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The Wine-Dark Sea (1994)

by Patrick O'Brian

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Aubrey-Maturin (16)

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2,124185,250 (4.15)50
1st American ed.
Recently added byRenabur, MendoLibrary, private library, jcoyte, Steve_Walker, Dante-Alighieri, libby442

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English (15)  Swedish (2)  Spanish (1)  All languages (18)
Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
As I stagger past the 3/4 mark of this enormous series of books I am struck by the observation that I am more interested in Maturin than Aubrey. Really though, it's being more interested in what's going on on land than on ship - which is the complete opposite of what I would have said in the first quarter of the series.

THIS REVIEW HAS BEEN CURTAILED IN PROTEST AT GOODREADS' CENSORSHIP POLICY

See the complete review here:

http://arbieroo.booklikes.com/post/897361/the-wine-dark-sea-patrick-o-brian ( )
  Arbieroo | Jul 17, 2020 |
The Wine-Dark Sea, Patrick O’Brian’s sixteenth book in his Aubrey-Maturin series, picks up immediately where the previous novel, Clarissa Oakes, left off with Captain Jack Aubrey, Stephen Maturin, and Thomas Pullings aboard the Surprise chasing the American privateer Franklin, under command of French privateersmen, from Moahu where they recently thwarted French ambitions on the strategic island. Turbulent seas from an underwater volcanic eruption enable the Surprise to overtake and capture the Franklin, gaining the crew another prize.

Aboard the Franklin, Aubrey finds her owner, Jean Dutourd, who had sought to finance a utopia on Moahu by enticing one group to overthrow the monarch. Doutard sails without papers for himself, putting Aubrey in the awkward position of how to classify him – either a privateer or a pirate. An encounter with a whaler brings news of the Alastor, a French vessel flying the black flag of piracy, and Aubrey determines to find and take her. Once the crew of the Surprise accomplishes that, they send the Surprise and the Alastor into Callao, the port for Lima, along with Maturin who can finally begin the mission upon which he embarked in The Thirteen Gun Salute. While Stephen begins making contact with locals who might support Peruvian independence, Jack looks for further prizes in the Franklin. Unfortunately for Stephen, Doutard manages to stowaway on one of the prizes and reaches Peru, intending to send up an alarm. Though neither the French nor Spanish authorities trust Doutard – he showing an alarming lack of tact and his views on religion putting him at odds with the Spanish – his words do pose a threat to any English attempt to support Peruvian independence and Stephen must flee overland. The breeze being against them, Aubrey attempts to reach Callao by cutter, though the winds delay and batter them. Fortunately, Captain Pullings finds them struggling to enter the harbor and brings them aboard Surprise, where word of Stephen’s overland trek meets them. The Surprise sails down the coast and rendezvous with Stephen before heading to the Cape to try and take three American China ships. There they encounter further misfortune when an unexpected U.S. frigate appears, giving the Surprise a brief chase in which she suffers ice damage. The Surprise escapes, but a lightning strike further damages her mast. The novel closes with the HMS Berenice under Captain Heneage Dundas finding them and transferring provisions to repair Surprise in order that they may return home.

Like the previous nine novels, The Wine-Dark Sea exists outside the normal flow of time – this novel being the tenth of eleven to exist in what O’Brian described as an extended 1812, with these books taking place between the beginning of June 1813 and November 1813. Further, this continues the circumnavigation of the globe that began in The Thirteen Gun Salute and will end in The Commodore. The title quotes Homer’s Odyssey: “And if some god should strike me, out on the wine-dark sea, I will endure it.” O’Brian uses this novel to examine the nature of fortune, with Captain Dundas commenting on it when he finds Surprise damaged while Aubrey remarks that the failure in the mission is balanced by the joy of being alive and homeward bound. While the events of the previous nine novels would normally take several years, those looking for a perfect chronology are advised to simply enjoy the story and the way in which O’Brian perfectly recreates the world of the Napoleonic Wars, using Aubrey and Stephen’s activities to comment on the rapid changes occurring in this era and the passage of time in the series’ internal chronology. This Folio Society edition reprints the original text with insets containing historical portraits and sketches to illustrate some of the scenes. ( )
1 vote DarthDeverell | Feb 29, 2020 |
I am a fan of Napoleonic war stories both on land and sea. I extremely enjoy the likes of books written by CS Forester and Alexander Pope, I have stayed away from Patrick O'Brian for the most part after reading "Master and Commander" following the movie of the same name which was outstanding.

First of all you probably have to read O'Brian's books in order and watch the various characters grow and I did not do this since "Wine Dark Sea" is the 16th in this series.

However having said that I did not like the writing style of O'Brian. The incident that refers to this title happens early in the book lasts maybe a dozen pages. The book is big on conversations and less on details of whatever is going on. If you finally settle into something interesting you are suddenly jerked into something else that is totally unrelated usually never to come back to the "interesting" part. Often either major character goes on their separate ways for a while... you may or may not know the reason but when they return they are in a terrible state and you get only the Coles Notes version of what happened to them ... very unsatisfying for me.

Much is made of O'Brian's use of authentic language. This did not bother me, in fact it is a huge plus in my mind.

The problem may be that I have not read these books in order but two page battle scenes compared to ten times the script on playing instruments or the Doctor doing his biological pursuits are not an exciting read for me.... hence the lower star rating compared to other Napoleonic naval stories. ( )
  Lynxear | Aug 30, 2018 |
Doctor Stephen Maturin, an intelligence agent of formidable powers, is dispatched to discomfit the Napoleonic French and their allies. With him comes his particular friend, naval captain Jack Aubrey. Each of them has some successes on this long voyage--Jack takes a truly ridiculous number of prizes--but are battered by their adventures and happy to head home.

I love this series so much. At this point,the continued travails of the Surprise's crew, captain, and surgeon are as comforting and interesting as hearing about my home town. ( )
  wealhtheowwylfing | Feb 29, 2016 |
Another excellent installment in the series, featuring an underwater volcanic eruption, Pacific travels, Maturin's trek in the Andes observing the wildlife and fomenting rebellion, and the usual Aubrey-Maturin dynamic. I'm beginning to think that as soon as I finish the last volume, I may just start over again ... ( )
  JBD1 | May 26, 2014 |
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Patrick O'Brianprimary authorall editionscalculated
Brown, RichardNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Griffin, GordonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hunt, GeoffCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kann, AndreaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lama Montes de Oca, AleidaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Merla, PaolaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tull, PatrickNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vance, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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A purple ocean, vast under the sky and devoid of all visible life apart from two minute ships racing across its immensity.
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W.W. Norton

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

Editions: 0393312445, 0393035581

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