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Treason's Harbour (Aubrey & Maturin #9)

4.36 of 5 stars 4.36  ·  rating details  ·  6,465 ratings  ·  146 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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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jason Koivu
Stationed on Malta during the later Napoleonic War, Captain Jack Aubrey and his friend, Dr. Stephen Maturin are embroiled in Mediterranean intrigue that takes them to Egypt and the Red Sea.

While O'Brian is one of my favorite authors, this is not one of my favorite books of his. It's balance tilts in favor of intrigue over action. 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 alway
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
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
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
Webster Bull
Without a sea battle until the end, the 9th Aubrey-Maturin novel proves the greatness of the series. It's not about naval combat, history, or England. It's about two men, two friends, who happen to live during the Napoleonic Wars. O'Brian’s affection for Capt. Jack Aubrey and his pal, Stephen Maturin, ship's doctor and Catholic Catalan spy, is matched only by that of narrator Patrick Tull, whose audiobooks I can't get enough of. Tull can spend five seconds rolling out an adjective like "splendid ...more
The Aubrey & Maturin novels continue to delight. This one features Stephen’s adventures with a diving bell, Jack rescuing a dog from a well, a nefarious spy who suffers from piles, and a foiled bear hunt. Another highlight is the visit of Mrs Fielding to the ship Surprise, which results in the crew’s language improving remarkably: ‘It was pleasant to hear the bosun cry, “Oh you… unskilful fellow” when a hand called Faster Doudle, staring aft at Mrs. Fielding, dropped a marline-spike from the ...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
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
John E. Branch Jr.
At the beginning of this entry in Patrick O’Brian’s much-loved series of historical novels, the British are at war with the French and also the Americans, and the year is a broadly conceived 1812 or 1813. Jack Aubrey, captain of the small frigate Surprise, and Stephen Maturin, who is Aubrey’s best friend, the surgeon of the Surprise, and—unknown to many—an agent for British intelligence, are in Malta. There’s comedy (Jack falls into a cistern while trying to rescue a dog), a few notes of science ...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
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.
Richard E.
Series Overview.

I fell in love with the series from the opening scene of Master and Commander, and went on to read all 20 Aubrey-Maturin novels. The characters of Jack Aubrey and Dr. Stephen Maturin were initialized in that opening scene, and grew through the entire series. This is the best historical fiction I have read. In the series, I learned about British, French, Dutch, and Spanish naval operations during the Napoleonic wars. I also first learned of Napoleon's command and espionage structu
Christopher Taylor
Surrounded by secret enemies, working out of a base so full of leaks and spies that every mission is well known before the ships set out, Maturin and Aubrey face danger at every turn. Still, there's time for amusing antics with a diving bell designed by Dr Halley (he of the comet), interactions with the Red Sea and the African deserts, a gigantic hound that befriends Aubrey, and much more.

In this book Maturin manages to put a dent in the spies of Malta, but not root out the nest, and Aubrey is f
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
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!!
Very entertaining despite having limited nautical action. I like how the spy stuff is playing a larger role in the overall plot at this point.
Captain Jack Aubrey is a Royal Naval officer in the British Navy in the early 18th century. His close friend and ship's doctor is Stephen Maturin, an Irish Catholic who is also employed be British intelligence. Jack is a larger than life swashbuckler who has been in the navy since he was a lad. He is an avid sailor with a fine touch on his boats. He runs them like thoroughbreds and is always looking at getting the best out of both the ship and the crew. Stephen is more circumspect and uses his w ...more
Just delightful. The mix of comedy of manners, naval adventure, and spy novel is at its best here. Don't miss it!
Eva Fairwald
N9 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 no
Like a few others in this series, this book was very difficult to get hooked into until the later passages. Stephen Maturin is sent to the Mediterranean to engage in some diplomacy in an Arabic area and of course, Jack Aubrey is conveying him. Their ship, the Surprise is in need for repairs so they are confined to port for a time and they both become involved with the same woman though neither of them knows of the other's involvement or that each is unsuccessful in their own way. Jack is enamore ...more
Neil Coulter

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
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Jack Aubrey-Is he a good captain? 16 106 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
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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)
  • 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)
  • The Far Side of the World (Aubrey/Maturin, #10)
  • The Reverse of the Medal (Aubrey/Maturin Book, #11)
Master and Commander (Aubrey/Maturin, #1) H.M.S. Surprise (Aubrey/Maturin, #3) The Mauritius Command (Aubrey/Maturin, #4) Post Captain (Aubrey/Maturin, #2) 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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