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The Reverse of the Medal by Patrick O'Brian

The Reverse of the Medal (original 1986; edition 1987)

by Patrick O'Brian

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1,858193,721 (4.23)25
Title:The Reverse of the Medal
Authors:Patrick O'Brian
Info:Fontana Press (1987), Paperback, 256 pages
Tags:fiction, Naval History, O'Brian

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The Reverse of the Medal by Patrick O'Brian (1986)



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The torment of Jack's trial for supposedly rigging the stock market is beautifully drawn and exquisitely painful, and when he is put in the stocks, the support from the officers and sailors made me weep, again. ( )
  Matt_B | Mar 26, 2016 |
Captain Jack Aubrey and his particular friend, Dr. Steven Maturin, return to England. Within days of his arrival, Jack's credulous nature (at least on land) and kind heart put him in the crosshairs of a political scandal. While he withstands imprisonment and trial, Steven tries to figure out the truth of the matter.

Another beautifully written novel from O'Brian. ( )
  wealhtheowwylfing | Feb 29, 2016 |
In which, the Surprise has perhaps one final opportunity to demonstrate her honour, before sold into salvage. Aubrey meets ashore an emissary to France for His Majesty, bearing news and a rare opportunity; Maturin devises with Blaine a trap for the suspected mole, leaving marked currency with Wray & Barrow. Both scenarios play into bigger schemes than are expected.


Mowett's poetry has found a publisher, though Stephen suspects a swindle. Martin publishes a pamphlet on immorality in the navy, effectively ending his career as naval chaplain; apparently never thought to consult Stephen on it, knowing he'd agree with the moral sentiments. Duhamel returns the Blue Peter, and fingers Palmer, Wray, and "Smith" as agents of Lucan, in return for passage to Canada aboard HMS Eurydice, courtesy of Henneage Dundas.

Stephen's godfather provides a means of rescue for dear Surprise. Stephen himself wipes the nose of a petty bureaucrat, and avoids the snares of one Madame de La Feullade. Mentions a "lost page" from Gibbon's Decline and Fall, pulled at page-proof stage to avoid offending friends at bar & bench. Much less botanising this time round.

At tale's open, Jack meets for the first time Samuel Panda, his son by Sally Mputa, the woman whom he kept aboard HMS Resolution, and for which he was disrated. At the close, he sits in Marshalsea awaiting trial for Stock Exchange fraud (an incidental victim of a Tory plot against Gen Aubrey and the Radicals). Sentenced to be pilloried but saved from public abuse with the roused indignation of seamen and naval officers.

In effect Part One of a miniseries-within-a-series, comprising with the next volume a fulcrum in Jack's and Stephen's joint career: each is separated -- body and spirit -- from an institution dear to his sense of self. Jack is formally dismissed the service, and though still very much involved in Admiralty plans (both naval and intelligence) the lost status is crucial. Stephen finds Diana has left for Sweden, seemingly in reprisal for a perceived and unforgivable indiscretion.

Stephen purchases Surprise, and obtains from Sir Joseph letters of marque and reprisal against several nations, in advance of a proposed intelligence mission to Chile and Peru.


No interior map in this installment, the endpapers are of London and the Thames: Jack's and Stephen's private clubs off Piccadilly, the Royal Society and Liberties, Parliament and the Admiralty, King's Bench and Marshalsea prisons. ( )
  elenchus | Jun 22, 2015 |
Another good 'un from O'Brian, this volume with a little bit of everything: espionage, conspiracies, sea battles, natural history ... it's so easy to just sit down with one of these books and lose a few hours; I recommend it highly. ( )
  JBD1 | Apr 28, 2012 |
Jack just can't get a break! He's too naive for his own good when it comes to living on shore and he pays for it on a large scale when he gets caught up in political maneuvering. A majority of the action happens on shore, which is a nice change. I loved the scene where Jack and his crew undertake to make Ashford Cottage shipshape. I can just imagine the scene! And I wish I had my own crew to come do the same to mine! ( )
  tjsjohanna | Mar 31, 2011 |
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» Add other authors (5 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 West Indies squadron lay off Bridgetown, sheltered from the north-east tradewind and basking in the brilliant sun.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0393309606, Paperback)

Ashore between cruises, Captain Jack Aubrey is persuaded to sink some money into an investment scheme. Soon this innocent decision enmeshes him in various criminal and even treasonous enterprises, which threaten to destroy his entire career. Bad luck? A deliberate plot? Read this latest installment of the Aubrey-Maturin saga to find out.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:58:51 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

When Jack Aubrey makes some bad investments which involve him with the London underworld, he must rely on Stephen Maturin, an intelligence officer on his ship, to get him out of trouble.

(summary from another edition)

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W.W. Norton

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

Editions: 0393309606, 0393037118

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