The Mauritius Command (Aubrey/Maturin, #4)
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The Mauritius Command (Aubrey & Maturin #4)

4.32 of 5 stars 4.32  ·  rating details  ·  6,748 ratings  ·  222 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...more
Paperback, 365 pages
Published May 17th 1991 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published 1977)
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Master and Commander by Patrick O'BrianThe Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre DumasMr. Midshipman Hornblower by C.S. ForesterLieutenant Hornblower by C.S. ForesterWar and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
Napoleonic War fiction
9th out of 74 books — 42 voters
Courage by Robert    CarterPost Captain by Patrick O'BrianMaster and Commander by Patrick O'BrianH.M.S. Surprise by Patrick O'BrianHornblower and the Hotspur by C.S. Forester
Historical Naval Fiction
19th out of 112 books — 87 voters

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Community Reviews

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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
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...more
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...more
Jason Koivu
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...more
Roger W.
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...more
All the main characters, Aubrey and Maturin included, faded into the background of The Mauritius Command, becoming a kind of landscape upon which the drama of Lord Clonfert played out. His was the story that most captured my attention this time through.

Clonfert begins the tale as the captain of HMS Otter. He is a vain man. A handsome man who cuts a dashing figure in his finery. He has developed some bravery (after a shaky beginning to his career), is a "capital seaman" and has the loyalty of his...more
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...more
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...more
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
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
Deb Oestreicher
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
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 5 of 5 stars 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.
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,...more
Christopher H.
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
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
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...more
Karla (Mossy Love Grotto)
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.
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
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...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
Shannon Stevenson
They shook hands, and having inquired tenderly after the Doctor's health and the Commodore's, Pullings said, 'I remember you was the first that ever called me Lieutenant P, sir, back in dear old Pompey. Well, now, if you chose to tip it the most uncommon civil, you could say Captain.'

'You do not tell me so? And are you indeed a captain already?'

'Not by land, sir; I am not Captain P by land. But at sea I am the captain of the Groper transport. You can see her from here, if you stand from behind t...more
Mar 16, 2011 Alex rated it 5 of 5 stars
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...more
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I really should be reviewing these properly but i find myself so intent upon getting through each book ready to devour the next that I am not taking notes! Never have I been so enamored of a book series than this one. I know that I will read all 20 or so right through and then start again at a more leisurely pace at the start and then perhaps spend time on the reviews!
Formulaic, but fun. O"Brian notes how closely he followed actual events, but he still manages to reproduce the fog and fiction--not to mention chance and stupidity of war.
Patrick Tull's reading is marvelous, especially during the battle scenes or any nautical maneuvering.
The last 1/3 made my head spin...but the ending, as usual, made it all worth it.

Kate Sherrod
I'm realizing anew, this read-through of the Aubrey-Maturin novels, how much this series really depends on its fascinating array of guest stars, of which there are two in The Mauritius Command, both of great and sad importance: Captain Corbett, a vicious "flogging captain" whose idea of discipline is severe even by the standards of Nelson's navy, and Lord Clonfert, with whom Jack once served as a youngster but who hasn't done quite as well as Jack since. So, um, uh oh. We see trouble before we e...more
The intrepid Captain Aubrey, who has faced severe storms at sea, imminent risk of loss of life during close sea battle encounters, capture by the enemy, and the Admiralty's endless red tape, finds himself in quiet domestic bliss at the beginning of this novel. Or maybe bliss is not exactly an accurate description of Jack's state of affairs. He is definitely happy to be settled down with his wife, Sophie, on the farm, Ashgrove Cottage, he bought with prize money from earlier adventures. The Aubre...more
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Goodreads Librari...: 978-0-393-30762-7 2 17 Jan 20, 2014 03:51AM  
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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
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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)

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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...” 7 likes
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