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The Hundred Days (1998)

by Patrick O'Brian

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Aubrey-Maturin (19)

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2,035215,570 (4.11)37
Napoleon has escaped from Elba, and the fate of Europe hinges on a desperate mission: Stephen Maturin must ferret out the French dictator's secret link to the powers of Islam, and Jack Aubrey must destroy it.



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English (18)  Italian (1)  Swedish (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (21)
Showing 1-5 of 18 (next | show all)
It's been a while and I'd forgotten about O'Brian's delicious prose. Delicious prose like ice-cream that's full of flavour and goes down smoothly. Prose that makes a statement. Makes a statement then repeats it, expanding upon it. Prose that really is way harder to imitiate than it looks...

It was a bit of a shock to find Aubrey and Maturin had not only escaped the magically extended 1812 (authors are the gods of their creations and can do anything) but had arrived in 1815 without any apparent intervening time. And they're off to North Africa for political shenanigans and anti-Napoleonic naval action.

There are some surprises here and new destinations, amazing for book 19 of a series that's circum-navigated the globe several times over - this is neither the best nor the worst entry and if you've got this far, surely you both know what to expect and are going to stick it out through the 20th and final book... ( )
  Arbieroo | Jul 17, 2020 |
The Hundred Days, Patrick O’Brian’s nineteenth book in his Aubrey-Maturin series, picks up shortly after the events of The Yellow Admiral, with Napoleon having escaped from his exile on Elba. On land, the Allies are joining to stop Napoleon, but the Austrian and Russian forces are blocked partly by geography and partly through mutual distrust. In order to drive them apart, Napoleon has reached out to Muslim forces in North Africa, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe, seeking funds to hire Assassins as mercenaries. He also works to rebuild his fleet in order to challenge those forces loyal to Louis XVIII.

As the story begins, Dr. Stephen Maturin had briefly left the squadron to bury his wife, Diana, after she died in a carriage accident. O’Brian had foreshadowed this in The Yellow Admiral, but it still feels shocking to have so familiar a character die. Maturin throws himself into his intelligence work, relishing the opportunity to stop Napoleon once and for all. Admiral Lord Keith gives Commodore Jack Aubrey new orders to stop the gold from making its way to Napoleon and to convince any French captains he meets to join the side of Louis XVIII. Along with the expected sea maneuvers, O’Brian further examines the nature of luck as Killick accidentally breaks Maturin’s narwhal horn, which the crew held to bring the luck of a unicorn horn. Maturin himself is full in his grief, seeming at times a different character, but the regularity of sea life helps him to find some familiarity in which to recover.

By land, O’Brian uses Maturin to examine the different loyalties of the Muslim leaders regarding the Sunni-Shiite divide and how Napoleon worked to take advantage of it to gain allies, while a trip to meet the local Dey, Omar Pasha, provides some land-based action. Maturin studies the local fauna, gains the necessary intelligence, but worries if it will be actionable when a sirocco wind coming off the land delays either the Surprise or its tender, the Ringle, from returning for him. Fortunately, he makes it in time and brings Aubrey the intelligence and they make a plan to intercept a xebec carrying the gold in the Strait of Gibraltar. The battle goes on for days with Barrett Bonden dying in the first blow, adding yet another shocking death as Bonden had been with Jack’s crew since the first book, Master and Commander. The Surprise and her crew manage to capture the xebec and all its gold, learning on their return to Gibraltar that Napoleon was defeated in the Low Countries and the war is over. Jack now heads off on his mission to Chile.

With The Hundred Days, O’Brian brings the Napoleonic Wars to a close. The series began during the War of the Second Coalition, a war many of the European monarchies fought against revolutionary France, which in turn led to the War of the Third Coalition under Napoleon, who also fought the Wars of the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh Coalitions. O’Brian uses Aubrey to comment on the fact that the period was marked by twenty years of almost constant war with few interruptions. He also demonstrates a great deal of narrative maturity in this novel, for while many members of Aubrey’s ships’ companies had died during the course of the series, the death of Diana and Bonden stand out for the large role they played in Aubrey and Maturin’s lives. The Hundred Days further offers a bit of a look back, with the crew visiting Gibraltar and Port Mahon in Minorca, showing what has changed or remained the same since the events of Master and Commander. This nineteenth novel is easily one of the strongest books in the Aubrey-Maturin series. This Folio Society edition reprints the original text with insets containing historical portraits and sketches to illustrate some of the scenes and maps of the Mediterranean coast on the endpapers. ( )
  DarthDeverell | Apr 8, 2020 |
Another wonderful book of Aubrey and Maturin. I hate that there is only one full story left in the series to read. ( )
  wvlibrarydude | Sep 6, 2015 |
Not perhaps the best in the series, I'm afraid. The deaths of several long-important characters are just sort of lobbed in offhand, it seems like ... and much of the "hundred days" action is of course offstage. There are some lovely moments here, including Stephen's rescue of two Irish children, but this certainly wasn't one of my favorite volumes in the series. ( )
  JBD1 | Apr 6, 2015 |
More of a nautical romp than the last book, though not as light-hearted as some.
( )
  sben | Feb 11, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Patrick O'Brianprimary authorall editionscalculated
Case, DavidNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hunt, GeoffCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Merla, PaolaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Roberts, GrahamNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
TULL, PATRICKNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vance, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The sudden rearmament that followed Napoleon's escape from Elba had done little to thin the ranks of unemployed sea-officers by the early spring of 1815.
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Napoleon has escaped from Elba, and the fate of Europe hinges on a desperate mission: Stephen Maturin must ferret out the French dictator's secret link to the powers of Islam, and Jack Aubrey must destroy it.

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W.W. Norton

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

Editions: 0393319792, 0393046745

Recorded Books

An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

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