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Treason's Harbour (Aubrey/Maturin #9)
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Treason's Harbour (Aubrey & Maturin #9)

4.35 of 5 stars 4.35  ·  rating details  ·  5,680 ratings  ·  124 reviews
While Captain Aubrey worries about repairs to his ship, Stephen Maturin assumes the center stage; for the dockyards and salons of Malta are alive with Napoleon's agents, and the admiralty's intelligence network is compromised. Maturin's cunning is the sole bulwark against sabotage of Aubrey's daring mission.
Paperback, 400 pages
Published 1983 by HarperCollins Publishers Ltd. (first published 1980)
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Jason Koivu
This is my third time reading Treason's Harbor and yet...

While O'Brian is one of my favorite authors, this is not one of my favorite books of his. It's unbalanced, lacking the physical action of the other books in the Aubrey/Maturin series. More time is devoted to matters of intelligence and spying, and even that lacks some of its usual excitement.

However, it has its redeeming qualities. There is, as always, beauty in the language. Reading any books of the series just for the descriptions alone...more
Yet another fine nautical gem, though clearly a piece with its successor, given the abruptly hewn finale, leaving me with the heavy burden of reading on. Heaven forfend! Also of note: no other books leave me laughing like an idiot in public places more than these. Reading Stephen effuse about his diving bell exploits floored me: "...but the annelids, my dear Graham, the annelids! Hundreds, nay thousands of annelids of at least six and thirty several kinds, some plumed and others plain. And wait...more
I'm really trying to pace myself when going through this series, because with every part of it I read, I am more and more conscious that I only have a finite number of books remaining to be read. I'm not even quite half way through the series, but I'm still trying to draw it out as much as I can, so that I will have more of this world to savour and explore.

Treason's Harbour is one of the quieter of O' Brian's works so far. The pace is slower, and it feels much more like a part of an extended ser...more
Some may say that listening to an audio book doesn't count as reading it--that you lose something in the process of imagining the action for yourself, and that there's an extra layer of interpretation between you and the author's words because someone else is reading them to you.

Me, I don't quibble about this much. As far as I'm concerned, a decent narrator can do a great deal to make a story come alive, and Patrick Tull did do a very fine job narrating the version of Treason's Harbour I listene...more
Oh, Stephen Maturin, you had me at "underwater diving bell".

This is book nine in O'Brian's naval adventure series about British captain Jack Aubrey and his friend/surgeon/spy Stephen Maturin set during the Napoleonic wars, and it is wonderful. This installment was a quicker read than usual for me, for whatever reason, but just as enjoyable as I have come to expect. There is lots of on-shore spying and intrigue in this one (hooray!) as Maturin deals with French spies in Malta, but it does not ski...more
I started this book over a year ago ... Probably for me, the longest period of time between the start and finish of a book.

It's hard for me to explain why I like these books so much. Some of them aren't terribly exciting by any means. I think it's the nostalgia of a simpler time when ships were sailing in the sea and people were communicating with letters for the most part.

Sometimes I hate technology. it just seems to rule our world so much and I long for time when people actually had to use th...more
The continuing adventures of Dr.Maturin and his bff, Captain Aubrey of the Royal Navy. This is a particularly endearing look at them, because both are in fine form. Aubrey is able to showcase his incredible seamanship, strategy, and leadership, while Maturin's naturalist excusions are a humorous counterpoint to his intelligent manipulations. The humor of their strange shipmates and odd customs of the Navy, the obvious intimacy with Maturin's foibles, the affection shown by all of them toward eac...more
The ending was a little abrupt, coming fast on the end of a sea chase/battle, as is the case with most of the books in this series. But I overall enjoyed this one more than the previous book (Ionian Mission). It was nice to see the boys interacting with a chick, a thorny situation fraught with problems both in and out of the boudoir.

The absence of Pullings made me sad, but I managed to survive the disappointment.
Christopher H.
A truly superb 'chapter' in the Aubrey-Maturin canon! Loaded with adventure, intrigue, and humor. The book opens with Surprise and its crew in Malta, with Surprise being repaired after her battle with the Torgud and Kitabi (see book no. 8, The Ionian Mission). The French intelligence network is strong in Malta, and Stephen Maturin is tested to his limits to endeavor to thwart it.

The scene then shifts from Malta in the Mediterranean Sea to a slog across the Sinai Desert to the Gulf of Suez and t...more
Great return to form after the doldrums of The Ionian Mission. Two bits that I love: "the city of Valetta was as cheerful as though it were fortunate in love or as though it had suddenly heard good news." And Captain Aubrey looking through the stern-window: "This was a sight that never failed to move him: the noble curve of shining panes, wholly unlike any landborne window, and then the sea in some one of its infinity of aspects; and the whole in silence, entirely to himself. If he spent the res...more
This is the best one of this series for me so far. The writing is, as usual, as usual, wonderful. What is important to me, too, in a series if that the character's grow and change as the series goes on, and they do here. They become more themselves.
Duncan Mandel
EDITORIAL REVIEW: Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin tales are widely acknowledged to be the greatest series of historical novels ever written. To commemorate the 40th anniversary of their beginning, with Master and Commander, these evocative stories are being re-issued in paperback with smart new livery. This is the ninth book in the series. Uniquely among authors of naval fiction, Patrick O'Brian allows his characters to develop with experience. The Jack Aubrey of Treason's Harbour has a record...more
Gary Foss
There are a lot of references to events in earlier novels in this installment, but I suspect that readers of Book 9 will be well aware of the series as a whole by the time they get to this book. It's not strictly necessary to read the whole series before getting to this one, but I do think the reading experience would be better for having done so.

I'm pretty well sold on this series, and O'Brian as a story-teller, so I'm not going to go into a lot of detail on this one other than to note that thi...more
This is one of my favorites from this wonderful series of historical fiction. There is a lot to enjoy in this book: marvelous description of Malta and the harbor town of Valetta; a journey across the Egyptian desert and south down the Red Sea; humor, betrayal, and intrigue; and especially the richness and depth of O'Brian's characters. I love Geoff Hunt's cover art as well.
Not O'Brian's finest, but then, it's hard to portray a series of less-than-successful missions in a thoroughly gripping way. One thing I enjoyed about it is that Stephen's intelligence work drives the narrative, rather than Jack's exploits.
Oh, no! A double agent keeps betraying Jack's position to the French, but Stephen can't figure out who it is! He is still clueless at the end of the book! Wake up, Stephen! It is so obvious!!
Eva Fairwald
N°9 nella serie. BELLISSIMO! Non ci sono punti morti, c'è sempre quella punta di umorismo brillante, non mancano i particolari storici, insomma una lettura a 5 stelle irrinunciabile per gli amanti del genere. Come da titolo si svolge più in porto che in mare e, come anche nei 2 romanzi precedenti, viene dato più spazio alla sottotrama dello spionaggio.

I romanzi di O'Brian continuano ad essere una garanzia; ho adorato Jack e Stephen fin da "Primo Comando" e non mi deludono mai. Faccio apposta a n...more

Treason's Harbour continues the Mediterranean cruise that Aubrey and Maturin began in the previous volume. It also extends the bittersweet tone of that book, as Jack and Stephen age, mature, and reflect on their lives and their futures. Jack's luck is still not back to its early heights, though there are hints that it is set to change again. Until then, Jack contemplates the shape of his life:

For some time now he had been dissatisfied with himself. . . . It seemed to him that his reputation in t
The Aubrey Maturin novels each tells a story or series of stories but plot is not as important as process and character. Reading the 7500 or so pages of the hardback editions is to go on a series of voyages wherein the reader enters a world he or she will never know except through fiction. We experience life aboard Royal Navy ships, square rigged vessels that accomplished amazing feats. It is a man's world with only the occasional gunner's wife on board ship. So, it is quite remarkable that O'Br...more
A lot of action takes place on land and at sea in this volume of the series. Jack Aubrey and his shipmate, ship's surgeon and Royal Navy spy Stephen Maturin are still in the Mediterranean, so Jack's family and Stephen's bride Diana Villiers are not present in this book. Prominently represented, however, are Jack's colleague and confidant, Captain Heneage Dundas, and Jack's former Lieutenant, now a Naval Commander, Thomas Pullings. Jack and Stephen went through some hot action in his favorite shi...more
I'd wanted to start working on the O'Brien books again, since there are so many of them, and I'd only read the first several. I picked this book off the shelf and within about two pages realized that I had already read it, probably a year or two ago. Still, it was good enough that I just kept going. What can I say? O'Brien writes great characters, and does nautical action and adventure like nobody else.

I originally picked up this series because my girlfriend (now wife) had mentioned that these w...more
Earlier entries in the series stood alone fairly well. By this point, O'Brian seems to have in mind a larger conception of his narrative arc. While one could read this book on its own, it clearly carries on threads of the story from the previous volume and leaves several key issues unresolved for the next. It is as if he knows his characters and readership so well that he is no longer working from novel to novel, but merely breaking a longer story up into novel-sized units. The odious Wray, the...more
We last visited with Patrick O'Brian's creations Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin in The Ionian Mission during which they spent an interminable amount of time in a blockade off Toulon. It was a boring assignment for Aubrey/Maturin and crew and somewhat boring for the reader, as well. Now, the action picks up again in Treason's Harbour, the ninth entry in the series.

This tale is set mostly in and around Malta, which turns out to be a veritable hotbed of intrigue. Half the population seems to be sp...more
Craig a.k.a Meatstack
It really isn't possible to summarize just one of these books. By this point in the series the author has given up all intent of making these independent stories, and this series is completely serial.

So, instead of discussing the story of this book, which by itself never really came to a climax, I will talk about one of my favorite aspects of this whole series:

Patrick O'Brian has a talented ability to not "force" an against all-odds scenario. He has the ability to take a situation which is squar...more
Campbell Mcaulay
The Mussulmans are stirring up trouble in the Red Sea, taking foreskins from good Christian Englishmen and generally siding with the d----ed French. Well, they're foreigners, so what can you expect? Jack Aubrey is dispatched to the region in the HMS Surprise accompanied by his particular friend, Stephen Maturin, to sort things out for King and Country. That there is a good chance of making a fortune in prize money has, of course, nothing to do with it...

This is the ninth installment in o'Brian's...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
Another great book in Patrick O'Brian's series around the characters Capt. Jack Aubrey and Dr. Stephen Maturin in the naval actions of the Napoleanic wars. The NY Times calls this series, "The best historical novels ever written." I haven't read a lot of historical novels so I can't compare, but these are awesome.

This book was a bit on the short side for the series, and it feels incomplete--more like a chapter in a longer story than a complete novel in itself. I listened to the audio version of...more
There was more of the spy angle to this one than the previous books, although there was still plenty of action. I love the characters in these books, and it is interesting to see them as they get older and how they deal with that and the other changes in their lives.
The action may tend to fizzle in this work, but that seems to add a reality to O’Brian’s ninth addition to the series. Not all naval actions produced wealth-laden prizes or rousing victories for captains. The mishaps that befall Aubrey show how captains in the age of sail were at the mercy of the weather, a competitive and nepotistic chain-of-command, and sieve-like intelligence channels in the Mediterranean Sea. A trek across the Egyptian desert to the Red Sea adds a fascinating portrait of the...more
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Jack Aubrey-Is he a good captain? 16 103 May 07, 2014 12:20PM  
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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) H.M.S. Surprise (Aubrey/Maturin, #3) Post Captain (Aubrey/Maturin, #2) The Mauritius Command (Aubrey/Maturin, #4) Desolation Island (Aubrey/Maturin, #5)

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“Yet,'said Maturin, pursuing his own thought, 'there is a quality in dogs, I must confess, rarely to be seen elsewhere and that is affection: I do not mean the violent possessive protective love for their owner but rather that mild, steady attachment to their friends that we see quite often in the best sort of dog. And when you consider the rarity of plain disinterested affection among our own kind, once we are adult, alas - when you consider how immensely it enhances daily life and how it enriches a man's past and future, so that he can look backward and forward with complacency - why, it is a pleasure to find it in brute creation.” 8 likes
“Wittles is up' said Killick” 1 likes
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