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Treason's Harbour (Aubrey & Maturin #9)

4.37  ·  Rating Details ·  7,551 Ratings  ·  180 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.
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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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
...more
Algernon
Apr 29, 2016 Algernon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016

'Don't you know how to seize a cuckold's neck, you God-damned lubber? Where's the bleeding seizing?'

Hi, I'm Algernon and I'm a landlubber. I will probably be the first one to go overboard in a storm because I don't have the foggiest what a cuckold's neck is and where the jib is supposed to be hoisted. I take solace from the fact that my situation is not much different from that of Dr. Stephen Maturin, who is similarly baffled on board ship, even after nine voyages in the company of his friend,
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Ken-ichi
Jan 29, 2009 Ken-ichi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Siria
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
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Angela
Jul 31, 2009 Angela rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
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
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Julia
Sep 25, 2009 Julia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Lisa
In Treason's Harbour, the ninth in the Aubrey/Maturin series, we find Jack and Stephen in Malta. While Jack worries about his ship's repairs, Stephen is being dogged by French spies (who aren't above attempting to honeytrap him), and it seems that the British intelligence network itself has been compromised...

I'll be honest - at this point in this series I have lost all objectivity, with Jack and Stephen having become my imaginary best friends and my times aboard ship a blissful holiday from the
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Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.)
Apr 23, 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: lonebearimages@gmail.com
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
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Wealhtheow
Oct 31, 2012 Wealhtheow rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Anna
Nov 30, 2016 Anna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, sailing
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
Wendy
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
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Webster Bull
Mar 25, 2015 Webster Bull rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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
Karla
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.
Larou
O’Brian’s writing is often compared to Jane Austen, but I strongly suspect that this is just a widespread reflex to which pretty much anything set in the Regency period is somehow “like Jane Austen.” There is at least some justice to it in this case, in so far as the implied narrator of the Aubrey-Maturin novels is clearly a contemporary and shares not only the conceptions and prejudices of his characters but also their language – as manifest not just in the extensive (and to the reader often ex ...more
John 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
Patrick
Jan 08, 2017 Patrick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
‘I have no patience with Emmanuel Kant. Ever since I found him take such notice of that thief Rousseau, I have had no patience with him at all – for a philosopher to countenance that false ranting dog of a Swiss raparee shows either a criminal levity or a no less criminal gullibility. Gushing, carefully-calculated tears – false confidences, untrue confessions – enthusiasm – romantic vistas…How I hate enthusiasm and romantic vistas,’ [Stephen] said.

I read Treason’s Harbour, the ninth of Patrick O
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Erik
Aug 11, 2011 Erik rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Randy
Jun 02, 2016 Randy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Audio book version

Thrilling action. If you haven't already read this phenomenal series because you don't care for historical fiction or you aren't interested in "naval" adventures you are doing yourself a disservice.

These books are remarkable. They are, in fact, one gigantic book, far greater in breath than War and Peace (which I sometimes read as a short treat after finishing this saga).

Melissa
Nov 10, 2007 Melissa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sea
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.
Poppy
Mar 16, 2008 Poppy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: aubrey-maturin
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.
Barbara
May 14, 2014 Barbara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Marcus
Mar 12, 2015 Marcus rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jocelyn
Jan 21, 2015 Jocelyn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
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!!
K.M. Weiland
Aug 09, 2010 K.M. Weiland rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lovely - as always.
Neil Coulter
Dec 28, 2014 Neil Coulter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

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
...more
Grond
Oct 26, 2016 Grond rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
'Treason's Harbour' suffers from the fact that it is, much more clearly than other Aubrey/Maturin books, a 'middle chapter' in a much longer tale and as a result seems curiously unfinished. This doesn't mean that the writing isn't excellent and gripping and funny. Just that the book is not nearly as self contained as the others in the series thus far. The story just 'ends' without conclusion or pretty much any resolution which seems weird in that all the other books in the series felt decently s ...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
Renee M
Oct 31, 2016 Renee M rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There is no joy quite like that if going to sea with Stephen and Jack. Lots of intrigue in this one. And some pretty thick suspense over the fate of a lady spy. Plus, a bit of a cliffhanger concerning a mole in the service with the power to do both our heroes some real harm before the next book comes to a close. Great stuff!!
Guera25
Dec 10, 2016 Guera25 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This one was a bit lugubrious for me, as I don't give a rip for stodgy, drawing-room espionage wherein everyone eyes everyone else to suss out who let the fart in church, but the concluding sea battle redeemed it utterly.
Web Webster
Dec 09, 2016 Web Webster rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Essentially a two-parter, with more focus on intelligence/counterintelligence moves by England and France.
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Jack Aubrey-Is he a good captain? 16 107 May 07, 2014 08:20PM  
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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
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)
  • 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)

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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.” 9 likes
“Wittles is up' said Killick” 1 likes
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