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The Fortune of War (Aubrey & Maturin #6)

4.38  ·  Rating Details  ·  7,982 Ratings  ·  242 Reviews
This time it's the War of 1812 that gets in the way of Captain Jack Aubery's plans. Caught en route to England in a dispatch vessel, Aubrey and Maturin are soon in the thick of a typically bloody naval engagement. Next stop: an American prison, from which only Maturin's cunning allows them to engineer an exit.
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Published December 1st 2004 by Blackstone Audiobooks (first published 1978)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jason Koivu
How much do I love these books? Let me count the far, we're up to six. Six splendiferous volumes of early 19th century seafaring goodness!

By the sixth of this series of twenty, I was fully enamored of the characters, the story, the writing - the whole kit and kaboodle! Although I've become more critical in my appraisal of O'Brian's work with each rereading, it still stands up as some of my favorite writing of all time. Granted, to be sympatico as book besties, you too would need to be
Jan 18, 2015 Algernon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015

I see no sign of diminishing interest in the Aubrey-Maturin adventures for me. Like one of the frigates described here, the series pushes on with all sails hoisted proudly, with a fair wind pushing the friends forward to distant, exotic shores.
These winds were actually tempestuous in the last installment (Desolation Island), describing one of the most fraught with danger and disaster journeys, as plague, Dutch raiders, hurricanes, icebergs, mutiny on board and hostile American sloops prevent Jac
Sherwood Smith
One of my favorites, in which Stephen gets to be seriously badass.

There are two ship battles, both based on historical battles, complete to living commanders. To get Jack Aubrey in, he has to be a guest, and then a prisoner of war. We also see them in a shipwreck. It's interesting to see Jack under extreme duress, in circumstances he cannot control, and Stephen's internal life, while always fascinating, brings him near to discovery.

Diana Villiers is back, complicated, in as much turmoil as Steph
Mar 30, 2014 Cherie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-audio
The stories have really turned into a series with this book, more than the others. This one did not start off with Jack and Stephen at home in England. They were going home, but were captured by an American ship and taken to Boston, as prisoners of war after the War of 1812 broke out between England and the United States. Jack was hurt badly and Stephen was not sure he was going to save his right arm for a while. Then he gets pneumonia.

Stephen spends much of his time, when not with Jack, trying
(Listened to the unabridged audiobook, narrated by Patrick Tull.)

Huzzah, I finally liked Diana in this one. Don't get me wrong - she's sassy and tough and has great one-liners, but in this one she really had me LOLing with her comments on her American lover, the "parish bull" Johnson. I actually felt sorry for the poor woman. Overall she seemed less the callous and bitchy femmy fataly than in previous books. My only regret is that a stupid American ship prevented her and Stephen from tying the k
Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.)
I know that some might be tempted to label this, the sixth installment in the 'Aubreyiad,' to be "slow." In actuality, this novel is one of the most brilliantly crafted and erudite novels written in the English language. Like peeling an onion, the reader discovers in the layers that Patrick O'Brian has not only provided some incredible naval action with the great guns and all; but has also taken the opportunity to provide a significant amount of backstory and extensive character development asso ...more
Jul 21, 2011 Wealhtheow rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
In which Maturin and Aubrey become prisoners of war of the newly formed United States, both are suspected of being spies, and Diana Villers is back. Daring escapes! Love affairs! Cold blooded murders! And of course, exciting ship battles!

It's a bit odd to see the early US from a British POV, especially since so many of the American characters seem to think they're British. Aubrey and Maturin are in fine form once more--their banter is top notch, and I love the little moments where the reader can
Nov 19, 2008 Ken-ichi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Honestly, they're like candy. Even episodes like this one which take place predominantly on shore, as Jack and Stephen are "held" as prisoners of war in Boston. Naval warfare in this age just seems so preposterous in these books that I have difficulty believing it, but by all reports O'Brian was a fastidious scholar, so I guess I have to. Treating your defeated opponent to the highest civilities in the name of honor while simultaneously crystalizing the shame of defeat in the same act just seems ...more
Jul 28, 2011 Nelson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another four star winner. The damn things are so consistent, yet varied as well. For the money, this one has more suspense than the previous five by far, and Aubrey isn't even in command of a vessel in this novel. It's another book given over more to Maturin and his spycraft. And yet the final third of the novel features some deft maneuvering by Aubrey, both on land and at sea. The pages really fly by in this one. O'Brian's solution to the problem of tying his protagonists in to real world event ...more
Jun 21, 2011 Ensiform rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
Picking up right where the previous book, Desolation Island, left off, this chapter in the ongoing “Aubreyad” finds Stephen and Jack sailing into the Spice Islands, where they hitch a ride home on a boat that burns; nearly dying of thirst, they sail to another ship, only to be taken prisoner by an American vessel, as the war of 1812 has just broken out. Prisoners in Boston, Stephen finds himself the interest of an American intelligence officer who is rather chummy with the French, and his identi ...more
Anne L.
Nov 06, 2011 Anne L. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Do you like battles, intrigue, world travel, exotic locales and foods, humor, and all things nautical? Then the Aubrey/Maturin novels by Patrick O’Brian are for you. But I must warn you, work your way through the series sequentially for your first read, else you’ll be lost. But once you’ve met the cast of fantastic characters and can make your way around a British man-of-war or frigate, feel free to dip into any book for a vacation from the mundane world. The books revolve around the friendship ...more
Mike Rogers
Jan 16, 2012 Mike Rogers rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"The Fortune of War" is the sixth book in Patrick O'Brian's amazing Aubrey/Maturin series of historical novels about the British Navy (for further explanation, and a review of the first book in the series, see my review of "Master & Commander"). In this installment, much of the action actually takes place in America. It's the War of 1812 and the British have suffered a number of setbacks in the Atlantic. "Lucky" Jack Aubrey's vessel is defeated and captured which sets up the action on shore ...more
Dec 22, 2008 Angela rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think I got a little bit too eager about this one--not that it was bad, not in the slightest, but more that I was slightly disappointed that it wasn't quite as fantabulous as I was hoping.

There was some great Stephen mileage, to be sure, but not nearly enough Jack. Part of this of course has to be attributed to the fact that Jack spends most of the book wounded and ill, and O'Brian seems to shunt a lot of that kind of thing off-camera. Even when we get some good Jack mileage, it's only passing
Jul 02, 2015 NMCannon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love this series. I love how fleshed out Jack & Stephen are, how O'Brian fits in little fun moments between them in story full of life-threatening adventures. O'Brian's style and evident research continues in strength through book 6, with extra emphasis on spycraft and the ins and outs of Stephen's complicated heart. The Aubrey/Maturin remains my go-to definitive work when I long for the Age of Sail, and I look forward to the rest of the series.
this was the weakest in the series so far, i think. started out well enough with some taut naval action that leaves our heroes in an open boat and at the mercy of the fates, but once they are rescued and subsequently captured and end up in America things get dull for more than 100 pages; just a lot of endless nattering about Stephen's dull spy intrigues and a stupid love intrigue between Diana, Louisa, Herapath, and Johnson.

it probably says more about me than the books that i can't stand Diana
David Miller
pros- enemy is mostly americans and set largely in boston so that is more relatable for me than desolation island or india etc so that was nice
cons- not nearly enough of jack fighting on sea. even tho i know captain jack is gonna win i still love to read it! during one major battle in this book he is essentially a spectator noting things that are going wrong. i wanted him to be like 'dont u know who i am? im freaking lucky jack aubry! get out the way and i'm taking over ...'
Mar 03, 2016 Don rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sea-and-sailors
Finally one of O'Brians Aubrey-Maturin novels in which Dr. Maturin comes out of the shadow, and the obligatory victorious naval battle is reduced to 15 minutes (that's not a spoiler in my review, is it?). Not that I have anything against the naval battle accounts, but nice to see some variation on the theme of the novel series. I was again (like with the previous novels in the series) thoroughly amused by the book!
Edward Erdelac
Jul 05, 2011 Edward Erdelac rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent! Jack is grounded in Boston after his ship the Java is taken by the Constitution in the War of 1812. As longtime readers know, being landlocked is Jack's kryptonite, and there's a hilarious bit in here where he's held over in a lunatic asylum and mistakes a contingent of American naval officials as inmates. Meanwhile, Stephen Maturin is practically the star of this adventure, pulling the wool over French intelligent agents' eyes in spectacular fashion and pulling Diana Villiers out of ...more
Jan 25, 2015 Andrew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another enjoyable chapter in this very long saga. Some of these books can bog down in details and story, but not this one. It is especially interesting to see the development of the American Revolution from the British point of view, and especially from a point of view that's not connected to policy, but only tangentially related to (but certainly very affected by) the uprising and war.
Mar 10, 2015 Victor rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Aubrey / Maturin series is filled with the thrill of adventure. This particular book is no exception. ...
Oct 29, 2015 Linda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
We just finished a 2500 mile trip to Florida and back and I-95 gets to be very long so I checked out a few audio books to help the miles pass and this is the only one that we got truly interested in and we managed to finish it before we got home. I had read Master and Commander before (and seen the movie) so I thought that we would enjoy a book from this series and we did. In this episode Captain Aubrey and his friend and surgeon Maturin take ship back to England as Aubrey has been given command ...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
J. Carroll
Jan 17, 2014 J. Carroll rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is O'Brian at his finest. There is plenty of action in the sweeping story, and plenty of tension. The real payoff is in the deep exploration of Stephen's character. The dialog sparkles and the setting of a fogbound 1813 Boston is simply superb. Desolation Island, this book and The Surgeon's Mate are, I think, the strongest three of the entire series. Intrigue, adventure and humor are never better and O'Brian's style is at its high point.
Apr 04, 2016 Jefferson rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
Cloak-and-Dagger During the War of 1812

The Fortune of War (1979) is the sixth novel in Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin early 19th-century age of sail series, which so far coheres into a single composite novel depicting the friendship, careers, and romances of "Lucky" Jack Aubrey, captain in the British Navy, and Stephen Maturin, naval surgeon, secret agent, and internationally renowned natural philosopher. The novel begins not long after the fifth book, Desolation Island, concludes, the HMS Leo
Muthuprakash Ravindran
I've been reading this series in a non-linear way and hence the interesting ones(or what I perceive as interesting) are read first. This book interested me since it is set during the war of 1812. The naval battles in that war are actually a side show with the war with Tecumseh being the one which pushed US into the west finally. And Stephan actually becomes a serious Bond-like spy in this one, killing of the French agents, sneaking away in a basket and of course, the entanglement with Diana. Jac ...more
Jan 21, 2015 Sara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is the grand and satisfying culmination of O'Brian's first 5 novels in the Aubrey/Maturin series. It is truly a masterpiece, with everything from shipwreck survival in the scorching heat of the Atlantic to a pitched and deliberate battle just outside Boston harbour which turns the tide of the naval war of 1812 in favour of the British. O'Brian's description of the silence before this battle is unforgettable, the suspense of it, and the awe of what courage it took to do battle in these ...more
Sarah Bynum
Nov 25, 2014 Sarah Bynum rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't relish the romance-driven onshore novels as much, as I go in for the sea adventure aspects rather than the Jane Austen effect. Nevertheless, this series continues to be immensely enjoyable - even though Stephen increases in his Mary Sue-ness. But what he did on page 2113 (of the 5-volume collection) - damn! Definitely not Jane Austen! (well, maybe "Old Harry's Game" Jane Austen..). It was fun to see Jack & Stephen in America (more fun for me than for them). Also, we've reached the po ...more
Julie Davis
Apr 27, 2016 Julie Davis is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: i-m-listening
After the heroics of Desolation Island I just had to keep going for the next Aubrey-Maturin adventure ... Patrick Tull narrating as always.

I'm especially interested in this one since the Americans are going to war with the British. There's a nice set up bridging from Desolation Island to this book where you find out that neither Lucky Jack nor Doctor Maturin approve of war with America, for varying reasons. So that leaves us free to watch as the inevitable war looms nearer and nearer.

I'm in the
Dec 31, 2014 Ted rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book skips a little after the end of the previous adventure, leaving out a lot of messing about with Leopard in Botany Bay. Not long after that Captain Aubrey is without a ship once more, and remains so for the rest of this volume. He is happy to lend a hand with others though for two good naval actions, while the rest of the story focuses mostly on Doctor Maturin.

The War of 1812 is not a popular chapter of US history. While there were great motives for the US to declare war on Great Britai
Ed Holden
May 05, 2015 Ed Holden rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book and its immediate antecedent, Desolation Island, are perhaps the best of the series so far. Throwing out the traditional seafaring story arc for a more haphazard adventure serves the story and its characters well, and while this book does end with a major battle (I guess O'Brien couldn't resist finishing on that note for two books in a row) much of the book involves the consequences of failure, with Jack and Stephen having the misfortune of being aboard the HMS Java during its histori ...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 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)
  • The Reverse of the Medal (Aubrey/Maturin Book, #11)

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“...looking angrily at the wombat: and a moment later, 'Come now, Stephen, this is coming it pretty high: your brute is eating my hat.'
'So he is, too,' said Dr. Maturin. 'But do not be perturbed, Jack; it will do him no harm, at all. His digestive processes--”
“Wallis,' said Maturin, 'I am happy to see you. How is your penis?” 12 likes
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