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The Reverse of the Medal (Aubrey/Maturin Book 11)
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The Reverse of the Medal (Aubrey & Maturin #11)

4.39  ·  Rating Details ·  6,187 Ratings  ·  188 Reviews
Captain Jack Aubrey, R. N., ashore after a successful cruise, is persuaded by a casual acquaintance to make certain investments in the City. This innocent decision ensnares him in the London criminal underground and in government espionage—the province of his friend Stephen Maturin. Is Aubrey's humiliation and the threatened ruin of his career a deliberate plot? This dark ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published November 17th 1994 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published 1986)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jason Koivu
“I do not say that all lawyers are bad, but I do maintain that the general tendency is bad: standing up in a court for whichever side has paid you, affecting warmth and conviction, and doing everything you can to win the case, whatever your private opinion may be, will soon dull any fine sense of honour. The mercenary soldier is not a valued creature, but at least he risks his life, whereas these men merely risk their next fee.”
― Patrick O'Brian, The Reverse of the Medal

I'm looking forward to r
...more
Nelson
Sep 23, 2011 Nelson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
These novels are maddeningly, consistently, entertainingly four-star novels. Until now. O'Brian's writing is as incisive as ever, his well-developed sense of irony as sharp here as in any of the previous books. But from almost the first word through the incredibly thrilling conclusion, this entry is just a slightly more brilliantly plotted work than what has come before. There are more surprises and amazing turns of narrative here than in perhaps the last two or three combined--and that is reall ...more
Michael
This one is mainly of interest for O’Brian fans (like me). I wouldn’t recommend it to someone new to this series about British Naval activities in the Napoleanic Wars. This is because most of the novel’s action takes place on land. There is an exciting chase of Jack’s frigate in pursuit a privateer in the first part of the book, but we are deprived of a chance to see his special friend and ship’s surgeon, Stephen Maturin, engage in his naturist avocation in exotic locales. Those who have already ...more
Sherwood Smith
My history with this book serves as proof that I at least cannot do justice to a series if I don't begin at the beginning.

When I first heard of the Aubrey/Maturin series, I took a look for it in the bookstore. This particular book was the only one available. I read the first few pages and had no idea what was going on or who anyone was, so I put it back.

The next time I picked up this book was after I’d read the previous ones in the series. This time all of the background was there. The threads
...more
Ken-ichi
Nov 08, 2009 Ken-ichi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another fun romp, but ... the ending! Or lack there of! Now I must buy the next.

Words (that I looked up in a wonderful, dead-tree dictionary, which felt awesome)

andiron (n): the metal stand that holds wood in a fire place (p. 189)
chirurgical (adj): of or pertaining to surgery (from A Sea of Words) (p. 162)
chouse (v): to dupe or swindle (from A Sea of Words) (p. 269)
delf (n): glazed earthenware made in Delft (my dictionary lists it as "delft") (p. 189)
myrmidion (n): a hired goon or lowly servant.
...more
Nooilforpacifists
Primarily of interest to those who know of Lord Cochrane's trial for stock fraud.
Karla
The most bromancey book of the series so far. Stephen's use of his huge wealth, solely for Jack's freedom and happiness and pride, brought tears to my eyes. My beautiful boys... *sniff*
Ben
Jan 26, 2013 Ben rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have a true confession: Patrick O'Brian has made me a fan of naval historical fiction. His engrossing world in both The Reverse of the Medal and the entire Aubrey-Maturin Series is at once as alien as any science fiction story and yet startlingly compelling. Readers who embark on this series of books will find the Napoleonic language difficult at first, but will be well-rewarded in the end as they become immersed in it. On the human side, O'Brians characters are flawed and yet thoroughly lik ...more
Robert
Oct 17, 2013 Robert rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
This is the eleventh in the Aubrey/Maturin series of novels, which stretches to twenty volumes completed in the author's lifetime and a 21st published posthumously having (I assume) been finished or at least tidied up by another.

THIS REVIEW HAS BEEN CURTAILED IN PROTEST AT GOODREADS' CENSORSHIP POLICY

See the complete review here:

http://arbieroo.booklikes.com/post/33...
Julie Davis
I never enjoy it when Jack is on land as he makes so many huge mistakes. Obviously he's meant for the sea. And he continues his usual pattern, though I really enjoyed the ending affirmation of his worth. It was much needed after the doom and gloom of the rest of the book. And at least Dr Maturin's spy brain seems to have reset, albeit also in the end of the book. So that's something.

Overall, the last few books truly fulfill, as many have said before me, the idea of being "chapters" as it were of
...more
Cherie
Sep 29, 2015 Cherie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: series, read-audio
I am in awe that O'Brian's stories of Jack and Stephen and the crew of The Surprise keep getting better and better. One unexpected event after another. This one takes place mostly on land, but what a shock and a cliff hanger of an ending.
Ron
May 19, 2011 Ron rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Though based on historic events and no less well-written than other episodes of the Aubery/Maturin saga, it's all getting a bit repetitive.

Die-hards will enjoy it; others will wonder what the fuss is about.
Anna
Nov 26, 2015 Anna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Unusually for a Master and Commander novel, whilst reading ‘The Reverse of the Medal’ I was almost more diverted by the plot than the character interactions. Whilst the latter were, as ever, charming and delightful, it was a more plot-driven installment than usual. This may have been connected to being set largely on land, in England. Also, Aubrey and Maturin did not spend a large portion of the book in each other’s company, their conversations largely being with others. Nonetheless, the whole w ...more
Kevin
Mar 20, 2015 Kevin rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
My least favorite of the series so far. The ending is kind of cute and it leads nicely into the next book, but there is simply not enough action.
Marcus
Aug 27, 2015 Marcus rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great story of course as expected with an extremely bittersweet ending. I may not be able to wait long for the next one.
Christopher Taylor
This was the book I was dreading as I re-read the series. It is one of the toughest stories of the entire Aubrey-Maturin series. The story starts out well enough with an exciting chase of a privateer which for once ends poorly and Aubrey doesn't get his target.

Then the plot thickens. The enemies of both set traps to destroy both of the pair and while Stephen dodges his, Aubrey does not. Following the storyline of Lord Cochrane's stock market debacle, Aubrey gets stuck in a political scheme to de
...more
Em
Jan 03, 2015 Em rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jamie Collins
A re-read: I'm slowly revisiting this series in audio book format during long drives.

This is the one where Jack Aubrey, who is not always astute on land, is tricked into instigating stock fraud. His prosecution is based on the trial of Lord Cochrane during the Great Stock Exchange Fraud of 1814. The outcome of the trial (view spoiler).

This book has the lovely scene
...more
Gilly McGillicuddy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Webster Bull
Jun 10, 2016 Webster Bull rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a way to launch the second decade in the Aubrey-Maturin series—with only one failed chase and not a single sea battle. All of Jack and Stephen’s considerable troubles here occur on land—Jack’s as the result of a poor investment (big surprise, not), Stephen’s stemming from intrigues that began in previous volumes and now coming to a head.

“Reverse” contains arguably the most powerful scene in Jack Aubrey’s long career to date, just when he seems about to endure his greatest humiliation. What
...more
Becca
Mar 30, 2009 Becca rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book really probably deserves 4 stars, but since it took place almost entirely on shore and it involves poor Jack getting into yet more financial trouble, I didn't enjoy it as much. I actually set it down part way through because I didn't want to read about the trouble I could see coming. Then a month and a half later I found myself with nothing to read and in boredom picked it back up. I was surprised to find I had already read over half of it. Turns out I'd read the worst of it, and from ...more
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
...more
Adam Wiggins
Old-timey run-on sentences and martime jargon to make your head spin. But tells an engaging story nevertheless. The ship chase in chapter 3 is a truly majestic piece of writing.
Andrew Conlon
Jul 14, 2014 Andrew Conlon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am nearly done reading this brilliant series of books, and to be honest the only thing slowing me down is the delay in obtaining the next titles in the series. O'Brian writes with great technical skill, attention to detail, and sense of adventure, but his humanity and eloquence really shine through with protagonists Maturin and Aubrey. I choose to review this title and no others because it is the only narrative to take place nearly entirely on terra firma- there are no great sea voyages in thi ...more
Dan Glover
Mar 20, 2014 Dan Glover rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, favorites
Most of the action in this book takes place on land rather than at sea. There is a tense chase at sea, however, which is one of the finest chases in the series. The action on land is not of a military nature, being intrigue and centred on some double agents trying to undo Aubrey and Maturin. While not one of my favourites in the series thus far, still a very satisfying read. O'Brian has created one of the truly great and authentic friendships in literature.
Xoxe Garcia
Curiosamente, pese a que es un libro escrito en 1986 y trata sobre un caso real ocurrido a principios del siglo XIX en Inglaterra ante Lord Thomas Cochrane, una persona cuyo único delito fue el de ser hijo de un político del Partido Radical Conservador y que sirvió como cabeza de turco para que el poder establecido en el gobierno pudiera acabar o desprestigiar a la oposición.

Digo curiosamente porque a día de hoy, al menos en España, podemos ver a diario lo que ocurre en esta novela y es el uso d
...more
John Everett
A point made frequently in Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey-Maturin series of historical novels is that even the most canny and cunning of naval men will, when they return to land, likely find themselves rather at sea. Stephen’s friend Martin remarks on it here, noting that “sailors ashore are not always as cautious as they should be, considering the rapacious duplicity of certain landsmen,” and the point is dramatized again in the action of this novel.

Though a part of it takes place in the port of Brid
...more
Jim
Jul 16, 2016 Jim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
H.M.S. Surprise stops at an English naval base in the Caribbean on its way back to England to be decommissioned. While there, Captain Aubrey gets a surprise of his own. He meets a child he fathered long before he met Sophie. And this now grown man visited Sophie in England! What kind of reception awaits Captain Aubrey upon his return home?

A naive Captain Aubrey takes a stock tip from someone he doesn't know and shares it with his father, General Aubrey. Powerful political enemies of General Aubr
...more
Michael
Nov 03, 2015 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1980s

An important book in shaping the overall arc of the series, it is one of the less ripping installments to read. The problem is that so much of it -- and there's no nice way of saying this -- takes place on land. Still, second-rate Aubrey/Maturin is still better than most of written literature.

Read November 2012.
Listened October 2015.
Sandi
Oct 04, 2009 Sandi rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Am surprised O'Bryan wrote a book that cannnot stand alone. I guess most serial writers end up doing that after the first few but this book really left you hanging without resolution. Also too much parliamentary stuff and not enough naval battle stuff. Actually no naval battles just one unsuccessful chase.
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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...

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 Surgeon's Mate (Aubrey/Maturin, #7)
  • The Ionian Mission (Aubrey/Maturin, #8)
  • Treason's Harbour (Aubrey/Maturin #9)
  • The Far Side of the World (Aubrey/Maturin, #10)

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“He sat on as the sun's rays came slowly down through the trees, lower and lower, and when the lowest reached a branch not far above him it caught a dewdrop poised upon a leaf. The drop instantly blazed crimson, and a slight movement of his head made it show all the colours of the spectrum with extraordinary purity, from a red almost too deep to be seen through all the others to the ultimate violet and back again.” 15 likes
“I do not say that all lawyers are bad, but I do maintain that the general tendency is bad: standing up in a court for whichever side has paid you, affecting warmth and conviction, and doing everything you can to win the case, whatever your private opinion may be, will soon dull any fine sense of honour. The mercenary soldier is not a valued creature, but at least he risks his life, whereas these men merely risk their next fee.” 11 likes
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