Desolation Island (Aubrey & Maturin #5)
"The relationship [between Aubrey and Maturin]...is about the best thing afloat....For Conradian power of description and sheer excitement there is nothing in naval fiction to beat the stern chase as the outgunned Leopard staggers through mountain waves in icy latitudes to escape the Dutch seventy-four."â��Stephen Vaughan, ObserverCommissioned to rescue Governor Bligh of...more
Desolation Island and all of the Aubrey/Mat...more
One of my favorite P.O'B. books.
Further thoughts (on the fourth or fifth reading): This book is a classic 'out of the frying pan, into the fire' adventure. Fro...more
Holy shit, look at all that stuff! Mutineers! Sexy lady spies! Plagues! What isn't to like here?
First, a few corrections t...more
But O'Brian never does that. Never. And we're talking p...more
Loved this story, the best of the lot I've read since Post Captain (though every single one is head and shoulders above most historical fiction I've ever read). It was quite different from the previous books, with the "action" being more of the episodic type aboard the HMS Leopard on its trip around the Cape, en route to Australia on a mission. The mission itself is secondary, as things like typhus, female prisoner...more
This book begins my favorite of the story arcs in the Aubrey-Maturin series. Jack and Stephen are aboard "the horrible old Leopard ", and there are some absolutely amazing action scenes in this book: the pursuit by the Dutch 74-gun during a storm; the chaos when the sailors abandon the damaged ship to sail away with Grant; the tense effort to bring the ship to Desolation island before she founders.
Then there's the human...more
During the course of Desolation Island, the constantly changing setting help breath more life...more
The story this time around lacks side-plots: It is pretty straight-forward from beginning to end, and I didn't find myself too smitten with the new characters. I had expected the convicts to play a larger role in the book, but, contrary to O'Brian's usual fondness for lavish description and social commentary, they are hardly mentioned and remain pretty inconsequential to the whole story, apart from providing a reason f...more
I'd been in another sneaky hate spiral, rage-quitting everything I picked up at the slightest provocation, even books to which I'd been looking forward. I was pretty sure this had nothing to do with their quality, or at least not very much, and everything to do wit...more
In a book such as this, the discussion of pintels, forecastles, orlop decks,...more
Stephen is recovering (again) from his obsession...more
Not the action packed novel of previous, this one is focusing more on Maturin's spying, and how he manipulates several operatives to meet his goal. This device allowed the author to flesh out Steven's character a little more, and provided for good development.
Unfortunately, this space devoted to had to be taken from somewhere, and in this case it's from the na...more
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
Set in the...more
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Nonsense,’ said Stephen, ‘it is the most wholesome cabbage I have ever come across in the whole of my career. I hope, Mr. Herapath, that you are not going to join in the silly weak womanish unphilosophical mewling and puling about the cabbage. So it is a little yellow in certain lights, so it is a little sharp, so it smells a little strange: so much the better, say I. At least that will stop the insensate Phaeacian hogs from abusing it, as they abuse the brute creation, stuffing themselves with flesh until what little brain they have is drowned in fat. A virtuous esculent! Even its boldest detractors, ready to make the most hellish declarations and to swear through a nine-inch plank that the cabbage makes them fart and rumble, cannot deny that it cured their purpurae. Let them rumble till the heavens shake and resound again; let them fart fire and brimstone, the Gomorrhans, I will not have a single case of scurvy on my hands, the sea-surgeon’s shame, while there is a cabbage to be culled.”