Aubrey,Maturin and O'Brian

Discussion in 'The Book Club' started by bigeye, May 29, 2012.

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  1. A very sad day indeed...

    I've just started the 21st Novel in the Aubrey/Maturin series by Patrick O'Brian.
    As fellow devotees will no doubt be aware, this final novel was never finished, as very sadly the great man died whilst the book was in it's early stages.

    Having read the whole series more or less 'back to back' (my work often involves a lot of heel kicking) I've become totally immersed in the world that this exact and prolific author has created. Thus It will be with real sadness that I'll put down the final chapter - covering in part Jack Aubrey's ascension to the coveted right to fly the 'Blue at the mizzen' - and take my leave of one of the most succesful partnerships in English literature -that of Dr Stephen Maturin FRS, Rear Admiral Sir John Aubrey,RN and Patrick O'Brian.

    Years ago, at a fairly smart lunch party, I sat next to a charming lady of advancing years who had been a friend of Patrick O'Brian. In response to my question 'What was he like..?' She simply replied: ' well, you've read his 'autobiography'...He is Maturin'
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  2. Well, now you need to read the biography by his step-son, Nikolai Tolstoy. I only have the first part (indeed, I'm not sure if part 2 has actually appeared), but it's a fascinating story. It may well be out of print but Abebooks is your friend.
  3. The best is yet to come. When you start again at the begining you'll find them even more satisfying. I'm just glad that I was a late-comer too and didn't have to wait for each instalment to come out.
  4. I also am a fan of these books - over the years they have been a constant companion. You can go back and read them again without fear of them going stale - there is always something new, some subtlety or nuance that you missed before. Worthwhile reading some of his others and anything on the life of Cochrane (the real Jack Aubrey) is informative, then there are all the books about the books, maps etc you can get. Be warned - it can take over your life and any other book seems to pale into comparison!
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  5. I'm about half-way through The Thirteen-Gun Salute and am worried to see the end is approaching. I've always resisted the urge to read them back-to-back, rationing myself to about three a year so as to make them last. I've enjoyed some more than others - The Mauritius Command wasn't the best, I have to say - but (spoiler warning) the pursuit of the Leopard through the roaring forties by the Waakzaamheid and the chaos of the near-shipwreck in Desolation Island are amongst the greatest pieces of descriptive writing I've ever read. Who could ever forget: 'My God, oh my God. Six hundred men.'
  6. An absolutely superb canon of books. His writing and knowledge of 18th/19th Century naval warfare are amazing and enough to captivate a land-lubber like me who has zero interest in naval stuff.

    I also like his habit of throwing in bizarre nautical technical terms and then explaining them a long time later - sometimes in the next book.
  7. Absoutely amazing series of books! Sadly I'm only on book 11, The Reverse of the Medal, and so haven't experience the whole collection yet but that doesn't stop them being a thing of pure literary genius.
  8. TheIronDuke

    TheIronDuke LE Book Reviewer

    I think I was three books in before I found out what a Best Bower was.

    I'd agree with everyone who has said they bear reading again. First time round I was mostly gripped by the story and shot through the book. Missed loads of detail as a result. Now £4.49 on Amazon for Kindle. Master and Commander: Aubrey/Maturin series, book 1 eBook: Patrick O'Brian: Kindle Store
  9. I have one or two 'old school' O'Brian paper books but also the whole lot on kindle. After reading the first book I googled 19th Century British Navy and tried to ingest as much knowlegde about rigging, sails and types of vessels etc. However portraying Maturin as a land lubber does allow O'Brian to eventually explain some of the Naval terms through the medium of lectures by Aubrey... Normally proceeded by Jack saying '...Why what a fellow you are Stephen, surely you recall...etc. etc.

    The olympics will provide a perfect opportunity to start the series again as hopefully I'll be doing fack all (whilst on trouble watch for the BBC) during the whole painful process.

    I probably won't remember a lot of his first works - early onset Alzheimers is not all bad.
  10. TheIronDuke

    TheIronDuke LE Book Reviewer

    Dunno. The joy of writers like O'Bran and George MacDonald Fraser is they hook you, and make you read stuff you would not normally read. An irritating mate of mine one stood with me on Bastille Day in Paris giving it "Oh, that is the navel version of the Super Entendard. You can tell by the smaller outer pods". And "Oh look, those tanky things are FFL. You can tell by the small decal on the front O/S wing". He was getting right on my ******* tits.

    So I bought him the first O'Brian book and inscribed it with "Welcome to your new addiction you shortarse ****".

    Now when we meet we bat on about new books we have discovered from the Maturin era. Thus I have less desire to twat the ****.
  11. Looks like I will have to try these again then.

    Read the first book awhile ago after a few recommendations and to be honest found it to be a bit boring and nothing much to get excited about.

    I was also reading Patrick Mercer at the time so maybe I was spoiled for choice.
  12. TheIronDuke

    TheIronDuke LE Book Reviewer

    Mercer is good. As is MacDonald Fraser, Patrick Cornwell and others. But they tend to be rip-roaring adventures. O'Brian is more slow-burn. More subtle.