Thursday, 28 March 2013

O’Brian, Patrick “Master & Commander”

O’Brian, Patrick “Master & Commander” - 1969

This does not seem like my usual read but a couple of years ago (even before the film was made), I really quite liked it, it reminded me a lot of my classical favourites like Jane Austen or George Eliot, possibly because it takes place during the same era but. A lot of action going on in the story and a lot of information about the Napoleonic wars and how life was for the "heroes of the sea". I loved the characters, especially friendship between the two main men. There are twenty books in this series and I wouldn't mind reading some more.

Regarding the movie, I did watch it once even though I disagreed from the beginning with the casting of Russell Crowe as Jack Aubrey, I never imagined him that way. Paul Bettany who played the surgeon would have been far better for that role.

From the back cover: "Set sail for the read of your life …

Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey-Maturin tales are widely acknowledged to be the greatest series of historical novels ever written.


Master and Commander is the first of Patrick O’Brian’s now famous Aubrey/Maturin novels, regarded by many as the greatest series of historical novels ever written. It establishes the friendship between Captain Jack Aubrey RN and Stephen Maturin, who becomes his secretive ship’s surgeon and an intelligence agent. It contains all the action and excitement which could possibly be hoped for in a historical novel, but it also displays the qualities which have put O’Brian far ahead of any of his competitors: his depiction of the detail of life aboard a Nelsonic man-of-war, of weapons, food, conversation and ambience, of the landscape and of the sea. O’Brian’s portrayal of each of these is faultless and the sense of period throughout is acute. His power of characterisation is above all masterly.


This brilliant historical novel marked the début of a writer who grew into one of our greatest novelists ever, the author of what Alan Judd, writing in the Sunday Times, has described as ‘the most significant extended story since Anthony Powell’s A Dance to the Music of Time’.
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