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The Commodore by Patrick O'Brian
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The Commodore (original 1994; edition 1997)

by Patrick O'Brian

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1,579124,624 (4.15)28
Member:dowd
Title:The Commodore
Authors:Patrick O'Brian
Info:HarperCollins (1997), Paperback
Collections:Your library
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Tags:adventure, age of sail, fiction, historical fiction

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The Commodore by Patrick O'Brian (1994)

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Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
One of the pleasures of reading a series this long, covering this many years, is that as the characters grow older, so do we. Stephen loses his hair. Jack is constantly battling his weight. They both succumb to dangerous wounds and illnesses. They are jealous over their wives' behavior. They are thoroughly recognizable people, living in the world of the British navy during the Napoleonic wars.

It is time for the men to return home to their families. Sophie is a paragon of wisdom, but shows her temper. The children have the vocabulary of seasoned sailors. Stephen rushes to meet his daughter for the first time. Mrs. Oakes has been raising Brigit and Padeen does the girl a world of good when she is slow of speech.

At Ashgrove, Aubrey's estate, Stephen comes upon Jack in the middle of the night playing the violin brilliantly and realizes that Jack holds back when he plays with Stephen. Later we learn the poignant reason for Jack's melancholy music that night.

After years at sea, many missions accomplished, Jack's disgrace long behind him, he is given the rank of commodore, commander of a squadron of ships, and Stephen as always gathers the intelligence that will make his mission more sure to be successful.

The mission is to stop the slave trade off the coast of Africa. Jack, laboring under his hero, Nelson's, view that without the slave economy, Britain would lose her luster, is not convinced of the soundness of the campaign, and it is a testament to the men's friendship that Stephen who abhors slavery for the crime that it is, does not jump all over such blathering but reasons with him about it. When Jack sees the conditions and squalor first hand, he goes at the mission with greater spirit.

But he would rather be fighting Napoleon, and is spoiling for a sea battle against the French who approach Ireland as a place to foment revolution.

In this book, as in others in the series, we learn of the exotic species under Stephen's study. A potto not to be confused with a potoo is a tiny delicate monkey that could fit in your palm. When Stephen brings it on board, the ship experiences all sorts of luck.





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  paakre | Apr 27, 2013 |
A better tale then the previous two books. The story is well written and most of the battles are 'of-stage'; however there are a number of discussions about slavery and homosexuality that wer relevent to the time period that this book was written (1995) as well as issue that were happening in Ireland shortly before this story was published. As they say the stories are ripped from the headlines and put in a story about a sea captain involved in the early 1800's ( )
  BobVTReader | Jun 18, 2012 |
One of the enjoyable things about this novel in the series is that we get to see more of Jack and Stephen in England - and thus their families are part of the storyline (if somewhat briefly). Stephen, particularly in this novel, is so calm and rational about Diana and their daughter. The ending of the novel is one of my favorites - "Come up to my bed. - Must I come to your bed? - Of course you must come to my bed: and you are never to leave it again." Always makes me smile! ( )
  tjsjohanna | Jan 27, 2012 |
Finished reading this on a cross-channel ferry; whilst that's the closest I've yet come to any actual nautical experience, that's difficult to remember when immersed in such first-rate, evocative literature. Having reviewed earlier installments of this series, it is pointless to reiterate how wonderful they are - it is only necessary to state that this volume lives up to the previously-established high standards. ( )
  gbsallery | Sep 5, 2011 |
I had not realized it had been at least four years since I had read an installment of the Aubrey/Maturin series. I had intentionally slowed down, not wanting the series to end. Though it had been years, the experience of reading The Commodore was like running into an old and dear friend - great comfort combined with great joy, as if the years had never intervened.

Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin are each incredible characters, with their longstanding friendship creating a third. It is all here again - the shared meals, the music, the respect for the strengths of the other, and the playful jabs regarding each other's foibles. The Commodore does not disappoint.

The story takes us from England to Africa then on to Ireland, with the usual mix of personal stories of Aubrey and Maturin (some marital concerns for each), sea battles (against slavers off Africa and the French off Ireland), and political intrigue. As with all, it is well written and leaves one ready to tackle the next adventure after savouring the last. ( )
  Griff | Nov 21, 2010 |
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Patrick O'Brianprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hunt, GeoffCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tull, PatrickNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vance, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0393314596, Paperback)

After several installments of gallivanting around the South Seas, Aubrey and Maturin return home to England, where the surgeon-cum-intelligence-agent discovers that his wife has disappeared. As if such a domestic crisis weren't enough, the intrepid pair are also dispatched to the Gulf of Guinea (to suppress the slave trade) and to Ireland (to rebuff an impending French invasion.) O'Brian's stunning range, coupled with his mind-bending command of minutiae, explain why James Hamilton-Paterson has called him "the Homer of the Napoleonic Wars."

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:54:27 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

The 18th Century heroes, Captain Jack Aubrey and Dr. Stephen Maturin of the Royal Navy, are sent to the fever-ridden Gulf of Guinea to disrupt the slave trade. But their ultimate destination is Ireland where the French are mounting an invasion, a mission that will test Aubrey's seamanship and Maturin's talents as a secret agent. By the author of The Wine-Dark Sea.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 7 descriptions

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

Editions: 0393314596, 0393037606

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