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The Mauritius Command (original 1977; edition 2000)

by Patrick O'Brian

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2,628372,275 (4.11)42
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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)

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Showing 1-5 of 34 (next | show all)
The fourth book in the Aubrey-Maturin novels, it feels like dropping by on old friends, for the first time in some while (to the point of wondering if I'd skipped a book accidentally).

I found it a rollicking good read, but probably not where you'd start off someone new to the series. ( )
  redfiona | Jul 17, 2016 |
At the end of the [b:H.M.S. 'Surprise'|77427|H.M.S. 'Surprise' (Aubrey/Maturin Book 3)|Patrick O'Brian|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1255923714s/77427.jpg|1200332], Captain Jack Aubrey finally had the chance to marry his beloved and settle down into a little country cottage. [b:The Muaritius Command|77431|The Mauritius Command (Aubrey & Maturin, #4)|Patrick O'Brian|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1266467194s/77431.jpg|2393986] 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. In fact, I love these books so much that I'm starting the next book as soon as I finish this review! ( )
  wealhtheowwylfing | Feb 29, 2016 |
I enjoyed this of course, yet I found it to be a little underwhelming. Story well told, movement on the Jack/Sophie front, but this could have been a straight ahead stand alone sea tale...not much to add to the story arc. From what I understand, the next book is the point in the series that they start to get truly great, which is scary to think of, as all four of these book so far have been great, this one just a bit less so. ( )
  BooksForDinner | Oct 15, 2015 |
Moving onward to volume four of the Aubrey-Maturin series. According to O’Brian’s preface, The Mauritius Command is based on an actual campaign, and this shows in various ways. Most notably in how focused it is (at least for a novel by O’Brian) – it follows the course of the campaign closely, barely straying from its tightly defined path – no amorous entanglements, no naturalist expeditions, none (or at least, very few) of the leisurely ambling that characterized Post Captain and HMS Surprise and which, for me at least, tend to be the main source of delight in this series.

As can be infered from this, I liked Mauritius Command rather less than the two novels before, and it most reminds me of Master & Commander with its emphasis placed firmly on naval matters and warfare at sea. And O’Brian is as good with those as always, giving us detailed descriptions of sea-battles that make the strategy involved transparent even to a not particularly nautically inclined reader while at the same time giving a very vivid impression of the messiness, the confusing motion, deafening sounds, overpowering smells of naval fighting. It is all very exciting, but just not what I enjoy most about the series, which are the characters of Aubrey and Maturin, and their constant wonder at each other and at the world around them. That element is not completely absent from The Mauritius Command but it is in relatively short supply.

O’Brian to some degree makes up for that with the new characters he introduces, most notably another captain / ship’s doctor pairing we encounter here in Lord Clonfert and William McAdam, that is very different from the relationship between Jack and Stephen and yet mirrors in very interesting ways. This doubled pairing, Aubrey and Maturin set in relation to what could be considered their dark twins, a deeply conflicted captain and his alcoholic ship’s doctor are what made this novel for me. But your mileage may of course vary, and it’s not like I had been bored during the more strictly nautical parts of the novel – everything considered, The Mauritius Command is another highly enjoyable installment in the series. It’s also where I had to break off my first reading for unrelated reasons, so from the next volume I shall be sailing uncharted waters.
1 vote Larou | Apr 28, 2015 |
Book number four in O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin series, set on the high seas during the Napoleonic Wars. This time, the intrepid Captain Aubrey is given command of a squadron of ships and directed to attempt to take the island of Mauritius from the French.

My one problem with this book is pretty much the same as with the previous books in the series: I have a lot of trouble following the action. I thought maybe I was getting better at that, but I'm not. It doesn't help that this one features a much larger number of ships and ships' captains to keep straight, either. Especially when a couple of the captains have similar names, and several of the British ships have French names, and ships seemed to be getting captured and changing hands almost constantly... At some point, I may have given up on ever being entirely clear just who was on what side. In fairness to O'Brian, though, he was being historically accurate, and I was being pretty dense. Which I often am about military action scenes. Still, it was a bit frustrating.

Fortunately, this one also features the things I liked best about the earlier volumes. There is, perhaps, a bit less emphasis on Aubrey and Maturin and their friendship, but there's still some pretty good character stuff. There's also a lot of wonderful, droll humor. Nothing nearly as laugh-out-loud funny as the sloth incident from the previous book -- I'll be surprised if the series ever tops that -- but a lot of quietly amusing moments.

I will definitely be carrying on with this series, in any case, even if I am making my way through it very slowly. ( )
  bragan | Sep 2, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (13 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Patrick O'Brianprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hunt, GeoffCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lavery, BrianContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tull, PatrickNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vance, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wiberg, CarlaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
[None]
Dedication
To Mary Renault, glauk' eis Athenas. [Note: the Greek phrase means 'owls to Athens', the Greek equivalent of 'coals to Newcastle'.]
First words
Sometimes the reader of a novel, particularly a novel set in another age, likes to know whether the events have any existence outside the author's mind, or whether, like the characters, they are quite imaginary.

Author's note.
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.

Chapter one.
Patrick O'Brian, unlike other writers of naval fiction, often uses real ships as the basis for his plots.

Jack Aubrey's ships, by Brian Lavery.
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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:37 -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)

» see all 11 descriptions

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Editions: 039330762X, 0393037045

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