper, darker characterization then Post Captain arrives post-haste. This is the 2nd in the Aubrey/Maturin series and sees the maturation of Jack Aubrey from a Master and Commander to a Post Captain. A time of peace is a time for new trials for Jack and Stephen. Consistent with each man¿s nature, they handle the new trials quite differently.`You hunt; and your chase has a beast in view.¿ Everyone has their own beast they are chasing. Maturin is endlessly obsessed with Diana. He analyzes each step of the chase. Aubrey stumbles into his love for Sophia. He is keen on the chase but, like his fox hunting skills, he is unable to facilitate the relationship to the next level. Diana is a strong willed individual who betters Sophia at every turn. Sophia is kind of a namby pamby girl.The same can be seen in each man¿s chosen profession. While working for naval intelligence, Maturin is content to live in the current world situation while trying to effect changes. He ultimately seeks independence for Ireland but sees France as the bigger enemy. As a officer in the Royal Navy, Aubrey holds fast to its traditions, but yet has the where with all and skill to make changes when necessary. This extends from the basics such as how to fight battles to the more complex notion of how to be an effective leader of men. In Post Captain, Aubrey begins to make the distinction of treating his men as human beings rather than as dehumanized creatures who can only work the ship under direct supervision and under the threat of harsh treatment or brutal punishment.Quaere: What kind of changes will fall Aubrey and Maturin in the coming books. Does Jack¿s career in the navy have an adverse affect or is it beneficial to his relationship with Sophia? Does the constant state of war between Britain and the rest of the world have an influence on the characters å la War and Peace? Or is it negligible as we move from battle to battle.
tintinintibet on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I've been surprised at how compelling these books are -- the writing is certainly not contemporary, the detail of naval warfare unfamiliar and at times confusing, the dialogue even more difficult given the colloquialisms often in use, and I've read less fiction than I used to in recent years -- but nonetheless, I read 80 pages a night of this slightly unapproachable period-piece historical fiction and can't help but finish the book once I start. Same thing happened with the first book in the series. I shave a star off because I figure that there are 20 some odd books in the series and we can't start with marks that are TOO high. There's got to be room for improvement.....right?
denmoir on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An excellent follow-up to the first adventure in which the epithet "Lucky Jack Aubrey" begins to turn ironic and love interests are introduced for the two heros.
Napoleonicus on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
There are many writers who have tried their hand at the historical novel. Some have achieved a certain amount of success, but few have succeeded on the scale of the likes of Patrick O¿Brian, whose star has not faded one bit since his passing 11 years ago. Perhaps that is attributable to the fact that there are few names that are so intimately linked to fiction set in the glorious age of sail. C.S. Forester and Alexander Kent are probably the only real competitors to the title of the most famous chronicler of the Royal Navy of the 19th century.Apart stands this one novel. Post Captain is the second novel in O¿Brian¿s Aubrey-Maturin series. It follows the adventures of Jack Aubrey, a dashing young master and commander and Stephen Maturin, his best friend and ship¿s surgeon. Here we follow the pair as they make their way into both career and social advancement, with special attention to the latter.As the peace of 1802 with Napoleon smoothes out the tensions between England and France, the number of ships necessary to the Royal Navy begins a period of decline and the commands are being awarded to the seniormost officers. Our hero, having only been promoted as ship¿s commander the year before, he finds himself one of the many commanders without a ship.As he takes vacation in rural England and awaits news from his prize agent, the man who handles the sale of the captured ships, he makes the acquaintance of the Williams family and their daughters, of whom Sophie captures his heart. He soon learns that the prize agent had fled to Bordeaux, leaving nothing behind him and that he found himself penniless and unable to settle his affairs on land and in a hefty debt.The novel explores in detail the intricate inner workings of social interaction in 19th century English society as Captain Aubrey tries to secure a command and make good on his promises to Sophie, while dodging his debtors. Stephen Maturin on the other hand tries his best to juggle between a love interest of his own and the underworld of political intrigue and espionage into which the admiralty has dragged him.This novel takes place more on land than at sea, and certainly has a different pacing than its predecessor, Master and Commander. That is not to say that there is not plenty of seagoing adventure to be had and enjoyed, but simply that the emphasis here has been put more on the development of the social status of the protagonists. It has earned Post Captain a well deserved reputation of being Patrick O¿Brian¿s homage to Jane Austen.
inklingsfan47 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I finished this over the summer so a review would be very much lacking at this point, but I'll give my two cents anyway because this is one of my favorite books in the history of Ever. Firstly, and this is true of all of O'Brian's novels -- the realism of his work is entirely astounding. Never before I have felt so 'near to the action', you could say, than when I'm thrown into one of Jack's insane and risky battles. ( Though I must say, the moments of Stephen/Diana interaction are equally terrifying. :P ) Second, the characters could not possibly be more fun to read about. Seriously. The conflicts are incredible and usually quite humorous, like their adventures. Their outrageous, crazy adventures. See, I should never have done this because now I'm just babbling like a little child in a candy shop. The last thing I wanted to mention -- and then I need to stop, for everyones' sake -- is that O'Brian is one of the wisest writers I have ever read from, and despite the crazy and fun nature of the books, there is much, much more to them then an irresistible knack for adventure. [ This review was brought to you by too much of a fangirl, with lots of excited facial expressions at the screen and with lots of love. Mostly love. ]
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Read house of horrors last post in first res.
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PainFrame More than 1 year ago
Can you create a unicorn by longing?  Book two of the Aubrey/Maturin series. I have a feeling this series will stand up forever. It’s just so well done, from the research, to the authenticity, to the classiness of the writing itself. It’s charming and beautiful and a hell of a pleasure to read. The relationship between Jack and Stephen is still my favorite thing and continues to delight me. This is a wonderful series, O’Brian has recreated a real living and breathing world and I’m reading it slow because I don’t want it to end.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book continues the story of Aubrey and Maturin and even surpasses its predecessor with rollicking action, engrossing backstory, more humor, and an exquisiteness of detail that convinces me that O'Brian must have lived through all this in a previous life and is writing what he remembers. There is no filler in this book -- something happens on every page.
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