The Fortune of War (Aubrey/Maturin, 6)
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The Fortune of War (Aubrey & Maturin #6)

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4.36 of 5 stars 4.36  ·  rating details  ·  6,202 ratings  ·  175 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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Jason Koivu
How much do I love these books? Let me count the ways...so 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...more
Cherie
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...more
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...more
Karla (Mossy Love Grotto)
(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...more
Wealhtheow
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...more
Ken-ichi
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
Nelson
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
Anne L.
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
"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
Angela
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...more
Edward Erdelac
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
Josh
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.
Cinzia
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
Jennifer
This was my favorite of the Aubrey/Maturin books so far. It had everything: excessively detailed seafaring jargon, espionage and spy adventures, daring escapes, wry humor, and of course Diana Villiers.
Duncan Mandel
EDITORIAL REVIEW: "A marvellously full-flavoured, engrossing book, which towers over its current rivals in the genre like a three-decker over a ship's longboat."'Times Literary Supplement Captain Jack Aubrey, R. N., arrives in the Dutch East Indies to find himself appointed to the command of the fastest and best-armed frigate in the Navy. He and his friend Stephen Maturin take passage for England in a dispatch vessel. But the War of 1812 breaks out while they are en route. Bloody actions precipi...more
Erica Anderson
Another installment in the Aubrey-Maturin series, balancing between naval warfare and developments in Stephen's personal life. Diana plays a relatively major role in this book, as do engagements with American frigates during the War of 1812. Jack Aubrey is aboard the HMS Java during its engagement with the USS Constitution, but holds no command in this book.

Fortune of War struck me as a short book, bridging more significant events in Aubrey's command. I nevertheless enjoyed it, despite the turn...more
Randy
Jack and Stephen's fortunes turn bad after their rescue from Desolation Island. They catch a ride home in a packet with important dispatches of their success in the cold south sea but end up captured by Americans and witnessing t a couple of important sea battles in the war of 1812. They are captured and end up in Boston where Louisa Wogan is friends with Diana who has become disenchanted with the American plantation owner Mr. Johnson. Johnson is a volunteer intelligence agent for the US and wor...more
brian dean
I gave it four stars but I am torn on what an accurate rating would be. O'brian seems to have written the series as one long book; of the few installments I have read, each ends in a vicious, successful sea-battle but otherwise the pace is slow. I definitely want to read more.

"The Fortunes of Sea-farers" might be a better title. Aubrey and Maturin barely manage to make harbour in a rotten, worn out ship in a South Pacific island and are sent aboard a wonderfully fast ship back to England only to...more
Richard
This is no doubt among the top of my favorites of the Patrick O'Brian series of novels concerning the heroic and colorful exploits of a Royal Navy ship commander and his ship's surgeon. The time frame of the novels covers the British War of 1812 with America as well as the continental wars with Revolutionary and Naponeonic France. The late O'Brian's web site contains an account of his very friendly reception in Boston on an American trip, and his enjoyment in visiting the "USS Constitution," a l...more
Eric_W
The sixth Aubry/Maturin — and they keep getting better and better, Brian finds the two friends prisoners of the Americans, the War of 1812 having begun. And not auspiciously for the British. The Americans with a completely volunteer navy (no press gangs for them) have been more than competently trained by their British cousins and have become more than a match for the British, who have become used to sweeping the seas of all opposition. The British have been blockading Boston and, to their humil...more
Christopher H.
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 pealing 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
Ensiform
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
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
The Fortune of War, sixth entry in Patrick O'Brian's historical tales of the seafaring adventures of Captain Jack Aubrey and Dr. Stephen Maturin, was first published in 1978, but the writing seems so fresh that it might have been published yesterday.

The two have just survived their adventure among the ice floes of the Antarctic and their stop on Desolation Island. Now, they arrive in the Dutch East Indies to find that Jack has been appointed to command the fastest and best-armed frigate in the R...more
John E. Branch Jr.
Comments, not a review:

It was only by mistake that I read this twice. Though the other volumes of the Aubrey-Maturin series that I've read are on my shelf, this one wasn't. Not until I had bought and read part of it did I have the feeling of having been here before. I didn't mind at all and kept going, glad to be back in the Age of Sail, when life and war were much different, though also much the same.

Every time I finish one, and especially this one, which leaves off somewhat in the middle of th...more
Seth Jacquay
Jolly good show! Love the Aubrey-Maturin books and The Fortune of Ware does not disappoint. Delving deeper into Stephen's spy game with French is a lot of fun even if it involves him "knocking a few of Frenchies on the head" in a pretty gruesome way. The ship battles with US were an interesting side note which had me running to Wikipedia to look up more about the War of 1812, USS Constitution, USS Chesapeake, Lawrence, Broke, and HMS Shannon as the book is based of historical events.

I find one o...more
Serge Boivin
The deeper I get into this series, the more I love and admire it, and I can't wait to keep going with the next novels.
Although each novel has the required naval battles, and this one is no exception, what is so engrossing is that there is so much more to to the story than just the battles. The intrigue and suspense in this novel is fresh and exciting, the humour is sprinkled throughout and comes at just the right moments, and the character development makes you want to read on and on.
With some...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.
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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...
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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--”
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“Wallis,' said Maturin, 'I am happy to see you. How is your penis?” 12 likes
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