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Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » Master and Commander (book) » User review

Adventure, Friendship, Humor - M&C has it all

  • Oct 7, 2006
  • by
Rating:
+4
Oh my. Over two hundred reviews and not one obviously done by a person of the female persuasion. What gives? You would think this wasn't chic-lit. Okay, so maybe it isn't a book about traveling jeans and romance, but this is the beginning of a great series that has been described rather well by august reviewers much lower down in the ratings than I, so I won't drone on.

What I will note is that if you are a demon for detail there is about as much here as a soul could want. More importantly, the characters are interesting and thankfully flawed. How horrid it would have been to find yet another series where the main characters are stoically noble -- barf.

In this book people are a little overweight (okay 14 stone is nothing to sneeze at) and not particularly attractive and all the more likable for it. The dynamism between Aubrey (the Captain) and Maturin (the doctor) definitely works, and their friendship is at the center of the adventure.

And the only other thing I wanted to note is the humor. I am re-reading this book after a lapse of years and am pleasantly surprised to find humorous moments interspersed throughout. For example, there is a lovely scene where Aubrey is sitting down to dine with his guests and one of the courses is described thusly:

"They ate an acceptable turbot - acceptable after the flour-and-water paste had been scraped off him - and then the steward brought the ham. It was a ham that could only have come from a hog with a long-borne crippling disease, the sort of ham that is reserved for officers who buy their own provisions; and only a man versed in morbid anatomy could have carved it handsomely."

Five Stars. Well written adult tale with interesting characters. Contains adult themes and references - those sailors will get up to some mischief - but is in no way pandering.

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More Master and Commander (book) reviews
review by . October 14, 2008
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review by . October 07, 2010
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review by . February 20, 2007
C. S. Forester, Beat to Quarters.  Patrick O'Brian, Master and Commander  I've begun reading C. S. Forester's Horatio Hornblower novels for the fourth or fifth time and I'm enjoying them almost as much as the first time through. Last year, I read about half of Patrick O'Brian's stunning Aubrey-Maturin sea novels for a second time: they didn't lose a thing in the rereading, they're so good. Both authors knew their subject matter thoroughly -naval battle in the age of sail, the …
review by . February 20, 2007
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review by . July 20, 2006
I like history. I like details. I like a good story and good character developement. This work gave me each of these likes. The book is well written and just as importantly, well researched. The naval terms of the seventeen and eighteen hundreds can be rather daunting, but as the work progressed, and I bothered to actually research some of them, I found this novel to be a wealth of information. Those who are looking for a "bang, bang, shoot-em-up, fifty killings per page" should probably look elsewhere. …
review by . September 28, 2002
I first saw mention of this faux historical series by Patrick O'Brian in the Common Reader catalog. Faux historical? I guess that's what to call it. O'Brian is historically realistic while using entirely fictional main characters, who may meet and interact with real historical figures. This is different from novels such as Robert Graves' I, Claudius or the Alexander novels of Mary Renault. While O'Brian's characters may not have the basis that Graves' or Renault's do, I wonder if he perhaps is the …
review by . April 29, 2001
Fascinated by the hoopla surrounding Mr. O'Brian's wildly successful series and being a lover of historical fiction myself, I was drawn to this one. I first picked up and tried THE WINE DARK SEA, which is much later in the series. But I was a little put off by its very dry style and slow-moving pace. Still, I figured that with all the excitement about these books there must be more to them than I found in WINE. So I tried this one, MASTER AND COMMANDER, which is the first in the series and the beckoning …
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Pam Tee ()
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Member Since: Nov 24, 2008
Last Login: Oct 11, 2012 10:44 AM UTC
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Wiki

Since Patrick O'Brian launched his series of historical novels with Master and Commander in 1970, millions of readers have enjoyed the adventures of Captain Jack Aubrey and his friend, surgeon Stephen Maturin. O'Brian's prose, so immediate and yet so distinctly capturing the language and culture of the English navy in the first moments of the 19th century, rolls effortlessly off the tongue of actor Robert Hardy. Never for a second do we doubt that this is the way an English naval officer would have expressed himself in 1800, and that these are the sights, sounds, and emotions he encountered.
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Tags

Books, Historical Fiction, Patrick Obrian

Details

ISBN-10: 0393307050
ISBN-13: 978-0393307054
Author: Patrick O'Brian
Genre: Literature & Fiction
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
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