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Post Captain (Aubrey/Maturin, #2)
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Post Captain (Aubrey & Maturin #2)

4.29  ·  Rating Details ·  13,438 Ratings  ·  691 Reviews
Dr Stephen Maturin leads Captain Jack Aubrey to the spy's Spanish castle. Best pals compete over manipulative widow Diana Villiers. Stephen encourages shy Sophia to Jack; Jack flees bailiffs after prize agent steals money. Jealous cuckold assigns Jack poorly-built experimental ship on poorly-conceived mission with too few and raw crew. Jack fights on.
Paperback, 527 pages
Published August 17th 1990 by W. W. Norton Company (first published 1972)
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Post Captain makes me wonder if Patrick O'Brian originally intended Master and Commander as a one off (and if you know the answer please don't tell me. I like not knowing).

Master and Commander is a great book, and our introduction to Captain Jack Aubrey and Doctor Stephen Maturin is a great hook, but it can stand alone as a simple Naval adventure without any need for additional information about the men and women confined by its pages. This could, of course, simply be a result of its place as th
Jason Koivu
Nov 22, 2008 Jason Koivu rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jason by: C.S. Forester, in a way.

Dancing bears and loons that fancy themselves teapots? No, number two in the series is not a typical Aubrey/Maturin adventure, yet it is perhaps better than the first!

While book one, Master & Commander, was about war and friendship, the second book, Post Captain enters the love arena, and friendship is put to the test. Of course war is not forgotten, this is a historical fiction series set during the Napoleonic Wars after all. The career of our hero Captain Jack Aubrey of the Royal Navy inte
Sep 23, 2009 Kelly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Patrick O'Brian, you have exposed yourself.

Exposed yourself as a Jane Austen wannabe, that is. One who is a bit sniffily about the fact that Jane (quite unfairly, I'm sure!) did not give us the thoughts of the male half of the regency romance equation.

The first 200 pages of this novel do really read like a historical romance. Albeit one with a very masculine touch- there's just as much swearing and angst and tinkering with the natural world in odd ways as ever there was before, but now its all i
Jun 07, 2013 Algernon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013

Second books in a long epic series are usually a lot harder to write and to get right than debut ones. To use an analogy from music, a rock band usually writes a great debut album : they've been playing the material for years in garages and/or small pubs before being noticed, they have their enthusiasm stil running high and the ambition to get noticed. Second showings are often either trying to cash in on original success and are rushed with outtakes and rejects from the first album or are self-
Sherwood Smith
Patrick O’Brian’s worldbuilding conveys the impression that there are not only detailed landscape and dwellings to be glimpsed through the smallest window, but the roads lead somewhere just as detailed, whether the story leads us there or not.

O’Brian is a perfect example of what I call the bricolage method of worldbuilding, bricolage being (I think) a strong element of appeal for many genre readers.

O’Brian’s mastery of history is evident in the slight references that evoke, to the reader who kno
Jul 03, 2016 Darwin8u rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016
"This is perhaps the final detachment; and this is perhaps the only way to live -- free, surprisingly light and well, no diminution of interest but no commitment: a liberty I have hardly ever known."
- Patrick O'Brian, 'Post Captain'


The second book in O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin series (20 books). It might be early to say this, but this might rank at or near the top of the best historical novels ever (taken as a whole). I'm not sure if he can maintain this level of literary mastery, but if the first
I almost gave this 3 stars, but I have too many reservations. I almost abandoned the book early on. I don't care for O'Brian's style - it's too Victorian. Sure, that's a plus for some, but I hate it & the story was very uneven. The first third of the book with threads running all the way through concentrated on ridiculous love interests & land problems. Very true to life, but Aubrey doesn't shine. It does make quite a statement about the economics of the war & the idiocy of societies ...more
Dec 12, 2016 Max rated it it was amazing
I started with this book, rather than Master and Commander, on a friend's recommendation, and I had more fun than I've had with a book in a long while. O'Brian has a strong, witty technique—and his command of omniscient point of view makes it feel as natural as breathing. This is a book about a single, particular friendship, and on that ground it succeeds enormously.
Mar 13, 2007 Felicity rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Felicity by: Ryan Grove
The second installment of the Aubrey-Maturin chronicles is long, and has the unpredictable, organic rhythm one comes to expect of the books: the small and large concerns chasing each other, defeat crowding upon victory, action on small, daily joys.

This volume brings us deeper into the landed life of the two protagonists, and explores new highs and lows in their friendship. It also brings us new ships to love and hate, blazing action, and the difference between the wizened heads of male and femal
Edward Waverley
Jan 04, 2010 Edward Waverley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Among John Fowles’ many goals in The French Lieutenant’s Woman (1969) was his intention to pay homage to Jane Austen’s Persuasion. But Post Captain, published just three years after Fowles’s book, is a far happier tribute to Jane, enriching my enjoyment of Austen, while succeeding on many other accounts as well. While Fowles rambles all over Lyme and Bath trying both to epitomize and to outdo the entire body of Victorian literature, O’Brian, as always, entertains and educates with matchless grac ...more
Mar 18, 2014 Cherie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: series, read-audio
I would give it ten stars if I could!

I can't even get my mind around how much story was in this book, but it was wonderful. There is so much going on from one section to the next. Something always happening. There are no dull moments. Always new things to learn about. So much humor in the dialogue - much of it tongue-in-cheek. Laugh out loud funny at times. Then there are scenes where things are so sad. There is a love story for one and the opposite for another.

Jack - having to evade creditors

No, ma veramente mancano SOLO altri 18 libri e poi questa serie FINISCE?? E poi io che faccio???
Rebecca Huston
A very enjoyable entry in the series, as we get to see Jack and Stephen fall in love, struggle with money, go on an adventure or two, and the real use of a dancing bear. Lots of little nautical details and don't let the esoteric terms through you off -- it's worth the effort. Five stars overall and very much recommended.

For the longer review please go here:
Feb 03, 2016 Nooilforpacifists rated it really liked it
Shelves: naval-fiction
Damned if these books aren't getting better, after an indifferent Vol. 1.
Carac Allison
Apr 22, 2014 Carac Allison rated it it was amazing

The Aubrey/Maturin series is a marvel. Every five years or so I work my way through it again. Right now I'm listening to Simon Vance's fine audiobook versions.

"Post Captain" is the one book I always have trouble rereading because of the rift between Jack and Stephen. Silly I know but there it is.

This was better than the first book for me. Jack and Stephen were not the annoying characters I found them in the first book and the story could be quite humourous in places.

I enjoyed the love story element but was very happy to have them back at sea by the end of the book.
Dec 15, 2009 Jason rated it liked it
This is part 2 of 22 in the Aubrey/Maturin series and Patrick O'Brian, despite his eloquent, colorful timepiece language, could do so much more for the series if he wrote more lengthy passages about naval maneuvers and fighting action in Post Captain. Instead he spent well over 450 pages maturing the relationship between our two protagonists. Hands down, though, the best part is the language. "Ahoy, lubber, sheet the mains'ls and run-out the 24 pounders."

O'Brian gives us only two teasing passage
Nov 08, 2015 Patrick rated it really liked it
I think this is it, then: this is the point where I can safely consider myself a fan of this series, and where I can see myself probably buying and reading all the books that follow this one. I read this in three or four days, mostly while on holiday in Nice; a setting largely irrelevant to that of this story, but it was one in which I found I could completely lose myself in the writing here. In years to come I hope I’ll recall sitting on the balcony of that apartment for hours, drinking cold wh ...more
Apr 21, 2013 Lisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lisa by: Steve
"There she is, sir, just under the sprits'l yard. Tops'ls: maybe mizen t'garns'ls. Close-hauled, I take it."

Nope, me neither. But you know what? This book is such ruddy good fun that it really doesn't matter - I spent most of my reading time with a huge grin on my face when I wasn't laughing. Life's been a bit rocky lately, and this did a fantastic job of cheering me up and keeping my mind occupied, which was just what I needed.

Spending the first third of the book on land, the 'Jane Austen for b
Aug 10, 2015 John rated it really liked it
"So you were in a great battle, Captain Aubrey," said the chaplain eagerly. "Pray, can you tell me what it was like?"
"Why sir, I doubt that I could, really, any more than I could give you much impression of let us say a symphony or a splendid dinner. There is a great deal of noise, more noise than you would believe possible; and time does not seem to have the same meaning, if you follow me; and you get very tired. And afterwards you have to clear up the mess."

I love this passage. O'Brian fills t
Felicity Teasdale
Aug 06, 2010 Felicity Teasdale rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I first came across these books about ten years ago when a friend gave me Master and Commander - the first book in the Aubrey-Maturin series - as a gift. I was largely discouraged by the naval language and the style of writing. Older and wiser, I gave it another try last year and found a new affection for the characters.

Post Captain - the second book in the series - has confirmed me as a devotee and I'm looking forward to reading more of these.

The story picks up where Master and Commander left
Aug 08, 2010 Ryan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In the second installment of the Aubrey/Maturin series we see O'Brian really flesh out his characters giving them great depth and believability. In Post-Captain we see the more social sides of Jack and Stephen as they peruse their future wives.

We see the main characters outside the setting of Ships and gun smoke during the Peace of Amiens. We learn that Stephen Maturin is more than he seems as he is a Naval Surgeon and a British Intelligence agent. The book is really well paced and juxtaposed b
Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.)
This is the second in the twenty completed volumes of the Aubrey-Maturin canon, and one of the best too. While first book, Master and Commander, kicked off the series with terrific writing and action, this volume really develops the characters in a most Austenesque fashion (and has its fair share of action and adventure too). In Post Captain we truly come to know and care for Jack Aubrey, Stephen Maturin, Sophie Williams, Barret Bonden, and Preserved Killick, and a whole raft of other great char ...more
Feb 20, 2012 Ensiform rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
The second in the Aubrey-Maturin series. In this 400-page tome, so much happens it’s impossible to encapsulate a plot. Aubrey is promoted to the titular rank but is hounded by debtors, the two men escape while Aubrey is disguised as a bear (!), Stephen works as a spy for the Admiralty, the two men both dote on the same two girls (whose mother is an obvious homage to Mrs. Bennet in Pride And Prejudice), they nearly fight a duel, and of course there is tremendous naval action. I now look back with ...more
Sep 29, 2009 Francoise rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you liked Master & Commander, as I did, you will definitely love this book also. The descriptions by Mr. O'Brian are so amazinly detailed and thorough, that the reader definitely has the feeling of being a "fly on the wall" in seeing all that is happening. Jack
Aubrey and Stephen Maturin are people that we actually get to know and I keep wondering how Mr O'Brian became so well versed in not only the history of the time but in the small details of life such as the use of "was" by educated
Renee M
Dec 24, 2013 Renee M rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I reread the first three books of this series periodically. They are just brilliant! Post Captain is the one that sealed my fate as a member of the Aubrey-Maturin fan club. They and their crew have become like old and very dear friends.

I am struck by how much happens in this particular book. How funny and how suspenseful. Stephen comes much more into the forefront as a primary character, and what a divine, complex, ingenious character he is. :)

Overall, Post Captain has a place of distinction i
Feb 13, 2008 Scott rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fans of Jane Austen ought to be more than won over by the second in O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin series, as Jack and Stephen leave the comfortable unpredictability of the sea for the more mannered and perilous milieu of drawingroom courtship. Interspersed between the dewey-eyed maids and their avaricious mothers lie some of O'Brian's most vivid action sequences, including a land escape from France into Spain, and a shallow-water battle that must be read to be believed.
Sean Rich
Feb 12, 2015 Sean Rich rated it it was amazing
great book even better than the first.
Jul 20, 2011 Richard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Patrick O'Brian proved he was not a one-hit wonder after he followed his first critically-acclaimed novel "Master and Commander" with this book; he would continue to prove his point eighteen more times in later years. As with the first book, "Post Captain" provides the reader with details concerning character developments, historical context and seafaring terminology that will provide the basis for understanding the whole canon of Aubrey-Maturin-related literature. This is not to say you have to ...more
Mar 18, 2017 Shaun rated it did not like it
With “Master and Commander”, I thought the book was okay, but pretty dull. Long overly-descriptive sections about things I didn’t care about, and skimpy on details such as battle, which I longed for. I had misgivings about “Post Captain” from reading the plot pitch, but the first chapter I thought was splendidly written (pretty much, at least compared to Master and Commander) and I was hoping it’d be more fast-paced and, in a word, modern. But the rest of the book read much, much more like a Jan ...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)
  • H.M.S. Surprise (Aubrey/Maturin #3)
  • The Mauritius Command (Aubrey/Maturin, #4)
  • 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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“I sew his ears on from time to time, sure.” 59 likes
“This short watch that is about to come, or rather these two short watches--why are they called dog watches? Where, heu, heu, is the canine connection?'

Why,' said Stephen, 'it is because they are curtailed of course.”
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