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The Yellow Admiral (Aubrey & Maturin #18)

4.34  ·  Rating Details ·  5,464 Ratings  ·  142 Reviews
Life ashore may once again be the undoing of Jack Aubrey in The Yellow Admiral, Patrick O'Brian's best-selling novel and eighteenth volume in the Aubrey/Maturin series. Aubrey, now a considerable though impoverished landowner, has dimmed his prospects at the Admiralty by his erratic voting as a Member of Parliament; he is feuding with his neighbor, a man with strong Navy c ...more
Paperback, 305 pages
Published September 17th 1997 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published January 1st 1996)
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I found these books to be terribly intimidating when I first started the series. It seemed as though I was entering an entirely male world with a detailed technical vocabulary of its own. But now, as I sat down to read this eighteenth installment of the series, it was like sitting down to tea with old friends. The technical language is still there, but it has become a familiar patois in the background. The characters are still mostly male, but it hardly seems to matter since they are such deep a ...more
As ever, reading O'Brian is like meeting up with an old friend. In this one, the unfolding of the plot is slow and somewhat predictable—it's more like talking with an old friend solely of the past, reliving old memories and not learning anything new about one another. There are none of the fireworks of the earlier books, no huge twists or turns. That's not necessarily a flaw, though; the prose, as ever, soothes and comforts, and the rendering of Jack and Stephen and the numerous supporting cast ...more
Greg Strandberg
This was one of the later books, and I breezed through it pretty quickly. Honestly, I have to say that I wasn't as impressed as much with it as I was with other volumes. Why? Maybe because they're jaunting around land so much, doing a bunch of nothing.

But that's just my take on it. I should read it again one of these days.
Mar 23, 2015 Susan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audio, jack-aubrey, 2015
What many reviewers didn't like about this story, I really enjoyed. The sea adventures were few and far between as this time Jack and Stephen were landlocked throughout most the book. But, because of this, there were some traits that I got a glimpse of as the situations on land and owning a home are considerably different from those being on a ship at sea. And because of this, their personalities were more rounded and complex.

I really enjoyed the dynamics between both of these guys and their wiv
Jerry Haigh
Feb 11, 2012 Jerry Haigh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have read the entire Aubrey/Maturn series at least six times, in order, and been captivated by many facets. Of course the sheer adventure is enthralling, but the way in which O'Brian has developed his characters as the books go along is magical. One reviewer called O'Brian " The Jane Austen of the 20th century." Right on! Only in the last two books as O'Brian aged and was no doubt under pressure from publishers, did the standards slip. This is one of the less brilliant ones, but still a good r ...more
May 24, 2013 mentor&muse rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you’re interested in Patrick O’Brian’s The Yellow Admiral, you’ve probably already read the preceding seventeen Aubrey-Maturin books and are ready to dive into this one without further encouragement. If you haven’t read the preceding seventeen books, this isn’t the place to start. You want Master and Commander, the first book in the series.

In The Yellow Admiral, Jack and Stephen spend more time on land than usual. And although they always find life on land to be a bit overwhelming, our frien
Jun 19, 2015 Corto rated it really liked it
For me personally, these stories have been less interesting since Clarissa Oakes/The Truelove.

However, this one picked up about halfway-2/3 through with that old O'Brian magic.

For the first time since I passed "the Meridian" of the series, I've wanted to tear into the next one- especially as this is the "Summer of Waterloo".

So, my interest is renewed. I'm not looking at the next one as a chore...and to be honest, I'm starting to get a little sad that the end is nigh...
Nov 24, 2013 Lucy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nothing much happens in this book. At this stage of the series, O'Brian seems to be writing largely to hang out with his beloved characters, waiting with them through some almost 'down time' presumably before moving them along to bigger and better adventures in the next book to come.

Don't get me wrong; I still LOVE it. Like O'Brian it seems, I would rather hang out with Aubrey and Maturin than not; even so, disappointingly the novel has none of those gripping moments which characterize the earl
Richard Burke
Jan 28, 2015 Richard Burke rated it it was amazing
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
Catherine Mayo
Dec 30, 2014 Catherine Mayo rated it it was amazing
Patrick O’Brian is a legend amongst historical novelists for his evocative, beautiful style and his period-perfect voice; his strong, colourful, complex characters; an extraordinary wealth of detail which somehow never overwhelms the reader; and his ability to keep a vividness and freshness in both his writing and his plot lines through a series of books so numerous that any lesser writer would have retreated into staleness, contrivance and repetition. The Yellow Admiral is the eighteenth volume ...more
Not one of the top-tier books in this series. Lots of the action was on land and much of the book consisted of Jack explaining various things to Stephen like the process of enclosing common areas for farming which was not exactly scintillating. While the narration by Simon Vance was OK I really missed Patrick Tull's way with the characters. The ending though made me think that the next book in the series will get back on track.
Apr 01, 2016 Nathansizemore rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites

Sometimes a series of books is so consistently good it's hard to keep any objectivity about how good it is. The Yellow Admiral is good in the way that all of the other Aubrey/Maturin novels are: it's full of sharp language, centered on a good relationship, and immersed in period detail that seems lived rather than researched.
May 26, 2012 Courtney rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely loved this one with Diana, Sophie, and Clarissa all working together and Brigid and George being friends. It made me laugh more than Jack Aubrey usually makes me laugh. It also inspired a dream where I was Jack Aubrey's daughter, it was a good dream.
Linda Barnett
Jul 15, 2016 Linda Barnett rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Once again Aubrey finds himself in dutch with his wife, politicians, neighbors and Lord Stranraer, Admiral of the Blue, in command of the squadron he is attached to.

Both Stephen and Jack spend considerable time ashore in this book, with Stephen in great danger from the Spanish, due to his intelligence work, and Jack trying to keep home and hearth together when a legal judgment involving a prize capture, goes against him, once again putting him in dire financial straits. Most of Stephen's fortun
May 21, 2016 Graham rated it it was amazing
You know, these books are like old cardigans. There is a delightful trundling style as, somewhat disembodied, you float just behind the left ear of Maturin or are tucked in the buttonhole of Aubrey, and listen to their voices, see what they see, feel what they feel. You laugh with them (oh how many books can do that?); you get frustrated with them, even annoyed; you feel the letting go and depression as the ships are paid off; the slower pace of domesticity; the rhythms changing with the seasons ...more
May 09, 2015 Kevin rated it liked it
A good book, but IMO, mostly filler and background. It's a breather from the action, and rounds out the background of the characters with their wives and children.

I'm less than enthusiastic about it, mostly because it's not as action oriented, and it shows that Aubrey, a genius at sea, is all thumbs when he is ashore.

To be honest, it was sort of a downer, but it ends well.

Don't avoid this book, as it plays a role in the series

Triggers: violence is pretty much the only one, with some recreationa
Sep 07, 2014 Bertport rated it liked it
O'Brian is seriously overusing the didactic mode in which Maturin asks someone to explain something. I wonder what prompted the author to start explaining terms he has used without comment for so many volumes already. With each succeeding book now, the feeling at the beginning of overfamiliarity and of the author straining to find new material grows. But there are still flashes of fine prose and humor. Great and sudden changes of fortune are a long running theme in the series, and particularly s ...more
Patrick O'Brian's long-running naval history series takes place mostly, and naturally, on board ships at sea, but ships must occasionally touch shore and their captains and crew must live, at least for a time, on land. Readers who have followed this series throughout its development know that time ashore invariably means disaster for Jack Aubrey. The sea is his natural habitat and when he steps ashore he becomes, almost literally, like a fish out of water.

The action of The Yellow Admiral takes p
Neil Coulter

Early in The Yellow Admiral, Maturin and Sir Joseph have a lengthy conversation about events between the end of the previous book and the start of this one. This is followed soon after by a long, long conversation between Stephen and Jack about inclosing common land throughout England. Ah, I thought. How I have missed extended scenes of domestic life at home in England, after so many long sea voyages. I thought to myself, Some readers probably don't even have the patience for a long conversation

Apr 12, 2014 Richard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin, the main characters of the continuing Patrick O'Brian saga of the naval wars between Great Britain and Napoleonic France, have both finally, after much strife, found financial fortune. But O'Brian is not content to leave well enough alone regarding his subjects' comforts. By the time this book begins, Jack and wife Sophie are facing loss of their farm due to disputes over the expected remuneration for the capture of slave ships, while the Spanish government has i ...more
Jul 20, 2011 Patricia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jack Aubrey has bad luck, a bit brought on by a political squabble on land. The policy of inclosure allows men who own land to lay claim to the scraps of land held in common around it. Commons are farmed by those who don't own land. When it is then inclosed, farmers used to working a small plot for themselves must then beg employment of the lords who have in effect stolen land from them in order to make larger more efficient farms with greater yields, and profits for the owners.

Jack is opposed t
Dec 23, 2011 Nelson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm going to try and save up something for a final summing up when I reach the last novel in the series. This one stands up to what has come before quite well. Because being in command of a ship of the line at this point in his career and at this point during the Napoleonic wars entails little more for Aubrey than blockade duty at Brest, much of the novel is necessarily concerned with doings on land. (Having said that, there are a couple of exciting naval moments, even on blockade, in this insta ...more
Apr 26, 2016 Kathryn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2007, reread-books, 2001, 2016
1st Recorded Reading: August 2001
2nd Recorded Reading: February 2007

This is the eighteenth book (two more to go) in the historical series of novels about the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars, featuring Captain Jack Aubrey and Dr. Stephen Maturin. I first read this book inAugust 2001, and again in February 2007; I am thoroughly enjoying my re-reading of the series once again, and regret the nearness of the last book in the series.

As the novel begins, it is late 1813 or very early 1814. Havin
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
Oct 24, 2013 Daniel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another great entry in the Aubrey/Maturin series.

This would ideally be read by someone who's read the seventeen previous instalments. You wouldn't have any difficulty following what's going on, but I think the author is playing to his regular audience here. Action scenes that once would have been played out in extraordinary detail are here often compressed or skipped entirely, I imagine because regular readers of the series have seen it all before, or because the author had written it all befor
Todd Stockslager
Jun 09, 2015 Todd Stockslager rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
After the false scare that the previous entry (The Commodore) was the final entry, it is possible to see the end in sight in this entry. Aubrey and Maturin are placed on blockade duty off the coast of France as Napoleon nears capture. Jack and Sophie weather a domestic crisis, and the seamen face peacetime with trepidation. Captain Jack faces the humiliation of being "yellowed"--made an admiral in name only, with no ship or fleet.

Nineteenth in the series: The Hundred Days
Apr 06, 2010 Travis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In the Yellow Admiral Jack Aubrey finds himself fearing that he will be "yellowed," that is, working his way up the promotion list to the coveted rank of admiral, but without being attached one of the active, (red, white or blue) squadrons--an admiral without a ship, in other words.

Like the early novels, much of the book takes place on land, so there is considerable attention paid to political and domestic affairs at home, some sad, but all insightful and historically revealing. Once at sea, he
Alister Pate
Jul 29, 2013 Alister Pate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
O'Brian is always a pleasure, and to discover that I had not in fact read this as I assumed I had, was a wonderful moment. It is perhaps not the most exciting of his works, but it is a pleasure to be immersed in his world, meeting up with old friends. It's a very different world to ours, and not one I think I would be happy to live in, but, as Aubrey himself says "The old ways had disadvantages, of course, but here - and I speak on ly of what I know - it was a human life, and the people kew its ...more
Jim Mcclanahan
Jul 13, 2012 Jim Mcclanahan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In the 18th of the Aubrey/Maturin series, Captain Jack finds himself ashore in the midst of agrarian politics. Although he is satisfied with the result of his anti-inclosure stand in parliament, he has reason to rue it when back at sea. His admiral is not only very much in favor of inclosures (and all tidy things, such as ship formations), but is also a close relative of Jack's opponent back on land in England. The bulk of the sea-going chapters afe consumed with the Brest blockade. But Jack can ...more
Steven Vaughan-Nichols
Jan 18, 2015 Steven Vaughan-Nichols rated it it was amazing
In this volume we find Stephen and Jack at home and in home waters as the war winds down. The biggest conflict in this volume is Jack preventing a commons near his ancestral home from being enclosed. Over his head hangs the possibility, the probability, of being "yellowed" not being promoted to flag rank and thus being forced out his beloved Royal Navy. As with all these books, I love the characters, their world, and how to deal with the lives and problems at sea and at home.
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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)
  • 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)
  • Treason's Harbour (Aubrey/Maturin #9)
  • The Far Side of the World (Aubrey/Maturin, #10)

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“You will not be afraid of all those rough men?’ asked Sophie, when Clarissa came down. ‘No. As far as I have seen, apart from mere brute strength they are no more formidable than we are. Less so, indeed, since most have that dog-does-not-bite-bitch rule deeply engrained, while nothing of that kind applies to us.” 1 likes
“Jack prese la lettera, borbottò uno «scusami» e si ritirò. Tornò poco dopo, più alto, più dritto nella persona, il volto raggiante. «Signore Iddio, Stephen, è la lettera più bella che io abbia mai ricevuto. Grazie, grazie tante!»
Afferrò la mano di Stephen, fissandolo con infinita benevolenza. «È scritta benissimo anche, una mano così delicata!» Si guardò intorno in uno stato di frastornata felicità, poi estrasse il violino dalla custodia, il violino rimasto a lungo in ozio, e si lanciò in un virtuosismo straordinario, interrotto dal fischietto del nostromo quando il comandante Fanshawe fu accolto a bordo.”
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