"The finest writer of sea-stories in the English language."J. de Courcy Ireland All Patrick O'Brian's strengths are on parade in this novel of action and intrigue, set partly in Malta, partly in the treacherous, pirate-infested waters of the Red Sea. While Captain Aubrey worries about repairs to his ship, Stephen Maturin assumes the center stage for the dockyards and salons of Malta are alive with Napoleon's agents, and the admiralty's intelligence network is compromised. Maturin's cunning is the sole bulwark against sabotage of Aubrey's daring mission.
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.
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
O'Brian's narrative...provides endlessly varying shocks and surprises—comic, grim, farcical and tragic. An essential of the truly gripping book for the narrative addict is the creation of a whole, solidly living world for the imagination to inhabit, and O'Brian does this with prodigal specificity and generosity.
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.
Treason's Harbour 4.1 out of 5based on
More than 1 year ago
The ionian mission and treason's harbour make a great continuation of the aubrey-maturin series!
TadAD on LibraryThing
24 days ago
I enjoyed this, but I also have to say that I¿m having doubts. The pleasure of a roman fleuve is that each episode is a self-contained little yarn, while the larger life story of the characters ties the books together. O¿Brian¿s books followed that principle through the earlier volumes. However, of late, they haven¿t. The subplots—Wray¿s actions, Stephen and Diana¿s marriage, Jack¿s financial troubles—carry on from book to book, not as little background stories, but as major plot elements that do not get resolved.I enjoyed this book, but not because it moved the story along. It wasn¿t even that it was full of action, for, even by O¿Brian¿s slender standards, there was little in this episode. I enjoyed it simply because I love O¿Brian¿s language, because his dry sense of humor appeals to me greatly, and because the characters are old friends. But, I¿d really rather have more.
Othemts on LibraryThing
24 days ago
Summary/Review: The nautical adventures of Aubrey and Maturin continue. This is an average story that includes some interesting spying intrigue, Stephen Maturin in a diving bell, a mission to Egypt, and a blessedly complete absence of Diana Villiers. Other than that it's a bit bland and feels like it's there to connect to the next novel more than anything else.
JBD1 on LibraryThing
27 days ago
Another rollicking adventure of Captain Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin, with espionage at the forefront as Maturin tries to foil the efforts of French agents in Malta. More good nautical storytelling from O'Brian.
rameau on LibraryThing
27 days ago
Great return to form after the doldrums of The Ionian Mission. Two bits that I love: "the city of Valetta was as cheerful as though it were fortunate in love or as though it had suddenly heard good news." And Captain Aubrey looking through the stern-window: "This was a sight that never failed to move him: the noble curve of shining panes, wholly unlike any landborne window, and then the sea in some one of its infinity of aspects; and the whole in silence, entirely to himself. If he spent the rest of his life on half-pay in a debtors' prison he would still have had this, he reflected, eating the last of the Cephalonian cheese; and it was something over and above any reward he could have possibly contracted for." Quibble: I think Stephen should have figured out the double agent pretty quickly.
tjsjohanna on LibraryThing
27 days ago
Another cliff hanger and this novel has a bit more tension than normal as the intelligence game heats up and the reader knows more than Stephen does. Mr. O'Brian flings his men into the Red Sea (and through a bit of desert along the way) which makes for a change of scenery.
wispywillow on LibraryThing
27 days ago
Love this one :D The dog in the cistern scene is classic, lol!
jsmick on LibraryThing
5 months ago
This was one of the best books of the series so far. More humor than most and a fascinating plot that takes A&M to the exotic Suez. Also an interesting spy sub-plot. Worth re-reading once the series is complete.
A penetrating and powerful novel about the deep undercurrents of love and regret in one
Midwestern family.In 1939, Maggie Doud married Garfield Maguire. Now, fifty years on, she’s Margaret Maguire: a widow and a grandmother, unable to ignore the consequences ...
The inspiration for the major new motion picture starring Russell Crowe.The war of 1812 continues,
and Jack Aubrey sets course for Cape Horn on a mission after his own heart: intercepting a powerful American frigate outward bound to play havoc ...
A marvellously full-flavoured, engrossing book, which towers over its current rivals in the genre like
a three-decker over a ship's longboat.Times Literary SupplementCaptain Jack Aubrey, R. N., arrives in the Dutch East Indies to find himself appointed to the command ...
Fine stuff...[The Letter of Marque] leaves the devotee of naval fiction eager for sequels.Jonathan Yardley,
Washington Post Book WorldCaptain Jack Aubrey, a brilliant and experienced officer, has been struck off the list of post-captains for a crime he did not ...
“Relentlessly observant, miraculously expressive, these [stories] see through the mirrored surface into a hidden yet
strangely intimate world.” New York Times Book ReviewSet in a tiny Czech community on the shores of Lost Lake, these stories chronicle three generations of ...
Jack's assignment: to capture the Indian Ocean islands of Réunion and Mauritius from the French.
That campaign forms the narrative thread of this rollicking sea saga. But its substance is more beguiling still...Elizabeth Peer, NewsweekCaptain Jack Aubrey is ashore on ...
A tale of love and conquest, full of page-turning situations...worthy of a García Lorca drama
(San Francisco Chronicle).A historical novel about the conquistador Cortés and the Aztec princess Malintzín, by a stunning (New York Times Book Review) writer. Night of ...
An overwhelming, outstanding novel...!Irish TimesCaptain Jack Aubrey, R. N., ashore after a successful cruise, is
persuaded by a casual acquaintance to make certain investments in the City. This innocent decision ensnares him in the London criminal underground and in government ...