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The Mauritius Command (original 1977; edition 2000)

by Patrick O'Brian

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2,466332,488 (4.1)36
Member:Chatterbox
Title:The Mauritius Command
Authors:Patrick O'Brian
Info:Thorndike Press (2000), Hardcover, 501 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:Fiction, Historical Fiction, Audiobook

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The Mauritius Command by Patrick O'Brian (1977)

Recently added byalcoldwell, angstophile, ushatten, private library, Himalmitra, ethnosax
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[b:The Mauritius Command|77431|The Mauritius Command (Aubrey/Maturin, #4)|Patrick O'Brian|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1348715133s/77431.jpg|2393986] opens with the now-expected introductory scenes of Aubrey's hard luck on land. He feels conflicted in what he most wants: the domestic family life that he dreamed of, or adventure on the high seas that he seems to be made for. Soon enough, of course, the decision is made for him and we find ourselves back on board, cruising for a mission to La Réunion, Rodriguez, and Mauritius, islands off the coast of Madagascar in southern Africa. After the gradual build-up of Aubrey reaching post status, and the difficulties he always has in getting a ship to command even after attaining that status, I felt that his elevation to commodore in The Mauritius Command was almost too quick and easy. As he says, the only thing better than a commodore pendant is finally hoisting the admiral flag. So here, in book 4, he has achieved nearly as much as we can hope for him - and this when he is still near the bottom of the list of post captains, and when there are still a number of seniors who have grudges against the insubordination of his youth. I loved the story in this book and the complex situations Aubrey has to manage, but I felt a little cheated at first with what seemed like the too quick and unjustified promotion. After the struggles Maturin has endured at the hands of Mrs. Villiers, it is refreshing that he gets a book to be apart from her—yet still working through the mental anguish from his dashed hopes. Previous books in the series have had much more back-and-forth between life on ship and on land. Not so in The Mauritius Command. Once the guys are at sea, the narrative is more focused and driven than the previous volumes. I've enjoyed the variety of settings in the other books, and I especially like the interesting ways that [a:O'Brian|5600|Patrick O'Brian|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/authors/1212630063p2/5600.jpg] manipulates the time in his writing, but I also liked this change of pace. In the fourth volume of the series there is still much that is fresh, and much that surprises. ( )
1 vote ethnosax | Aug 8, 2014 |
When the fourth book of the Aubrey-Maturin series begins, Jack Aubrey is land-bound at his cottage in England. Married life is agreeing with him, overall, and yet ... he misses the ocean, the cottage is overcrowded, and he's living on half wages. Stephen shows up and soon, they have a mission which will send them halfway around the world to Mauritius to fight the French again.

The strengths:

As always, the friendship between Jack and Stephen
O'Brian's wonderful descriptions of everything; I could feel the bustling claustrophobia of Jack's cottage
Stephen's often-thwarted attempts to collect wildlife specimens in the exotic places he visits

The weaknesses:

With Jack often being at a distance from the action, it wasn't as exciting
Somehow, the book's pacing felt odd - both rushed and with long periods of not much happening

It was a good book, not stellar. But it's a long series, and HMS Surprise was absolutely wonderful, so this one suffers in comparison.

Recommended for: anyone already embarked on the series, fans of buddy road-movies

Quote: "'The coffee has a damned odd taste.'
'This I attribute to the excrement of rats. Rats have eaten our entire stock; and I take the present brew to be a mixture of the scrapings at the bottom of the sack.'
'I thought it had a familiar tang,' said Jack." ( )
  ursula | Jun 3, 2014 |
If I had started with this one, I never would have picked up another. I couldn't make sense of the action--it was either overly summarized, or maybe occurring off screen and never explained, I'm not even sure what, because I just couldn't follow it. In the previous books, you are in the action minute by minute, and even if, like Stephen Maturin or myself, you don't know a forecastle from a mizzenmast, you get what is going on. Here, I still don't know what happened. Throw in a captain who was murdered and tossed overboard off screen and you have to wonder, why bother to tell this story if you are not going to show it? ( )
1 vote read.to.live | Oct 5, 2013 |
Read this on the way back from a recent trip to Europe (and through post-trip jet lag). OK, I'm hooked! What's most compelling is [a:Patrick O'Brian|5600|Patrick O'Brian|http://photo.goodreads.com/authors/1212630063p2/5600.jpg]'s portrayal of mastery, in this case of the intricacies of commanding an 18th century British navy frigate and sailing ship. Could probably have a bit more Moby Dick type blood-and-guts, though in its understated way it shares plenty of the gory details of life at sea.

This is now my main source on the British capture of Mauritius from the French, one of the more interesting such conquests I know about. [The book doesn't deal with the aftermath: the British retained control of Mauritius (ceding Réunion back to the French after the end of the Napoleonic Wars), the original bargain at surrender held, giving the Mauritians the right to retain the French language, etc. To this day Mauritius is French-dominant multilingual, with English the language of government and administration.]

While I am unlikely to get a DVD of Russell Crowe as [b:Master and Commander|17766|Master and Commander (Aubrey/Maturin Book 1)|Patrick O'Brian|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1166853769s/17766.jpg|722040], I do at least have an easy choice anytime I'm looking for airline/summertime/jetlag/just-want-a-good-read reading... the other umpteen volumes in this series! Had no idea that [a:Patrick O'Brian|5600|Patrick O'Brian|http://photo.goodreads.com/authors/1212630063p2/5600.jpg] was such a literatus as well - translator of Simone de Beauvoir of all things! ( )
  Katong | Apr 14, 2013 |
Oh, I just rediscovered this, and god, I love it. I love Stephen Maturin so much. O'Brien captures the C.19 tone beautifully, and manages to insert exposition without being heavy-handed about it. ( )
  cricketbats | Mar 31, 2013 |
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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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To Mary Renault, glauk' eis Athenas. [Note: the Greek phrase means 'owls to Athens', the Greek equivalent of 'coals to Newcastle'.]
First words
Captain Aubrey of the Royal Navy lived in a part of Hampshire well supplied with sea-officers, some of whom had reached flag-rank in Rodney's day while others were still waiting for their first command.
Quotations
A conquering race, in the place of that conquest, is rarely amiable; the conquerors pay less obviously than the conquered, but perhaps in time they pay even more heavily, in the loss of the humane qualities. Hard, arrogant, profit-seeking adventurers flock to the spoil, and the natives, though outwardly civil, contemplate them with a resentment mingled with contempt, while at the same time respecting the face of conquest -- acknowledging their greater strength. And to be divided between the two must lead to a strange confusion of sentiment. [139: Maturin, in his journal]
Once below and free of good mornings right and left, he went straight to sleep, with barely a pause between laying his long wet hair on the pillow and unconsciousness; and fast asleep he remained, in spite of the rumbling boots of a regiment of soldiers and the din inseparable from working the ship, until the faint tinkle of a teaspoon told some layer of his mind that coffee was ready. He sprang up, looked at the barometer, shook his head, dipped his face into a kid of tepid water, shaved, ate a hearty breakfast, and appeared on deck, fresh, pink, and ten years younger. [187: of Aubrey on the eve of battle]
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 039330762X, Paperback)

Ashore without a command--and on half-pay to boot--Jack Aubrey's prayers are answered when Stephen Maturin shows up with a secret mission for him. The two men have been ordered to the Cape of Good Hope. There they hope to dislodge the French garrisons on the islands of Mauritius and La Reunion. Alas, two of their own colleagues--a dilettante and a martinet--prove to be nearly as great an obstacle as the French themselves.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:01:28 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

During the Napoleonic wars, British naval captain Jack Aubrey, charged with capturing the French islands of Reunion and Mauritius, must first cope with his fellow commanders

(summary from another edition)

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Audible.com

Four editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

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W.W. Norton

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

Editions: 039330762X, 0393037045

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