Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Commodore

"Thick weather in the chops of the Channel and a dirty night, with the strong north-east wind bringing rain from the low sky and racing cloud: Ushant somewhere away on the star-board bow, the Scillies to larboard, but never a light, never a star to be seen; and no observation for the last four days".

This is book 17 in the Aubrey & Maturin series of novels (and I'm already looking forward to starting the series again) and deals with Aubrey's long overdue promotion to a Commodore's broad pennant...

Given command of a relatively small squadron of ships comprising a couple of two deckers and some weak frigates, Aubrey is given a two pronged set of orders - his first task is to make a demonstration along the west coast of Africa in order to suppress slavery, once he has completed that however, his real task (and the slavery mission is a bit of smoke and mirrors intended to deceive the enemy) is to intercept a French naval force who are transporting soldiers for an invasion of Ireland.

Yet again the book was a joy - packed full of period colour, and the minutiae of life in one of His Majesty's ships during the Napoleonic Wars. O'Brian continues to write in that unique style he has that more than anything helps bring the period alive... there were moments in the book, usually when Aubrey and Maturin are in conversation, that just made me laugh out loud...

Steve the Wargamer rates this one as one of the better in the series (wish he'd spent a little more time on the final engagement with the French!) and gives it a solid nine out of ten....


  1. Book 17....I've a long way to go.

  2. ...but what a journey - almost feel jealous!

  3. I really do need to read some of his work!


  4. I'm a big fan too...axebreaker you must read them!

  5. I'm currently reading The Yellow Admiral myself! Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey & Maturin series is superb. I really enjoy reading your blog too, Steve. Thanks!


  6. Brilliant stuff. I read up to about number 15, but didn't want the series to end, so stopped, waited two years, and started again. I'm currently up to Treason's Harbour, and might even finish the series this time. I'm probably loving them even more the second time around, and certainly appreciating the humour more.

  7. I'm about half way through. When I was small we had a holiday home not far from Collioure where O'Brien lived. I only read his books when we are on the boat! It needs that slap, slap, jink jink in the rigging and the gentle movement to come alive!