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Treason's Harbour (original 1983; edition 1994)

by Patrick O'Brian

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1,803223,884 (4.19)39
Member:Chatterbox
Title:Treason's Harbour
Authors:Patrick O'Brian
Info:W. W. Norton (1994), Edition: 1st, Hardcover, 336 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:Fiction, Historical Fiction, Audiobook

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Treason's Harbour by Patrick O'Brian (1983)

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English (19)  Swedish (2)  Spanish (1)  All languages (22)
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[b:Treason's Harbour|765093|Treason's Harbour (Aubrey/Maturin #9)|Patrick O'Brian|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1388360956s/765093.jpg|2021464] continues the Mediterranean cruise that Aubrey and Maturin began in the previous volume. It also extends the bittersweet tone of that book, as Jack and Stephen age, mature, and reflect on their lives and their futures. Jack's luck is still not back to its early heights, though there are hints that it is set to change again. Until then, Jack contemplates the shape of his life: For some time now he had been dissatisfied with himself. . . . It seemed to him that his reputation in the service (and with himself as one who watched Jack Aubrey's doings from a certain distance and with an almost perfect knowledge of his motives) was based on two or three fortunate actions, sea-fights that he could look back upon with real pleasure, small though they were; but they belonged to the past; they had all happened long ago; and now there were several men who stood far higher in the esteem of those whose opinion he valued. . . . It was as though he were running a race: a race in which he had done fairly well for a while, after a slow start, but one in which he could not hold his lead and was being overtaken, perhaps from lack of bottom, perhaps from lack of judgment, perhaps from lack of that particularly nameless quality that brought some men success when it just eluded others, though they might take equal pains. He could not put his fingers on the fault with any certainty, and there were days when he could say with real conviction that the whole thing was mere fatality, the other side of the good luck that had attended him in his twenties and early thirties, the restoration of the average. But there were other days when he felt that his profound uneasiness was an undeniable proof of the fault's existence, and that although he himself might not be able to name it, it was clear enough to others, particularly those in power: at all events, they had given many of the good appointments to other men, not to him. (153-154)I find this to be a poignant summary of the thoughts that go through a man's head as he approaches middle age--and I can't help but wonder if these are the thoughts that attacked [a:O'Brian|5600|Patrick O'Brian|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/authors/1212630063p2/5600.jpg] as he began each new volume of the series, wondering if he still had one more story in him.The plot of Treason's Harbour shows us more of the intelligence network operations that Stephen has been a part of, and we see it from multiple perspectives. It was interesting, and also frustrating, to know more than Stephen is seeing. I was also interested to see echoes of a former romantic rivalry between Jack and Stephen, which in this case has none of the substance of the former conflict and serves to highlight the age and development of the two characters. The book ends, as many of these do, still in the midst of the Mediterranean voyage, with some hope of further adventures for the Surprise and its crew. ( )
  | Aug 8, 2014 | edit |
In which Aubrey is back in Malta awaiting a promised command, the port teeming with French agents and rife with British corruption. Maturin plays a game of double-cross with Lesueur (and unknowingly: with Wray), pretending to be seduced by Laura Fielding yet upholding his honour, and hers. A similar game may be played in London with Diana and Jagiello. The intrigue shifts from Malta to the Red Sea aboard Niobe, after transport on Dromedary and then a desert crossing by camel train, and dear Surprise is charged with convoy duty to Ithaca, perhaps its last mission before being sold out of the service.

//

Theme of cuckoldry continues, now targeting Charles Fielding given his wife's willingness to be used by French intelligence. O'Brian inserts a wry aside about a cuckold's neck, a nautical term.

Jack's chelengk, his rescue of Ponto from a well, and subsequent raised eyebrows about town.

Stephen's diving bell, and French gold; Wray's gambling habit, and in lieu of payment: a new command for Jack? Attending to a bear, recently injured by crewmember Awkward Davis.

The memorable action aboard Surprise with French man-of-war Mars and its attendant freighters, in tight quarters, Jack's seamanship delivering a satisfactory conclusion if no prize.

O'Brian names the Captains Ball & Hamner; and glassmerchant Maimonides Moses. ( )
  elenchus | Apr 18, 2014 |
By this stage in the saga, opening one of these books is like sinking gratefully into a warm bath... ( )
1 vote dazzyj | May 12, 2013 |
Treason's Harbour finds the crew of the Surprise in Malta while the ship undergoes repairs. Malta is crawling with spies, keeping Stephen Maturin particularly busy with espionage and counter espionage. Orders send Captain Aubrey and his crew on missions that could be compromised by leaked intelligence. Will the combination of Aubrey's nautical skill and Maturin's sharp mind keep the Surprise and its men from falling into a trap?

I've wanted to try this series for a while because I've heard so many good things about it. Normally I wouldn't start in the middle of a series, but I picked this one up because I needed a book set in Malta. Enough of the series back story is included so that I didn't feel like I was missing information crucial to the plot. I thought the ending was rather abrupt, leaving some major plot threads unresolved. I liked it well enough to want to read more in the series, but I'm torn between continuing from this point in the series so I can find out what happens next or going back to the beginning of the series. ( )
1 vote cbl_tn | Sep 30, 2012 |
Another rollicking adventure of Captain Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin, with espionage at the forefront as Maturin tries to foil the efforts of French agents in Malta. More good nautical storytelling from O'Brian. ( )
1 vote JBD1 | Dec 25, 2011 |
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» Add other authors (9 possible)

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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Epigraph
Smoothe runnes the Water, where the Brooke is deepe,
And in his simple shew he harbours Treason.
(2 Henry VI)
Dedication
Mariae sacrum.
First words
A gentle breeze from the north-west after a night of rain, and the washed sky over Malta had a particular quality in its light that sharpened the lines of the noble buildings, bringing out all the virtue of the stone; the air too was a delight to breathe, and the city of Valletta was as cheerful as though it were fortunate in love or as thought it had suddenly heard good news.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0393308634, Paperback)

This segment of the Aubrey saga is set in Malta, where the captain's "small, sweet-sailing frigate" is undergoing repairs. The island, however, is swarming with Napoleonic agents, which means that Stephen Maturin must do everything in his power to avert sabotage. A typical O'Brian cocktail of action and intrigue.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:37:29 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

In Malta for much needed repairs on his ship, Captain Jack Aubrey must rely on his ship's surgeon and intelligence agent, Stephen Maturin, to outwit Napoleon's agents.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 8 descriptions

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W.W. Norton

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

Editions: 0393308634, 0393037096

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