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The Mauritius Command (Aubrey & Maturin #4)

4.34  ·  Rating Details ·  10,175 Ratings  ·  346 Reviews
"O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin volumes actually constitute a single 6,443-page novel, one that should have been on those lists of the greatest novels of the 20th-century." —George Will, Washington Post

Captain Jack Aubrey is ashore on half pay without a command—until Stephen Maturin arrives with secret orders for Aubrey to take a frigate to the Cape of Good Hope under a commodor
Paperback, 365 pages
Published May 17th 1991 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published 1977)
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Jason Koivu
Jun 02, 2014 Jason Koivu rated it really liked it
My love for these books seems boundless, almost I feel harsh giving any of them anything but a 5 star rating and a kiss on the papery cheek. I'm trying to be objective, to take off my rose-colored glasses and view the work through someone else's eyes, someone who's not a hardcore fanboy, but goodness gracious, it's difficult.

Giving it the old college try, let me begin with the negative then...

The Mauritius Command does not hold the passion of the first three books in Patrick O'Bri
Oct 31, 2008 Felicity rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Felicity by: Ryan Grove
I do enter upon my rereadings of Patrick O'Brian books with an open mind. I am willing to give fewer than five stars to each book before I read it. However, at some point, sweeping down upon the blaggardly French under a great press of sail, foreboding the ruin of a tragically flawed officer, or smiling at Aubrey's sweet simplicity, it becomes impossible not to give it every star at my command.

Mauritius Command is a particularly cohesive volume, more united in purpose than most, comprising as it
A delight as usual to dive into this 4th in the wonderfully addictive series about the British navy during the Napoleanic Wars. I gave myself the treat of coming back to this, which stands out as one of the best in the set of 16 that I read most of the distant past. Half or more of the pleasure comes from partaking in the special friendship between boyish and brave Captain Jack Aubrey and the more intellectual surgeon and spy, Stephen Maturin. The other reward lies in O’Brian’s portrayal of the ...more
Jun 01, 2014 Algernon rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014
Still the best nautical adventure I've read in years, although this volume is slightly diferrent than the first three books. The change comes from a shift in focus from the developing friendship between Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin, including their romantic entanglements on shore, to a greater portion of the book dedicated to actual naval battles. Until now the plot was basically Jack climbing slowly the ladder of command in the Navy, receiving a new ship, forging a battle-ready crew an
Mar 04, 2011 Brad rated it it was amazing
I'm bumping my rating of this up to five stars from four after my reread.

Damn this is a fine addition to the Aubrey-Maturin series. There is genuine comfort in reading this book, and I think some of that comfort stems from Patrick O'Brian's comfort with his characters. O'Brian knows his men intimately by this fourth book, and he is able to let them live on their own, confident, it seems to me, that they will take him where they need to go.

In this case, they take him to the Mauritius campaign of
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Roger W.
Dec 11, 2008 Roger W. rated it really liked it
In previous books Mr. O'Brian has several times told us that he uses real ships and real battles for his fictional accounts. It's well known that he went to great lengths to make his stories ring with authenticity, reading the original logbooks of the vessels involved and the private papers of survivors.

In this the fourth episode of his Aubrey-Maturin series, he takes this method to the extreme - his whole book, not only one or two battles, is based on a historical campaign, making for some ver
Sherwood Smith
On this fourth or fifth reread, it occurred to me that my memory of this book has been of a lighter story. It isn’t “lite” at all; there is quite a bit of hard action, with complicated maneuvering, and complex characters. Tragedy as well, in an unexpected way. But it doesn’t reach the extreme emotional pitch of the third book, H.M.S. Surprise, so, coming after that intensity, this one has always seemed a bit of relief.

I almost said comic relief, and indeed there is some of O’Brian’s most delight
Nov 23, 2008 Boz4pm rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have been so absorbed in these books that I keep forgetting to take time to review them in turn - aside from discussions and over-excited bouncing with mutual online friends who already know the series, that is.

I love this series so much, for all the reasons I outlined in Master & Commander - the depth and breadth of O'Brian's knowledge and research is outstanding, breathtaking and yet the level of writing mastery he shows in his portrayal of character and plot makes these books utterly br
May 29, 2015 Andy rated it really liked it
Less sailing details then the first few outings & for that Im grateful as each voyage & battle is a lot smoother.

Dr Maturin & Commodore Aubrey as always steal the show.

As the title tells us.... We’re off to the Mauritius Isles and hunting down a French Fleet which has already captured a few Indiamen en route back to Britain with bountiful cargo. There are plenty of sea battles & quite a few reversible’s as the Royal Navy doesn’t always triumph..... Also land battles as the lobs
Apr 13, 2013 Nigie rated it liked it
I'm cruising through the Patrick O'Brian Aubrey/Maturin series which comprise a mighty set of enjoyable, well-researched yarns set at sea during the Napoleonic wars early in the nineteenth century. The connecting thread is the career of a John-Bull archetype, Captain Jack Aubrey, in the company of his best friend, ship's surgeon and an Admiralty spy, the cerebral, physically Gollum-like Stephen Maturin, obsessed with the study of nature and physiology, and woefully unlucky in love. The pair regu ...more
Apr 06, 2011 Wealhtheow rated it liked it
Shelves: historical
At the end of the H.M.S. 'Surprise', Captain Jack Aubrey finally had the chance to marry his beloved and settle down into a little country cottage. The Muaritius Command begins with his bff Doctor Stephen Maturin visiting him and offering Jack an opportunity to go back to sea. Jack leaps at the chance, both to return to the profession he loves and to get away from his hectoring mother-in-law and lumpish twin infants. And even better than he'd expected--when Jack makes it to La Reunon, he finds t ...more
Jan 01, 2017 Darwin8u rated it it was amazing
Shelves: aere-perennius, 2016
"You cannot blame the bull because the frog burst: the bull has no comprehension of the affair"
- Patrick O'Brian, The Mauritius Command


This is my fourth Aubrey/Maturin novel (obviously) and I have yet to read one that I wasn't completely in love with. There is just too much to love about O'Brian's writing: his knowledge, his wit, his humor, his details, his affection for all his characters, his various digressions. Some of my favorites in this book:

- Dr. Maturin's discussion with Mr. Farquhar an
Deb Oestreicher
Jul 27, 2011 Deb Oestreicher rated it it was amazing
Didn't want to put this one down. Lucky Jack Aubrey gets his first chance to act as commodore, tasked to overcome apparently superior Napoleonic defenders off the coast of Africa. Along the way, Aubrey has to manage a largely inferior group of commanders--one who's capable enough, but plagued by jealousy; another who torments his crew almost to the point of mutiny; and another whose stolidity is welcome, but whose lack of imagination threatens the mission. Meanwhile, Dr. Maturin, in his capacity ...more
May 04, 2008 Betsy rated it liked it
I've recently discovered Patrick O'Brian--I had picked up H.M.S. Surprise at a used book store or a garage sale about three years ago and finally read it a couple weeks ago. I have a friend who describes Patrick O'Brian as "Jane Austen for boys." I've long since exhausted my first reads of all Jane Austen, so it is nice to have a score or two of new first reads. Also nice to read what may have been happening on the other side of all that crossed correspondence that drives Austen's domestic plot ...more
Oct 22, 2007 Rob rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Lovers of naval adventures and of historical fiction.
I continue to love the Aubrey/Maturin series. The Mauritius command excels in further character development by contrasting both Aubrey and Maturin with other captains and medical men in a small fleet commanded by Jack to take on the French. It's exciting, fast-paced, and a great read. A worthy successor to Post Captain and H.M.S. Surprise.
Running off to sea again with Lucky Jack Aubrey and his BFFF (and my imaginary boyfriend) Dr Stephen Maturin has been long overdue, and so it was with an eager hand that I opened The Mauritius Command. I wasn't disappointed as it turned out to be as rollicking good fun as its predecessors, even if I still don't know my mizen from my masthead.

Having married his sweetheart, Sophie, and settled in a long-dreamed for cottage, The Mauritius Command finds Jack Aubrey on land and on half pay. His dream
Mar 28, 2016 Thomas rated it it was amazing
Shelves: rereading
Excellent like well all I've said about the series before. I particularly like the expansion of scope from purely naval actions to the complexities of an invasion.

Reread 3-27-16: Upgraded from 4 stars to 5. Still amazing, this time though I find myself drawn much more to the personal narrative then the grand action set pieces. Especially Stephen Maturian, towards the end when he asks McAdam, fellow physician much given to maladies of the mind, about his own state:
After a long pause he said, "M
Sep 29, 2011 Jennifer rated it liked it
It strikes me as blackly amusing that the end of each Regency romance book--the happy clinch and fade to implied domestic bliss--leads directly to the opening of so many Age of Sail books--the hero chafing at the domestic life and yearning to escape and be at sea again.

Jack Aubrey is a commodore in this story, which means he is in charge of leading several different ships. Much of the book is dedicated to the interpersonal difficulties dealing with disparate prickly, sensitive, or craven persona
Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.)
Apr 08, 2010 Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.) rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.) by:
This is an excellent episode in Patrick O'Brian's 'Aubreyiad,' and is so aptly titled. The Mauritius Command, is just that -- a study in command -- and as such, should be required reading for anyone in a position of command and authority. I would particularly recommend this for young military commissioned and/or non-commissioned officers, especially those in the sea-going services; and I would be surprised if this is not on a reading list for midshipman at the U.S. Naval and Coast Guard Academie ...more
Aug 18, 2013 Ensiform rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, historical
The fourth book in the Aubrey-Maturin series. Languishing at home on half pay, Jack is unexpectedly given a commission to go as acting Commodore to the Cape of Good Hope, where he will direct a small squadron to take the French-held islands of Mauritius and Reunion. The captains under Jack’s command are slightly jealous, but they are motivated primarily by their differing natures, whether harsh taskmasters or eager to please and ineffective. After some easy victories, helped along by Stephen’s p ...more
Even though this was based on a real historical naval engagement, there was more telling than showing compared to the previous novels. I also missed the Aubrey/Maturin conversations as the two were often apart. Jack, also being a Commodore, was forced to be more distant to his crew due his rank. I missed his relationships with his sailors/crew when he was a Captain on a frigate.
Still, this had the best quote I have seen so far!

Jack: the coffee has a damned odd taste
Stephen: this I attribute to t
Mar 30, 2014 Cherie rated it really liked it
Shelves: series, read-audio
I listened to this story twice and I cannot figure out what I want to say about it. It is just as well written as the others I listened to and as well narrated, but different.

Jack is elevated to the rank of commodore and is in charge of a fleet of ships trying to capture French ships. Some new characters are introduced, none of them really stellar, but they have an impact on the story. It was an interesting study of ship captains and how they treated their crews and how Jack, as the commodore,
I was expecting a bit more from this one, but I can't quite put my finger on why I didn't enjoy it as much as I know I should have. Oh well, it's not important. Onward to the next in the series...

Listened to the unabridged audiobook, narrated by Patrick Tull.
Nov 02, 2014 Lu rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Once again the author puts his hero into the shoe's of a historical figure, this time of Sir Josias Rowley, as we follow Aubrey's first posting as a Commander, tasked with the not too easy mission of supporting the invasion and conquest of La Reunion and Mauritius.

I am usually not that fond of historical novels that copy real events too closely, rather than simply being inspired by then, but O'Brian's striking prose makes up for it, and both Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin remain very likable c
Jun 02, 2014 SlowRain rated it really liked it
Captain Jack Aubrey of the British Royal Navy is promoted to Commodore and, along with secret agent Dr. Maturin and a couple other captains, is tasked with capturing two French islands in the Indian Ocean.

Book 4 in the series starts off slowly with Aubrey languishing with domestic life in his English cottage before he gets his commission to head to South Africa. Then we compare that to the enthusiasm and challenges of being in command of a ship, and then a squadron, on the sea. We see more of Dr
Jul 20, 2011 Nelson rated it really liked it
Reluctantly, this is a shade less accomplished than the first three novels. It's still a far sight better than a lot of stuff going. The opening features something of a recap of the first three; I get the sense O'Brian was ready to stop at three, then decided to carry on. The opening sums up the first three books nicely. Much of the human interest here attaches to a new character, Lord Clonfert, who is in a weird kind of competition with the growing legend of Aubrey. Naturally much of this is lo ...more
EJD Dignan
Jun 06, 2009 EJD Dignan rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 16, 2011 Alex rated it it was amazing
Shelves: series
I love this series. I am immersed in a world where my interest is held by the friendship of two men, and the details and action of this world. I love the humor and found myself laughing aloud a couple of times. The writing is superb but I often need a dictionary. I also often use an atlas to help picture just where the action is taking place.
This may be the type of book perfect for an electronic device that has a built in dictionary and google at you fingertips. It's a rich world made wondrous
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Goodreads Librari...: 978-0-393-30762-7 2 22 Jan 19, 2014 06:51PM  
  • A Sea of Words: A Lexicon and Companion to the Complete Seafaring Tales of Patrick O'Brian
  • Hornblower and the Hotspur (Hornblower Saga: Chronological Order, #3)
  • Stand into Danger (Richard Bolitho, #4)
  • Under Enemy Colors (Charles Hayden, #1)
  • Ramage & the Freebooters (The Lord Ramage Novels, #3)
  • Artemis (Kydd Sea Adventures, #2)
  • Mr. Midshipman Easy
  • Lobscouse and Spotted Dog: Which It's a Gastronomic Companion to the Aubrey/Maturin Novels
  • Sharpe's Sword (Sharpe, #14)
  • H.M.S. Cockerel (Alan Lewrie, #6)
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)
  • 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)
  • The Reverse of the Medal (Aubrey/Maturin Book, #11)

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“Why, sir," said he, looking about him, "what splendour I see: gold lace, breeches, cocked hats. Allow me to recommend a sandwich. And would you be contemplating an attack, at all?"
"It had crossed my mind, I must admit," said Jack. "Indeed, I may go so far as to say, that I am afraid a conflict is now virtually inevitable. Did you notice we have cleared for action?”
“...for very strangely his officers looked upon Jack Aubrey as a moral figure, in spite of all proofs of the contrary...” 8 likes
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