Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Master and Commander: 20 Volume Set” as Want to Read:
Master and Commander:  20 Volume Set
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Master and Commander: 20 Volume Set

4.76  ·  Rating Details  ·  989 Ratings  ·  108 Reviews

Master & Commander;
Post Captain;
H.M.S. 'Surprise';
The Mauritius Command;
Desolation Island;
The Fortune of War;
The Surgeon's Mate;
The Ionian Mission;
Treason's Harbour;
The Far Side of the World;
The Reverse of the Medal;
The Letter of Marque;
The Thirteen-Gun Salute;
The Nutmeg of Consolation;
The Truelove/Clarissa Oakes;
The Wine-Dark Sea;
The Commodore;
The Yellow Ad
Published October 4th 2003
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Master and Commander, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Master and Commander

Harry Potter Boxset by J.K. RowlingJ.R.R. Tolkien 4-Book Boxed Set by J.R.R. TolkienThe Twilight Collection by Stephenie MeyerThe Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. LewisPercy Jackson and the Olympians Boxed Set by Rick Riordan
The Best Omnibuses and Box Sets
63rd out of 399 books — 1,598 voters
Pride and Prejudice by Jane AustenJane Eyre by Charlotte BrontëThe Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. TolkienWuthering Heights by Emily Brontë1984 by George Orwell
Best British and Irish Literature
197th out of 862 books — 974 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,652)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Vince Donovan
Apr 19, 2009 Vince Donovan rated it it was amazing
I will quote my wife here: "I don't care about England, I don't want to know anything about their navy, and I certainly don't give a shit about English naval battles in the 19th century. But once I got started on these books I couldn't stop."

And I will quote myself, speaking to a friend: "I was just thinking, hey, I haven't heard from those two guys in a while. The big loud sailor and his naturalist friend. Then I realized the reason why I hadn't heard from them: they are characters in a book. T
Michaux Dempster
May 17, 2013 Michaux Dempster rated it it was amazing
This is my third time through the series, and I am just as addicted as ever. The world that O'Brien has depicted, that of the British Navy during the Napoleonic wars, is just so detailed and fascinating, and the characters make me want to be a better person--more brave and strong and uncomplaining, with a better sense of humor. I don't know of another work of historical fiction that combines such a wealth of historical detail with such lovable characters and seemingly endless plot lines. Wish th ...more
Feb 24, 2011 Scott rated it it was amazing
Now that the series has been completely read (save for the handwritten, untyped portion of his last unfinished book: "21"), I can safely say that while I am saddened that more adventures of Maturin and Aubrey are not forthcoming, that they never ended. It is satisfying to know that life goes on for these best of friends, that Aubrey's blue flag has been raised at last, and Maturin's Love inexorably comes around to the prospect of marriage. The friendship and adventure in this historical fiction ...more
Julia Lundman
May 11, 2011 Julia Lundman rated it it was amazing
I am halfway through the series, book ten. So far I love these books. They are fascinating to read, although I must admit I sift through the battles. I realize a lot of people reading these books will be interested in the technical aspects of the battles between ships, however I am not so much. As a passive reader of the series, what I find most interesting is the weaving character narrative between Jack and Steven, and their surrounding shipmates and families on shore. So far very entertaining, ...more
Feb 13, 2010 Angels21k rated it it was amazing
This series is so well researched but that fact is an embellishment, not a'I have researched and you will read/wonder at the work I've dome.'
The world is full of well written, colourful characters. You live the history, cheer at victories, mourn at losses and laugh at the humour. ( I may never look at a bear in the same way.

It is also the first time I felt sea-sick whilst sitting in my own home/

Spies, battles. love, misunderstandings and friendship.

Love it.
Michael T
Jun 29, 2010 Michael T rated it it was amazing
If you can make it through the first 3/4 of the first book Master and Commander to the 1st tall ship battle, you will read all 20 books. Spectacular details on tall ships, international Napoleonic war, early medicine, food and spies. You will definitely start drinking port and saying things like "Sir, the bottle stands before you" to get someone pouring their glass and passing it on.
Adam Barr
Picked up the first of these from a side table at a Marrshfield, Mass. B&B and never put them down, through 20 volumes. Peerless historical fiction, one great novel spread over 20 books, one man composed of the personalities of two most different yet devoted of friends. Yes, like its time, the Aubrey-Maturin Series is very male, and peopled with a great deal of testosterone-washed personages. But the women characters, few though they be, stand in well-drawn relief to the dominant maleness. A ...more
Nov 24, 2014 Penelope rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nicholas Duffew
Dec 09, 2012 Nicholas Duffew rated it it was amazing
Phenomenal. I'm rarely envious of others' abilities but I wish I could write like O'Brian. When reading these books, you feel like are there, standing on the quarter-deck alongside Aubrey and Maturin with the sea heaving beneath your feet.

Although the series is fiction, many of the stories are based on real events and the books present a complete look at early 19th century British Naval life. If you're not a sailor, you might find some of the technical descriptions inaccessible, but that should
Sep 05, 2007 Sue rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone
These books were my absolute favorites of all time (so far!). When I first read the first in the series, Master and Commander, I really enjoyed getting to know the main characters, Captain Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin. I had already seen the movie with Russell Crowe and this book explained how they met. The sea battles were really good, even though I usually skim through that sort of thing. I started book #two suspecting I would get bored, that it would just be a bunch of sea battles, but I w ...more
No nautical fiction collection is complete without O'Brian's works. I plowed through every book in this series a few summer's ago. They were a small slice of heaven. They will absolutely not appeal to those unwilling to commit to long, detailed reads, nor will they particularly appeal to people who have no interest in the sea.

If, however, you enjoy Austin and well-crafted writing, are willing to commit to a series that develops characters slowly, over many books--you will cherish these.

I found t
Nicola Griffith
May 07, 2012 Nicola Griffith rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourite
The first book, Master and Commander, is essentially the opening chapter of a 20-volume novel set against the naval engagements of the Napoleonic wars. Jane Austen on a boat. Although the quality dims over the last five volumes, the first fifteen are faultless. I marvel at, to quote A.S. Byatt, O'Brian's 'prodigal specificity', his humane touch, his humor and subtlety, the perfect balance of exuberance and restraint, his unerring eye for the exact word, the comic detail, and his ability to delin ...more
RH Walters
Feb 24, 2010 RH Walters rated it really liked it
The ultimate bromance. I loved this entire series for its impeccable history, lovable characters, humor, tragedy and sharp sense of human nature and dynamics. A vivid portrait of the state of science and natural history, society and sea life during the Napoleonic wars. Each book has a picture of a ship with all the parts listed in the front. Admittedly did not understand everything about the sea battles. Could not put them down and was moved to chills/laughter/tears at several intervals througho ...more
Jan 24, 2015 Barbara rated it it was amazing
One of my top three authors. Loved all the books in the Aubrey-Maturin series. You can't help but fall in the love with the characters--not only captain Jack Aubrey and doctor/intelligence agent Stephen Maturin, but the wide cast of shipmates, families and friends. O'Brian is not only a great writer but captures the time in a way that is both accurate and fascinating.
Alan James
Apr 10, 2009 Alan James rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written high seas adventure. I learned a great deal about the 18th and 19th century naval technology and the way sailors lived. the entire series is a must read. The books are written in the vernacular of the times, which was a little difficult at first. If you read a lot however, this will present no problem and actually adds to the pleasure.
Apr 24, 2010 Terrijo rated it it was amazing
Patrick O'Brian wrote the definitive series of historical, nautical fiction and created a pair of characters easily as memorable as Holmes & Watson. Stephen Maturin and Capt. Jack Aubrey will live forever in the "Aubreyad"! This pair make Hornblower look like a pansy!
Pam Blehert
Jul 02, 2009 Pam Blehert rated it it was amazing
This is an extraordinary series by Patrick O'Brian. You will have to use a dictionary. Also, there's a lexicon someone produced containing many of the time- and place-specific terms that is invaluable. But this series is true literature!
Jul 03, 2009 Jon rated it it was amazing
Undoubtedly one of the best series of historical novels every written. I love the maritime aspects, but accessible to anyone with an interest in historical fiction.
Oct 29, 2009 Carolyn rated it it was amazing
Have now read all of this seafaring series. It's fabulous! one reviewer says "History as it must have felt." which sums it up very well.
Zack Wilson
Aug 01, 2008 Zack Wilson rated it it was amazing
Fantastic sea adventures with brilliant and subtle characters, wonderfully evoked settings, human flaws and occasional heroism.
Aron Wagner
Sep 01, 2009 Aron Wagner rated it it was amazing
I read these whenever I want to totally lose myself in a book. They are my go-to escape novels. The characters are masterful.
Apr 14, 2009 Ross rated it it was amazing
That this indeed is the best historical novel series ever written
Michael Lavelle
Dec 06, 2010 Michael Lavelle rated it it was amazing
I recommend this series to everyone. An ocean of pleasure
Pam Davidson
Jan 23, 2011 Pam Davidson rated it it was amazing
Fabulous! I devoured these books!
Aug 06, 2011 Michael rated it it was amazing
The Most Awesome Collection of 19th-Century British Nautical Adventure Ever Written

Okay, that makes it pretty much a tight genre, but I super dug the whole damned collection. Where to start? How about, for 20 novels reviewed at once, we go for Q&A?

Q1) Why review all 20 at once, instead of individually?
A1) Well, mostly because I don't get paid to do this. But also because of the content. A few of the novels read well as individuals, that much is true, but there are more than a few "transition
Nicholas Thurn
Jan 08, 2012 Nicholas Thurn rated it it was amazing
One may say of his magnum opera, in crass memoriam to a writer who devoted so much of his productive life to the writing of sea-stories, that they instantly re-defined the genre. It shouldn't cast too far from the probable truth to suggest, however, that in writing so thoroughly, so consistently, in devotion to the topic that appears to have sustained much of his life's interest, perhaps many of reading public may have dismissed this weighty series as simply a long-continued, kindly obliging fix ...more
Julian Griffith
Dec 28, 2012 Julian Griffith rated it it was amazing
Actually I have them all in the Norton paperbacks, bought separately, but this seemed easier.

These books? Changed my life.

Because, without them, I would not have fallen in love with the Age of Sail, and if I hadn't done that, I'd never have written the novel I did.

I was lured into reading them by Steven Brust, when I had the good fortune to meet him at a science fiction convention in 1997, by his quoting the immortal line "Jack! You have debauched my sloth!"

There's a toy sloth named Stephen and
Mar 13, 2011 Teri rated it it was amazing
I rarely read books more than once, but I have gone to sea with Captain Jack Aubrey and Dr Stephen Maturin, the entire 20 audio books series, three times. I consider author Patrick O'Brian to be the 20th Century's Charles Dickens in his style, characterization and ability to weave together plot and sub-plot. Yes, these books primarily take place aboard one of the British Royal Navy's vessels, so you have to become accustomed to the lingo of the people who command and make up the complement of ta ...more
Aug 16, 2015 Don rated it it was ok
The first few books in the series were tough to get through, the middle group is a little more readable but at the end it's just a swamp of words and filler to slog through. "Every word must pay its way" I was told by a college writing professor. O'Brian fails miserably here. The excessive, irrelevant, unnecessarily wordy detail of the writing finally did me in and I abandoned the series in the middle of the Yellow Admiral; it was just impassable for me – a swamp too far.

I also found O'Brian ver
Marcus Ward
Jan 12, 2016 Marcus Ward rated it it was amazing
I have gotten to a point in my life where if a book, or set of books, is really good, I will read it more than once. I'm on my second read-through of this series and it's still just as good as the first time around, even more so, since you have a feel for what's going on and can pay more attention to the nuances. Outstanding series. The first read through took me 7 months.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 55 56 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Horatio Hornblower 1 - 11.
  • Mr. Midshipman Easy
  • By Force of Arms (Isaac Biddlecomb, #1)
  • Fire Down Below (To the Ends of the Earth, #3)
  • Dangerous Waters
  • Vinland
  • Patrick O'Brian's Navy
  • A Sea of Words: A Lexicon and Companion to the Complete Seafaring Tales of Patrick O'Brian
  • The War for All the Oceans: From Nelson at the Nile to Napoleon at Waterloo
  • Christmas At Thrush Green
  • Power and Influence
  • Deadly Nightshade
  • Harvard Classics:  Five Foot Bookshelf
  • Delivered from Evil: The Saga of World War II
  • The Oxford English Dictionary: 20 Volume Set and CD-ROM [With CDROM]
  • The Egyptian Jukebox: A Conundrum
  • The Interrogator: An Education
Patrick O'Brian's acclaimed Aubrey/Maturin series of historical novels has been described as "a masterpiece" (David Mamet, New York Times), "addictively readable" (Patrick T. Reardon, Chicago Tribune), and "the best historical novels ever written" (Richard Snow, New York Times Book Review), which "should have been on those lists of the greatest novels of the 20th century" (George Will).

Set in the
More about Patrick O'Brian...

Share This Book