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Blue at the Mizzen. by Patrick O'Brian

Blue at the Mizzen. (original 1999; edition 2000)

by Patrick O'Brian

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1,781153,942 (4.1)38
Title:Blue at the Mizzen.
Authors:Patrick O'Brian
Info:Harpercollins (2000), Edition: New Ed, Taschenbuch
Collections:Your library
Tags:Irische Literatur, Roman, Aubrey-Maturin

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Blue at the Mizzen by Patrick O'Brian (1999)



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This series is long, but consistently satisfying. I can't point to any particular book and say this is a great one, but to have produced 20 good ones, with the same basic set of characters and to have done it with very few cheap or mawkish moments is an amazing feat. The natural expectation for these books is for them to be focussed on adventure, manly derring-do, and there is some of that. But at heart O'Brien's books are more "Jane Austen asea." Austen is an obvious and acknowledged influence--there is much concern for the nuances of human interaction, manners, and due consideration for our friends' failings. Great stuff. ( )
2 vote ehines | Aug 25, 2014 |
A mostly-satisfying end to the series, though if it had been written with that in mind, it might have been a little more successful. Oddly, the final chapter almost reads as if it had been written as the first chapter of a different book. ( )
  sben | Feb 11, 2014 |
THis is the last book in the series though Mr. O'Brian did start another book it was never completed and I hav little interest in reading the last volume.
This book had some slow spots and sme contrived plot scenerios, however overall it was not a bad last novel. The series held up pretty well though there were a few characters that seemed to disappear. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who likes rousing sea stories. ( )
  BobVTReader | Jul 12, 2012 |
I'm sorry to be at the end of the series - I have so enjoyed sharing the adventures of Stephen and Jack. I want to know if Stephen will make a happier second marriage. I want to know how Jack will do as an admiral and will he continue at sea where his innate gifts come to the fore. Even in this novel we have great examples of his tactical mind and his ability to act when action is called for. Mostly, these two men, though human, are likeable and honorable. It's been a pleasure to be part of their world. ( )
  tjsjohanna | Mar 13, 2012 |
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» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Patrick O'Brianprimary authorall editionscalculated
Hunt, GeoffCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tull, PatrickNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vance, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The Surprise, lying well out in the channel with Gibraltar half a mile away on her starboard quarter, lying at a single anchor with her head to the freshening north-west breeze, piped all hands at four bells in the afternoon watch; and at the cheerful sound her tender Ringle, detached once more on a private errand by Lord Keith, cheered with the utmost good will, while the Surprises turned out with a wonderful readiness, laughing, beaming and thumping one another on the back in spite of a strong promise of rain and a heavy sea running already.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 039332107X, Paperback)

Almost three decades after commencing his maritime epic with Master and Commander, Patrick O'Brian is still at it. The 20th episode, Blue at the Mizzen, is another swashbuckling adventure on the high seas, complete with romantic escapades from smoggy London to Sierra Leone, diplomacy, espionage, the intricacies of warfare, and imperial brinksmanship. As always, these events are bound up in the ongoing friendship between two officers of the Royal Navy. Jack Aubrey is the naval captain, bold yet compassionate, innovative yet cautious, as fearless in war as he is bumbling in affairs of the heart and household. His boon companion Stephen Maturin is the ship's surgeon--and additionally a spy for the British government, a wealthy Catalonian aristocrat, a doting Irish father, and an avid naturalist.

That may sound like a lot to keep track of. However, it's not necessary to carry around a scorecard or ship's roster while reading Blue at the Mizzen. The ostensible issue is whether Jack will finally be promoted to Admiral of the Blue. But long before he hears any word from the Napoleonic era's equivalent of Personnel, he loses half his crew to desertion, his ship undergoes a disastrous collision, and the entire company comes close to perishing in the ice-choked seas off Cape Horn. Meanwhile, the widowed Maturin issues a surprising proposal of marriage to a beautiful, mud-bespattered fellow naturalist while trekking through an African mangrove swamp. (The two lovebirds happen to be searching for a rare variant of Caprimulgus longipennis, the long-tailed nightjar, which they hope to surprise in full mating plumage.)

Still, this is hardly a plot-driven novel. O'Brian takes time to get anywhere, and invariably enjoys the journey more than the arrival. So even as we get constant hints of the climax to come--Jack's spectacular naval action on behalf of the infant Republic of Chile--we don't mind hearing about the nuances of shipboard existence or the secret life of the white-faced tree duck. We're treated, for example, to this snippet about managed care, circa 1816:

Poll, Maggie and a horse-leech from the starboard watch have been administering enemas to the many, many cases of gross surfeit that have now replaced the frostbites, torsions, and debility of the recent past, the very recent past. Strong, fresh, seal-meat has not its equal for upsetting the seaman's metabolism: he is much better kept on biscuits, Essex cheese, and a very little well-seethed salt pork--kept on short commons.
And we're grateful! We can only hope that the elderly author will favor us with at least one more novel, so that his avid followers can avoid their own form of short commons. Life without Aubrey and Maturin would be a deprivation indeed. --Andrew Himes

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:11 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

A Royal Navy warship is dispatched to the Pacific to help Chile fight for its independence from Spain. Twentieth volume in a series featuring Captain Jack Aubery and ship's doctor Stephen Maturin.

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W.W. Norton

2 editions of this book were published by W.W. Norton.

Editions: 039332107X, 0393048446

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