The Mauritius Command (Aubrey/Maturin Series, Book 4) (Aubrey & Maturin series)

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Kindle Edition Verified Purchase. Stephen is more introverted, eccentric and obsessive, a widely-read intellectual and a loner prone to murky moods. This review will serve for all the books. As in all series, a structural pattern emerges. On entering each story we'll find the pair on land yearning for an assignment, and the author skilfully paints their social, financial and practical ineptitudes off-water.

Then a ship is given them, accompanied by a mission, with Stephen usually charged with certain duties of Crown espionage. The ship, as it's shaped to Jack's sailing and fighting tastes, usually becomes one of the story's characters, whereby Jack always wants to take an enemy or privateer because therein lies his fortune: O'Brian has researched every aspect of Regency naval life including its conventions, politics, systems and flaws, and weaves his knowledge deftly into his plots. After some period traveloguing, there'll be a battle and a victory or a loss, propelling us into the next book.

The prose is always more than workmanlike, the suspense supple enough to keep you in. Characterisations are lively and vivid, if rarely passionate, though Jack, refreshingly, exhibits plenty. The tales don't quite rollick, but come close: Though English, his pseudonym is Irish, and he enjoys a little irony.

Where the books soar is when the ships sail. No one has written boats at sea better: He has no patience for ignorance, you have to keep up with the terminology, but there's a handy diagram of a ship as the frontispiece with every sail labelled. The sailing bits and the battles are exhilarating, founded in meticulous and engaging informative preparation within the narrative, and comprehensive elucidation about every pivotal character caught in the conflicts. The series is worth reading for the author's love of the sea, and his gift for rendering it incarnate with words and paper. Grab one of these books if you see one, they're grownup fun.

Jun 12, C. Every bit as good as the others. This time Aubrey is a temporary Commodore and in charge of a small squadron of ships. He must confront a skilled French enemy operating out of Mauritius. The enemy is attacking and capturing British ships upon cargo routes from India to Britain.

The islands of Mauritius are strategically placed to capture a wealth of British plunder. Bonaparte's Navy is making good use of the advantage. The Royal Navy is intent on eliminating this French advantage. What follows is some strategic confrontations. Battles, where advantages are won and, lost and then won again in an ever continuing cat and mouse adventure game upon the high seas.

Splendid action scenes throughout and wonderfully atmospheric. Mar 14, Wealhtheow rated it liked it Shelves: At the end of the H. The Muaritius Command begins with his bff Doctor Stephen Maturin visiting him and offering Jack an opportunity to go back to sea. Jack leaps at the chance, both to return to the profession he loves and to get away from his hectoring mother-in-law and lumpish twin infants. And even better than he'd expected--when Jack makes it to La Reunon, he finds that he will be commanding the naval action.

If he succeeds at the nearly impossible task of snatching Mauritius from the French, he might very well become an Admiral--but if he fails, his career will be over. Jack is outgunned and outmanned, and several of the captains under his command are almost worse than useless. But through his own determined hard work and strategy, and Stephen's sly propaganda on land, success appears almost within reach I missed Sophie and Diana, and there was less interaction between Stephen and Jack than previously.

But I was so glad to read about Stephen's depressed, almost viciously insightful thoughts on the people around him and his deeply mistaken ideas of what was going on with the navy and Jack's own terrible jokes and tireless, fearless action. What surprised me the most were Jack's own tact and tactical skills--all too often I fall back into the assumption that Stephen is the smart one, but truly the difference between them is the arenas in which they are gifted.

I love these books for being full of nail-biting adventure and suspense--and also brimming with psychological insight.


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In fact, I love these books so much that I'm starting the next book as soon as I finish this review! Dec 09, Ken-ichi rated it really liked it Shelves: Yes, yes, more galavanting on the high seas. Jack is commodore in a multi-ship campaign to seize Mauritius from the French. As with all these books so far, Jack has new command challenges, one of his subordinates is mysterious and troubling, and Stephen vacillates between urbane diplomacy, biological nerd out, and bitter invective. These books are truly more about the world and the characters than the plot, sort of like a video game.

In this book, the "plot" is essent Yes, yes, more galavanting on the high seas. In this book, the "plot" is essentially the military campaign, battle by battle, but O'Brian seems unconcerned with treating it as such, leaving climactic battles between chapters or in the hands of minor characters , and instead focusing on Jack wondering about his vegetable garden or Stephen wondering about Jack wondering about his vegetable garden.

In one scene Stephen is moving between ships, falls into the drink and nearly dies, but it gets only about a longish paragraph and has little to no lasting effect on anyone. Not that I'm complaining, it's just weird. Jul 02, Joshua Rigsby rated it really liked it Shelves: I love this entire series. I'm sold on it regardless what happens. I was a little surprised to see Aubrey in the position of Commodore so early relatively speaking, from my perspective in his career.

I guess, knowing how long the series is in total, I expected him to putter around as a post captain for a while before getting this kind of promotion. But, of course, O'Brian likely didn't know how long the series would be, and it's very likely that I'm ignorant about how these kinds of promotions I love this entire series. But, of course, O'Brian likely didn't know how long the series would be, and it's very likely that I'm ignorant about how these kinds of promotions—even temporary ones—come about.

The ships were a bit of a trick to keep apart, and the landscape was unfamiliar to me. But this only added to the pleasure of the book. What's not to love? Jul 27, Deb Oestreicher rated it it was amazing.

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Didn't want to put this one down. Lucky Jack Aubrey gets his first chance to act as commodore, tasked to overcome apparently superior Napoleonic defenders off the coast of Africa. Along the way, Aubrey has to manage a largely inferior group of commanders--one who's capable enough, but plagued by jealousy; another who torments his crew almost to the point of mutiny; and another whose stolidity is welcome, but whose lack of imagination threatens the mission.

Maturin, in his capacity Didn't want to put this one down. Maturin, in his capacity as ship's surgeon, accomplishes some astonishing medical derring-do; in his capacity as secret agent, helps turn the tide of the action against the French; in his capacity as observer of human nature finds himself surprised to be mistaken in his judgment of his friend Jack Aubrey; and in his capacity as naturalist, happily identifies scores of unusual birds, beetles, and other species around the island of Mauritius.

As I continue through this series, I am waiting for the installments to get worse--tired, repetitive, or simply dull, but that hasn't happened. I remain utterly and happily addicted to this terrific series. May 04, Betsy rated it liked it. Surprise at a used book store or a garage sale about three years ago and finally read it a couple weeks ago. Also nice to read what may have been happening on the other side of all that crossed correspondence that drives Austen's domestic plot I've recently discovered Patrick O'Brian--I had picked up H.

Also nice to read what may have been happening on the other side of all that crossed correspondence that drives Austen's domestic plots. I was a bit distracted by some errant misogynistic bits in this novel, though--granted, haven't read 1 or 2 yet, but I didn't feature Jack Aubrey as a character that would harbor such blatant disappointment over ahem, TWINS, even though they were girls.

Particularly when he can take the loss of all but two of his ships around chapter 8 with such equanimity. But perhaps I'm missing some characterization at this point--Stephen Maturin in particular is getting more complex. I'll give O'Brian at least three more novels to correct this before I give up on the boy's Jane Austen. Oct 22, Rob rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: Lovers of naval adventures and of historical fiction.

The Mauritius command excels in further character development by contrasting both Aubrey and Maturin with other captains and medical men in a small fleet commanded by Jack to take on the French. It's exciting, fast-paced, and a great read. A worthy successor to Post Captain and H. Jul 01, Lisa rated it it was amazing Recommended to Lisa by: I wasn't disappointed as it turned out to be as rollicking good fun as its predecessors, even if I still don't know my mizen from my masthead. Having married his sweetheart, Sophie, and settled in a long-dreamed for cottage, The Mauritius Command finds Jack Aubrey on land and on half pay.

His dreams didn't quite match reality, however, and the cottage is not only pokey but also contains his domineering mother-in-law and two hairless twins who, to make matters worse, aren't even boys. His cabbages are being munched by caterpillars, and even the bees that were Dr Maturin's gift have died not the bees! Thank heavens then, for the timely reappearance of Stephen and a set of secret orders to sail the frigate Boadicea to the Cape and onto Mauritius, where Jack is to harry the French while flying a Commodore's pendant.

A step-up in command brings its own problems, however, and Jack is soon striving for success while managing the difficult personalities of the Captains under him - the showy and insecure Clonfert, the capable but cruel Corbett who takes better care of his brass than his men, and Pym, the numpty whose incompetence nearly spells disaster - while Stephen spreads subversive literature and schools the crews in an early bit of Hearts and Minds - no thieving and raping, please, gentlemen!

Everything that I've come to love about this series is still present and correct - the fantastic characterisation, the astounding amounts of food that Jack puts away, the wonderful insights into life at sea and the throwaway asides that make me snort " Skilled surgeon, dedicated naturalist, super-spy, the man I'd most want on my side in an argument and an all round colossus of a character, Stephen has wormed his way into being my favourite character of all time, and made it look as easy as kiss my hand.

I was going to give this a four as its not even the best that I've read in this series so far, but sod it. I loved every minute of it so much, it's getting a five. Jun 29, Nelson rated it really liked it. Reluctantly, this is a shade less accomplished than the first three novels. It's still a far sight better than a lot of stuff going. The opening features something of a recap of the first three; I get the sense O'Brian was ready to stop at three, then decided to carry on.

The opening sums up the first three books nicely. Much of the human interest here attaches to a new character, Lord Clonfert, who is in a weird kind of competition with the growing legend of Aubrey.

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The Mauritius Command

Naturally much of this is lo Reluctantly, this is a shade less accomplished than the first three novels. Naturally much of this is lost on Jack, though Maturin is a close observer of it all. Perhaps because much of the material here follows rather closely on a campaign in the Indian Ocean, it feels a trifle less suspenseful than the previous books. Aubrey develops nicely here, growing into command in a very fine way. All of the previous attractions in the series are here--the drama has less to do with the internal lives of the two main characters apart from some funny domestic stuff in the opening chapters than with the situation they find themselves in.

In the previous novels, the suspense of the plot was linked to the developing characters. This is truly a minor complaint--it's a bloody good read. It only pales in comparison with the opening three novels, which are extremely good. Changed my mind about this. An evolving theory about O'Brian.

Having formed his two chief characters in the first novels, he works variations on them in the foils they encounter in subsequent entries in the series. And on reflection, it now seems clear that the dissipated doctor MacAdam and his captain, Lord Clonfert, are distorted images of what Aubrey and Maturin might have been, in other, less fortunate circumstances. It will be interesting to see if this theory holds for all the later entries in the series. In any case, I think I was a star short before.

Jul 17, Thomas rated it it was amazing Shelves: Excellent like well all I've said about the series before.


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I particularly like the expansion of scope from purely naval actions to the complexities of an invasion. Upgraded from 4 stars to 5. Still amazing, this time though I find myself drawn much more to the personal narrative then the grand action set pieces. Especially Stephen Maturian, towards the end when he asks McAdam, fellow physician much given to maladies of the mind, about his own state: After a long pause he said, "M Excellent like well all I've said about the series before.

Maturin is described as a small, quiet, "ugly" man who is known to cast a "dangerous, pale, reptilian eye" towards his enemies. Unlike his action-oriented friend, Maturin is very well educated with several intellectual pursuits.

Aubrey–Maturin series

He is passionately fascinated by the natural world, and takes every opportunity to explore the native wildlife of his ships' ports of call around the world. He is also deeply introspective, and frequently muses on philosophical concepts of identity and self-understanding in his ciphered personal journal. He uses several addictive substances, including laudanum and coca leaves, arising from scientific curiosity, control of his reactions to physical problems, and substance dependence. He has the values of a gentleman of the era, including a strong sense of honour and involvement in duels.

The latter led him to develop a strong skill with pistols and duelling by swords. Maturin's various professional roles and personal interests allow the series to leave the sea and explore different aspects of the political and social order during the Napoleonic Era. On the surface, the two main characters have little in common. As O'Brian wrote in The Ionian Mission , "Although they were almost as unlike as men could be, unlike in nationality, religion, education, size, shape, profession, habit of mind, they were united in a deep love for music, and many and many an evening had they played together, violin answering cello or both singing together far into the night.

They also share a delight in puns and dry witticisms, and particularly memorable wordplay is sometimes repeated in subsequent novels in the series, years later in book-time. He was blaming his particular friend for romantic notions the other day - the friend who is to marry the daughter of that woman we saw just now - and if I had not been so shocked by his condition, I should have been tempted to laugh.

He is himself a perfect Quixote: And now Catalan independence. Or perhaps I should say, Catalan independence from the beginning, simultaneously with the others. But always heart and soul, blood and purse in some cause from which he can derive no conceivable personal benefit. Despite their many differences, the pair are invaluable and indispensable companions throughout many years of adventure and danger.

The stories are primarily told in third person from the points of view of the two main characters, Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin. The author sometimes employs a form of first person voice when his characters write in private journals or letters about events that are not otherwise described.

The narrative point of view strays from the two main characters only briefly and seldom over the course of the series. One example is the opening scene of The Hundred Days , in which a gossipy conversation between anonymous sailors imparts important news and information about the main characters.

Patrick O'Brian once wrote "Obviously, I have lived very much out of the world: I know little of present-day Dublin or London or Paris, even less of post-modernity, post-structuralism, hard rock or rap, and I cannot write with much conviction about the contemporary scene. In addition to the period language, O'Brian is adept at using naval jargon with little or no translation for the "lubberly" reader. The combination of the historical-voice narration and naval terms may seem daunting at first to some readers; but most note that after a short while a "total immersion" effect results.

This was especially common early in the series, when Maturin was still new to the Royal Navy. In the first of the series, during a tour of the rigging, Maturin asked his tourguide if he "could not explain this maze of ropes and wood and canvas without using sea-terms" and the reply came "No, for it is by those names alone that they are known, in nearly every case" [15]. Also, O'Brian often addresses the historical events and themes within his books indirectly, allowing a fuller immersion for his readers without flaunting his historical understanding unlike other similar nautical authors.

O'Brian's bone-dry and cutting wit is present throughout all his novels. At times, however, O'Brian will spend a considerable portion of a volume setting up comical sequences - for example, Jack's use of rum in the "debauchery" of Maturin's pet sloth in HMS Surprise or Jack's assertion to William Babbington, while discussing nautical terminology, that "Sheep ain't poetical", supporting his statement by saying: Would not have been poetry at all, had he said sheep.

Aubrey–Maturin series - Wikipedia

Drunk animals are a common motif through the series; for instance the following conversation between Jack and Stephen in Post Captain: It had a can of ale at every pot-house on the road, and is reeling drunk. It has been offering itself to Babbington. Puns - often "bad" on the part of Jack - are also common throughout the novels, much to the chagrin of Stephen Maturin. Jack takes a special, perhaps overzealous, interest in nautical puns.

For example, Jack often repeats one of Stephen's spur-of-the-moment puns regarding dog-watches. At a dinner, replying to a lubber's question on the term 'dog-watch' Post Captain , Chapter 12 , Stephen suggests it is "because they are curtailed, of course" "Cur Tailed", "cur" meaning "dog" , and like other puns, Aubrey repeats the witticism as often as occasion allows.

The use of humor contrasts the two central characters. Aubrey is direct and forthright while Stephen is subtle and cunning, mirroring the overall personality of each man, especially regarding warfare tactics ships, cannons and swords compared to intelligence gathering. O'Brian has Aubrey speaking many proverbs, [25] but usually in mangled form, such as "There's a great deal to be said for making hay while the iron is hot" from Treason's Harbour and similarly in Desolation Island.