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Master and Commander (1969)

by Patrick O'Brian

Other authors: Max Hastings (Introduction)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Aubrey-Maturin (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
7,946186799 (3.98)430
This, the first in the series of Jack Aubrey novels, establishes the friendship between Captain Aubrey, R.N., and Stephen Maturin, ship's surgeon and intelligence agent, against the thrilling backdrop of the Napoleonic wars. Details of life aboard a man-of-war in Nelson's navy are faultlessly rendered: the conversational idiom of the officers in the ward room and the men on the lower deck, the flood, the floggings, the mysteries of the wind and the rigging, and the road of broadsides as the great ships close in battle.… (more)
Recently added by0ldScratch, ingen, Soothscribe, aaronarnold, jobinsonlis, private library, ashbygeek, krnelson86
Legacy LibrariesTerence Kemp McKenna
  1. 50
    Cochrane: The Real Master and Commander by David Cordingly (DCBlack)
    DCBlack: Some plot elements in the Aubrey- Maturin series were taken from the career and exploits of Admiral Lord Cochrane.
  2. 40
    A Sea of Words: A Lexicon and Companion to the Complete Seafaring Tales of Patrick O'Brian by Dean King (SV1XV)
  3. 30
    Memoirs of a Fighting Captain by Thomas Cochrane, Earl of Dundonald (DCBlack)
    DCBlack: Some plot elements in the Aubrey- Maturin series were taken from the career and exploits of Admiral Lord Cochrane.
  4. 20
    Lobscouse and Spotted Dog by Anne Chotzinoff Grossman (fyrefly98)
    fyrefly98: A reference and cookbook for the various food items mentioned in the Aubrey/Maturin series.
  5. 20
    His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik (aqualectrix)
    aqualectrix: In the same style (complete with rigging descriptions) and time period, only with dragons instead of ships.
  6. 10
    Harbors and High Seas: An Atlas and Geographical Guide to the Aubrey-Maturin Novels of Patrick O'Brian by Dean King (SV1XV)
  7. 10
    Moby Dick by Herman Melville (caflores)
    caflores: Para amantes del lenguaje náutico y de las descripciones detalladas.
  8. 10
    The Trafalgar Companion: The Complete Guide to History's Most Famous Sea Battle and the Life of Admiral Lord Nelson by Mark Adkin (simon_carr)
  9. 00
    This Thing of Darkness by Harry Thompson (andejons)
  10. 00
    Ramage by Dudley Pope (Cecrow)
  11. 00
    The Man Who Saved Henry Morgan: A Novel by Robert Hough (ShelfMonkey)
  12. 00
    His Majesty's Ship by Alaric Bond (infiniteletters)
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» See also 430 mentions

English (174)  Spanish (5)  Dutch (3)  Norwegian (1)  French (1)  Swedish (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (186)
Showing 1-5 of 174 (next | show all)
O'Brien's icosology is revered by military history buffs like they were written on stone tablets, and it's not hard to see why. I saw the excellent movie version (which also includes some of a later installment) when it came out, so I was glad to see that all the hype for the source material was fully justified. Since this is the very first in the series, there is a ton of exposition (for example, characters infodump the different types of ropes, I mean lines, on the ship in ludicrous detail for pages and pages) and scene-setting, but soon enough the newly commissioned Commander Jack Aubrey and his new physician Stephen Maturin are chasing French ships around the Mediterranean like it was nothing. The hardest/neatest thing about it was O'Brien's massive hardon for punishing historical accuracy, which is truly impressive; outside of maybe Pynchon's Mason & Dixon I can't remember the last historical fiction I read with this kind of immersive detail, where it felt like the author was trying to recreate the past one yardarm and topgallant at a time. Aubrey's adventures, like those of Horatio Hornblower, are based in part on the real-life Lord Thomas Cochrane, which I think gives the action scenes like the Battle of Algeciras an extra layer of cool. Is it just me or are the Napoleonic Wars totally awesome? I'm not going to rush out to tackle volumes 2-20 but this owned. ( )
  aaronarnold | May 11, 2021 |
I initially found this to be a very slow plodding read and seriously considered putting it aside for another time. Willoyd recommended sticking with it and also said that the other books in the series were better. I decided to stick with it and about half way through I was glad I made that decision. The nautical terms get a little too much but to be fair it does help build the atmosphere. I found the action scenes very well written and overall it was a good read. ( )
  Brian. | Mar 20, 2021 |
Jack Aubrey, at sea since he was nine, received his first appointment as a commander when he became "Commander of His Majesty's Sloop Sophie April 1, 1800. The day he learned of this joyous appointment he also met, seemingly by accident, the man who will become his ship surgeon and close friend, Stephen Maturin. Uknown to Aubrey, Maturin is more than a doctor, he's also a spy.

Britian is at war with France and as Aubrey and his crew patrol the Mediterranean they engage in many battles, often with ships much larger than Sophie. A naval historian, in his notes O'Brian writes that every battle he has written was taken from log-books, official letters, contemporary accounts or memoirs. He earned my esteem by saying his characters are "best celebrated in their own splendid actions rather than in imaginary contests; that authenticity is a jewel and that the echo of their words has an abiding value." Of course, there is much more to the book than fighting. O'Brian writes of comaraderie, what life was like both on and off the sea two hundred years ago, and the thoughts and fears of a young brash commander with dozens of lives in his hands. By doing so, he deserves the high praise he has received over more than fifty years. ( )
1 vote clue | Mar 18, 2021 |
Definitely rich in historical detail, probably more enjoyable for someone with more nautical experience. (39--a book set in a different country)
  mullinstreetzoo | Feb 12, 2021 |
If you can push yourself past the naval terminology that's so thick as to almost be impenetrable, there's some great adventure to be had, along with a really interesting look into naval warfare. Aubrey's sense of joy throughout the book is infectious -- it's been a long time since I encountered a protagonist I liked this much. I'll definitely be looking for more of these in the future. ( )
  skolastic | Feb 2, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 174 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (31 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Patrick O'Brianprimary authorall editionscalculated
Hastings, MaxIntroductionsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Andersson, StefanIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brown, RichardNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jerrom, RicNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Merla, PaolaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nikupaavola, RenneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Olofsson, LennartTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tull, PatrickNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vance, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wannenmacher, JuttaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
[None]
Dedication
MARIAE LEMBI NOSTRI DUCI ET MAGISTRAE DO DEDICO

[ = I present and dedicate [this book] to Mary, the commander and mistress of our yacht]
First words
When one is writing about the Royal Navy of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries it is difficult to avoid understatement; it is difficult to do full justice to one's subject; for so very often the improbable reality outruns fiction.

Author's note.
The music-room in the Governor's House at Port Mahon, a tall, handsome, pillared octagon, was filled with the triumphant first movement of Locatelli's C major quartet.

Chapter one.
Quotations
'But my Sophie must have a medical man -- apart from anything else, you have no notion of what a hypochondriac your seaman is: they love to be physicked, and a ship's company without someone to look after them, even the rawest half-grown surgeon's mate, is not a happy ship's company ...' [Aubrey: 33]
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (2)

This, the first in the series of Jack Aubrey novels, establishes the friendship between Captain Aubrey, R.N., and Stephen Maturin, ship's surgeon and intelligence agent, against the thrilling backdrop of the Napoleonic wars. Details of life aboard a man-of-war in Nelson's navy are faultlessly rendered: the conversational idiom of the officers in the ward room and the men on the lower deck, the flood, the floggings, the mysteries of the wind and the rigging, and the road of broadsides as the great ships close in battle.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary
A navy captain
and a land loving surgeon
fight Spaniards and French. (marcusbrutus)

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W.W. Norton

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

Editions: 0393307050, 0393325172, 0393037010, 0393339319

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An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

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