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

4.37  ·  Rating Details  ·  7,686 Ratings  ·  227 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 January 15th 1980)
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Jason Koivu
May 01, 2015 Jason Koivu rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The glorious saga continues!

Ugh. "Saga." The word sounds bloated, melodramatically windswept, ponderous. I don't find Patrick O'Brian's seafaring war epic to be any of those things. It suits me.

Perhaps it will suit you, too. 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 m
Jun 28, 2015 Algernon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015

Who is this surgeon's mate that the title alludes to? I confessed that I was baffled for a long time reading this seventh title in the Patrick O'Brian acclaimed series. The surgeon is clearly Stephen Maturin, but he acts mostly as a lone wolf, a necessity of his involvement as a secret agent. His best friend, Captain Jack Aubrey of the Royal Navy, is cast in a position of authority rather than as a mate. Maturin takes no assistant to help him in his medical duties aboard ship, and a new characte
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
Webster Bull
Sep 25, 2011 Webster Bull rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 04, 2011 Wealhtheow rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
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
Nov 17, 2011 Susan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audio, 2011, jack-aubrey
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
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.
To date, five out of the seven have been Napoleonic spy stories, not Napoleonic naval stories. There is some enjoyment in the former, to be sure. But to compare O'Brian's heroes to Hornblower, Ramage, Parkinson, or even Kent/Reeman--well, I just don't understand. Aubrey loses more ships in these seven books then those other lead characters lose in each's entire series.

I may read more of the dozens of O'Brian books. But only after wrapping my head around the very different mission of O'Brian's mi
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
Edward Erdelac
Aug 30, 2011 Edward Erdelac rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 Everett
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-
Another fabulous instalment in the continued adventures of Captain Jack Aubrey and his BFF Dr Stephen Maturin that I hugely enjoyed, even if it was sadly interrupted by too much work and a new downstairs neighbour who likes to scream things that make no sense at regular intervals.

Having long been at sea, on landing in Nova Scotia Captain Aubrey has found himself having an ill-advised fling with a young flibbertigibbet who, as soon as he finally gets himself home again, is writing copious notes f
Leodora Murphy
Dec 29, 2013 Leodora Murphy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 20, 2009 Eric_W rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.)
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
Sep 05, 2010 Chuck rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Richard Burke
Jan 28, 2015 Richard Burke rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Series Overview.

I fell in love with the series from the opening scene of Master and Commander, and went on to read all 20 Aubrey-Maturin novels. The characters of Jack Aubrey and Dr. Stephen Maturin were initialized in that opening scene, and grew through the entire series. This is the best historical fiction I have read. In the series, I learned about British, French, Dutch, and Spanish naval operations during the Napoleonic wars. I also first learned of Napoleon's command and espionage structu
Jun 20, 2016 Monica rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's 1813, following the battle between the Shannon and Chesapeake, the British ship taking the captive American to Halifax with Aubrey, Maturin and Diana Villiers aboard. There the victorious troops are feted and entertained, while Aubrey is mercilessly pursued by a man hungry young woman , who envisions herself as Emma Hamilton with Aubrey as her Nelson. Maturin hands over the documents he stole in Boston and the two leave for England to take the news of Shannon's victory home. Off the banks o ...more
Jun 03, 2016 Jim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Aubrey & Maturin take a dispatch vessel back to England from Halifax, carrying the dispatches about the Shannon's victory over the Chesapeake. Johnson, the American spy and the father of Diana Villier's unborn child, sends two American privateers in pursuit. Arriving in England, they are sent to the Baltic. Aubrey must convey Maturin to Grimsholm, a heavily fortified island occupied by Catalan soldiers serving the French. Maturin must convince them to turn over the fortress to the British be ...more
Julie Davis
May 21, 2016 Julie Davis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book satisfyingly finished a trilogy contained within the mammoth 20-book series about Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin. An Amazon reviewer observed, these books are a "delicate balance between tension and joy." I'd say that especially applies to this one.

Although it was action-packed, the personal moments were what most gripped me. Jack's worry when Stephen was in danger several times, Stephen and Diana's teetering relationship (to which I'd finally reconciled myself ... if they wound up to
Feb 03, 2015 Ted rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's about time we got Captain Aubrey and Doctor Maturin home for a while, after captivity in America. Of course we need a little adventure along the way, and then some time to work out Aubrey's business entanglements and Maturin's work for the intelligence service. Just enough time for Maturin to find out that he missed a plum assignment, and then to learn a little later that the person so assigned had failed and so he must go anyway. And who else can go with him but Aubrey?

At this point I've s
Jan 12, 2015 Olgalijo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great character development, and some pretty funny scenes while showing plenty of interesting details of the era.
Mar 29, 2016 Lorne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Aubrey/Maturin series is some of the most immersive historical fiction I've ever read. Patrick O'Brian writes like he truly lived during the Napoleonic era. Not content to merely copy the stylings of Jane Austen and write beyond-detailed technical jargon, O'Brian has created a wonderfully realized world with two of the most well-rounded characters I've ever encountered. With each successive book, we learn a little more about the heroic, womanizing pun-enthusiast Captain Jack Aubrey and his b ...more
Dec 13, 2011 Deanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical, war
Another great installment in the series, somebody please tell me Aubrey has worked out there's more to Maturin than meets the idea.
Interesting to hear about the 1812 war, don't remember more than a passing mention in history at school.
Apr 17, 2014 Kevin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another superb O'Brian book. It took awhile for the action to get going but still a very good read.
May 23, 2016 Valerie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoy these books entirely too much.
wonderful mix of sea going adventure and onshore intrigue

As I read this series in succession, I worried that I would not care for any that emphasized Maturin's intelligence work over Aubrey's sailing, but this is the best of the series so far. It succeeds in large part because Maturin's work is so entwined with Aubrey's. Their fates are also entwined, so it leads you to care very much about what happens to them in military, political, and social travails. This is a truly excellent book.
Chris Conrady
Jun 02, 2016 Chris Conrady rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is my second or third this, the Seventh book in the Aubrey Maturin series.

This segment of the series focuses on a few new aspects of our key characters. It's been made clear that, although Captain Aubrey is of the highest caliber on sea, he's a bit out of sorts and some what of a lubber on land. It's been presented as mostly bad financial decisions to this point, but in The Surgeon's Mate, it shows that he shows equally bad judgement where love is concerned. An affair with a Ms. Smith and th
Apr 06, 2016 Alesh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Continuing my travels with Captain Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin, I have now reached the seventh chapter in this ongoing novel. The Surgeon’s Mate seemed a bit rambling even by O’Brian’s standards (although I suppose one might see the opening – Jack returning to the sea and the command of a ship – and the ending episodes – Jack fleeing a French prison – as variations on the theme of escape, thus placing a kind of parenthesis around the novel, a structure O’Brian seems fond of) and that is prob ...more
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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 about Patrick O'Brian...

Other Books in the Series

Aubrey & Maturin (1 - 10 of 21 books)
  • Master and Commander (Aubrey/Maturin, #1)
  • Post Captain (Aubrey/Maturin, #2)
  • H.M.S. Surprise (Aubrey/Maturin, #3)
  • The Mauritius Command (Aubrey/Maturin, #4)
  • Desolation Island (Aubrey/Maturin, #5)
  • The Fortune of War (Aubrey/Maturin, #6)
  • The Ionian Mission (Aubrey/Maturin, #8)
  • Treason's Harbour (Aubrey/Maturin #9)
  • The Far Side of the World (Aubrey/Maturin, #10)
  • The Reverse of the Medal (Aubrey/Maturin Book, #11)

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