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The Surgeon's Mate (Aubrey/Maturin Book 7) [UNABRIDGED] (Aubrey & Maturin #7)

4.36 of 5 stars 4.36  ·  rating details  ·  6,168 ratings  ·  165 reviews
Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin are ordered home by dispatch vessel to bring the news of their latest victory to the government. But Maturin is a marked man for the havoc he has wrought in the French intelligence network in the New World, and the attention of two privateers soon becomes menacing. The chase that follows through the fogs and shallows of the Grand Banks is as ...more
Published October 1st 2005 (first published 1980)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jason Koivu
The saga continues!

Ugh. "Saga." The word sounds bloated, melodramatically windswept, ponderous. I don't find Patrick O'Brian's long seafaring, war epic to be any of those things. It suits me. Perhaps it will suit you. Do you like historical fiction set circa the early 1800s? Do you like good, sometimes elegant writing? How about bursts of action aboard cannon-blasting ships? Contemplation of the human spirit? Observations on nature? Can you endure drawn-out scenes of everyday life that may seem
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Sherwood Smith
This is one of my favorites, which partially brings an arc to a close. These arcs are intersecting, which is one of the brilliant aspects of Patrick O'Brian's roman fleuve. But there is a sense of closure in this one, which (in a reread) marks a milestone.

Structurally, it is remarkable in a number of ways. It feels like three novellas tightly wired together. It begins with Aubrey and Maturin sailing triumphantly into Halifax with the news that the Shannon had defeated the Chesapeake. This ship-t
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Wealhtheow
Jack is deeply dismayed when a ill-judged fling in Nova Scotia threatens to come back to England and reveal his perfidy. He's thrilled to be ordered back to sea, this time to transport his friend Stephen to co-opt a Catalan base to England's side. Meanwhile, Stephen has just returned from a trip to Paris, where he presented a scholarly paper (very badly, though it was well received) and found a place for Diana to stay for her confinement. The mission is a success, the base is taken--and then on ...more
Webster Bull
There is a moment of great beauty in The Surgeon’s Mate, 7th of the historical novels by Patrick O’Brian known as the Aubrey-Maturin series. Ship’s doctor Stephen Maturin, a scientist–secret agent of mixed Irish and Catalan parentage, has climbed to the top of a mast aboard the British sloop Ariel, and is looking about him. The Ariel is headed home to England as part of a large flotilla in the time of the Napoleonic Wars. The fog is so thick that on deck visibility is near zero. But from his lof ...more
Susan
I really enjoyed this entry in the Jack Aubrey canon. Actually, I think it is one of my favorites, right up there with the first in the series.

The characters of Jack and Stephen continue to amaze and delight me in so many ways. I enjoy their dynamic together and how they deal with the situations they find themselves in.

The best part about these stories are the sea adventures and this one did not disappoint in that category.

However, as much as I commend the author on his wonderful storytelling, I
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Laura
From BBC Radio 4 Extra:
Benedict Cumberbatch reads the seventh historical novel in Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin series.

In the early summer of 1812, Captain Jack Aubrey and Dr Stephen Maturin arrive in Canada on HMS Shannon after escaping their American captors.

Produced and abridged by Lisa Osborne.
Edward Erdelac
Great installment. It's really at this point that I feel the Aubrey-Maturin series is less of a sequence of separate novels and more like overlarge chapters in one very large story. The events of the previous book led directly into this one. Maturin and Diana cross paths with the nefarious Johnson again, Jack has an ill-advised tryst with a loud mouthed society butterfly, and is humorously baffled by the boyish good looks of Lithuanian Swiss Army soldier Gedymin Jagiello and the incessant passes ...more
John E. Branch Jr.
Because other reviews here and elsewhere can provide a good account of this book, I won't try to. But I will offer a suggestion for anyone else who's reading the series.

Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin series of historical novels, which take place during the Napoleonic Wars, contain a vast number of unfamiliar terms, especially nautical and geographical ones. A careful reader can get the gist of what's being said, but a lot will remain vague. For instance, you can figure out hull-up versus hull-
...more
Leodora Murphy
I'll admit, I took a really long break shortly after starting this. It wasn't intentionally! So when I finally relocated my copy, the reading again went smoothly. And I must say; I really do love this series! If you're not used to it, it takes a page or two to get into the old fashioned jargon - but then it's smooth sailing (pun intended).

This particular novel I found extra enjoyable, as the enemy this time in parts of the book is my native country - Denmark. The british having bombed my capita
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Eric_W
You may remember from Fortune of War by Patrick O'Brian that Jack is without command after having sunk the Waakzaanheid, a Dutch 74. At home in England he finds he has been cheated by a scoundrel and Stephen is busily taking on a new espionage assignment that also gets Jack a ship, the Ariel. Jack hopes for a colonelcy, a device used to financially reward post-captains. When his wife Sophie protests that perhaps taking a colonelcy in the army with no duties attached might be considered corrupt J ...more
Christopher H.
This is a tight novel that covers a lot of ground (and ocean). The novel starts in Halifax, Nova Scotia shortly after H.M.S. Shannon's victory over the U.S.S. Chesapeake in Massachusetts Bay during the War of 1812. Then we experience a thrilling sea chase across much of the North Atlantic as Jack Aubrey, Stephen Maturin, and Diana Villiers are pursued by an American intelligence agent. After some time at home with his family at Ashgrove Cottage, Jack is again given a command on an important miss ...more
Chuck
64 out of 100 for 2010. I'm beginning to think I'm not going to make 100 books this year. . . not giving up, but it's going to be hard to get there.

This is the first of the 'Aubrey/Maturin' series that I've read, the series of books on which the film 'Master and Commander' was set. I enjoyed it a great deal; it does a good job of recreating life in the first two decades of the 1800s, and it recreates sea life in the 'under sail' navy. One learns a great deal about navigation and ships by reading
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Boots
it was very difficult to choose a star rating for this installment of the aubrey/maturin series. on the one hand, i can't stand diana and she was all over this in every worst way. on the other hand, once we got rid of her, there were some genuinely interesting moments ~ particularly an escape plot from a fortress which provided some solidly hilarious exchanges (reminding me why this series is fun!).

in the end i had to give it only two stars because it's about 150 pages too long and Lt. Pullings
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Duncan Mandel
EDITORIAL REVIEW: Aubrey and Maturin are ordered home by desptach vessel to bring the news of their latest victory to the government. But Maturin is a marked man for the havoc he has wrought in the French intelligence network in the New World, and the attentions of two privateers soon become menacing. EDITORIAL REVIEW: "Vividly detailed 19th-century settings and dramatic tension punctuated with flashes of wry humor make O'Brian's nautical adventure a splendid treat."�Publishers Weekly Jack Aub ...more
Christopher Taylor
After the breathtaking end of the last book in this series, The Surgeon's Mate starts a bit slow in the social scene of Halifax in 1812. Here O'Brian channels his inner Jane Austen and things move more into the territory of Post Captain, my least favorite of the series. Jack Aubrey, as is usual for his life on shore, gets himself into more trouble (with a manipulative woman, this time).

After a thrilling chase across the North Atlantic at breakneck speed for the time, Jack is back home to find th
...more
Cinzia
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Randy
Jack is indiscreet in Nova Scotia after the Shannon's great victory. His poor judgement follows him into the next book. On the way back to England there is an exciting chase through icebergs. Some time at home and then a nautical adventure that ends up on the rocks of the Brittany Coast. Jack, Stephen and the Swedish officer Jagiello are incarcerated in Paris. Stephen is interrogated while Jack and Stephen plan their escape. Stephen had earlier moved Diana to Paris where she could have the baby ...more
Richard
This book begins in the shadow of the great naval victory off the shore of Massachusetts, in which the British frigate "Shannon" defeated the American frigate "Chesapeake." In reality, the British public was ecstatic upon reaching the news of this victory, since it was the first significant defeat of an American ship in the War of 1812. Previously, American frigates had inflicted several well-publicized and grievous defeats to the British. The fictional Jack Aubrey, who was on the "Shannon" but ...more
Christine
You know you are reading an excellent book when you are disappointed that there are only 20 in the series. The Surgeon's Mate is the seventh of Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin novels. They are quality stuff.

Because there are so few in the series, my reading method is thus: read a book, wait some considerable time, read it again, before I move on to the next one. They are so packed with content and insight that there is much treasure to be rediscovered on re-reading. This was my second reading o
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Nelson
In some ways, this latest installment feels much more like Maturin's book than ever. While Aubrey's character has not completely stopped changing, his rate of development seems to have slowed a bit here. There is a tendency to use him almost exclusively for comic relief--his escapades ashore all feature different elements of his obliviousness and (at times) downright stupidity. Maturin on the other hand continues to develop. The love for Diana that seemed to have died in the previous books (desp ...more
Matthew
So, as usual, a note first about the narrator(s) of this series. Patrick O'Brian wrote 20 (and a half) Aubrey/Matchurin books before his death, and only 2 men have narrated all 20, Patrick Tull, and Simon Vance. I listened to Tull narrating the first 5 books of the series, because those were the versions my library had. For Desolation Island, I could only get a hold of the Simon Vance version. He is a highly capable narrator, but has no concept of the characters in this particular series (and hi ...more
Dorothy
Jack Aubrey is such a dunderhead on land. On sea, captaining a ship of His Majesty's Navy, he may be canny and virtually invincible - "Lucky Jack" they call him - but on land, his only luck seems to be bad and it's the luck that he makes for himself through utterly foolish decisions.

Time and again he's had to be rescued by his friend, the ship's surgeon Stephen Maturin. That will be the case again in The Surgeon's Mate, seventh in Patrick O'Brian's excellent historical naval fiction series of t
...more
Anna
The Aubrey/Maturin series continues to delight me. Unfortunately, in this one Stephen got few chances to observe rare wildlife and alarm sailors by brings bees, sloths, or penguins onboard. Nonetheless, 'The Surgeon’s Mate' included plenty of the usual wonderful character humour that O’Brian writes so well. No other writer can set characters at conversational cross purposes so perfectly.

Naturally, this episode also features exciting sea battles, frustrating bureaucracy, alarming storms, untrustw
...more
EJD Dignan
Repeated from review of Book 1

That Patrick O'Brian chose to place his characters on the sea in the not so distant past just raised the hurdle I had to leap to get to know this wonderful author.

I had never been enamored with sea stories, didn't much care for European history, and yet was wonderfully taken with this series. The sea is a major character, but history is not greatly illuminated, almost a backdrop to the specific circumstance the characters find themselves in. Which perhaps reflects t
...more
Gilly McGillicuddy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Neil

In The Surgeon's Mate, Patrick O'Brian finally brings the long journey of the previous few books to a conclusion. Aubrey, Maturin, and Diana escape North America, pursued by Johnson's hired fleet. The homecoming back to England is bittersweet: Jack's children don't recognize him, and he still has the problem of Kimber and his growing entourage to resolve. A moral lapse in Halifax has also brought new problems into Jack's life.

But the tragic hero of the grand narrative at this point is Stephen. H

...more
Angela
I'm posting this in March, but I'm counting it as a February read since I actually finished it in February! The Surgeon's Mate is my latest Aubrey-Maturin read, and while I do continue with the general Aubrey-Maturin love, I have to admit I found this one a bit erratic in quality.

There's a subplot with Jack that I found simultaneously amusing and annoying--and it winds up getting resolved in a way that really leaves nothing for Aubrey to do but privately angst about it for a little while and not
...more
Chris
Another great book in O'Brian's series about a captain in the British Royal Navy and his naturalist/physician friend during the Napoleonic wars. This one gets our main characters back on the high seas after a bit of a detour in America. Despite a couple of too-easy subplot resolutions at the end the book was excellent and a nice return to form for the series.

According to the cover, the New York Times Book Review calls this series, "The best historical novels ever written." I'm not normally one f
...more
Ken-ichi
God I love these books. All the old characters, jokes, language, so wonderful. Makes for great beach reading too.

Done
Another good'un, but possibly not quite up to snuff with the preceding books in this mini-trilogy. Not quite sure why I felt that way, just passages that didn't quite do it for me. Or maybe it was the intrusion of such modern trappings as telegraphy.

Quotes
After Jack delivers a long-winded explanation of how an accurate timepiece can reveal a ships longitude at sea, Stephen replies
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David Hambling
Hurrahhhhh!

Rip-roaring adventure, chock full of, blood and thunder, nail-biting escapades and desperate intrigue -- leavened with some laugh-out -loud wit and of course meticulously researched down to the last nail-head in the planking. Worth it for the opening g action alone, with one of the finest chase sequences you're likely to read on sea or on land.

Sheer joy from beginning to end.
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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
More about Patrick O'Brian...
Master and Commander (Aubrey/Maturin, #1) H.M.S. Surprise (Aubrey/Maturin, #3) Post Captain (Aubrey/Maturin, #2) The Mauritius Command (Aubrey/Maturin, #4) Desolation Island (Aubrey/Maturin, #5)

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“If men were to consider what they were at - if if they were to look around them, and reflect upon the cost of life in a universe where prisons, brothels, madhouses, and regiments of men armed and trained to kill other men are so very common - why, I doubt we should see many of these poor mewling little larval victims, so often a present misery to their parents and a future menace to their kind.” 5 likes
“And although in many cases these unions proved happy enough, sailors being excellent husbands, often away and handy about the house when ashore, it did make for a curious gathering when the spouses were invited to a ball.” 5 likes
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