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The Ionian Mission (Aubrey & Maturin #8)

4.31  ·  Rating Details ·  6,862 Ratings  ·  224 Reviews
Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin return to the seas where they first sailed as shipmates. But Jack is now a senior Captain commanding a line-of-battle ship, and this is a longer, harder war than the dashing frigate actions of his early days.
Published August 1st 2007 by Harper Perennial (first published January 15th 1981)
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Daniel Bratell Looking at the review grading this seems to be one of the weakest, if not the weakest. Many fewer have reviewed it than the books before or after…moreLooking at the review grading this seems to be one of the weakest, if not the weakest. Many fewer have reviewed it than the books before or after (indicating people skipped it after reading part of it) and it has a lower grade than the other books.

The grade is still high though so people that like this series enough to read this book didn't dislike it. Just didn't like it as much as other books.(less)
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Community Reviews

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Jason Koivu
Nov 22, 2008 Jason Koivu rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Political intrigue in the Mediterranean during the Napoleonic Wars as seen through the eyes of a Royal Navy captain. The Ionian Mission is yet another strong showing in the long Aubrey/Maturin series by Patrick O'Brian.

Our hero British naval officer Captain Jack Aubrey needs to get out of dodge and takes a boring a blockade assignment that turns into something a bit more touchy in the diplomatic line, very volatile politics indeed.

Intrigue simmers in the background. A double-cross heats things
Oct 17, 2015 Algernon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015

After the tumult and strife of the previous two books (sea battles, grievous injuries, prison escapes, marriage at sea, etc) , most of the current offering feels like an interlude, a vacation for Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin, who are sent out on a tedious mission of blockading the French fleet in Toulon and preventing it from escaping into the larger Mediterranean or joining forces with the Atlantic squadrons. Yet looking back at the duos adventures after the last page of the novel, I realize
Mar 14, 2017 Darwin8u rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
"But he had not seen a more wicked and as it were spiteful sea, with its steep, close-packed waves -- a sea that threatened not the instant annihilation of the great antarctic monsters but a plucking apart, a worrying to death."
- Patrick O'Brian, The Ionian Mission


Probably my least favorite in the series so far. It was destined to happen. Even the best instruments will see their strings get loose after a few weeks on the water. It is still lovely and has some amazing parts, but this is not the b
May 26, 2008 Ken-ichi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Seriously, these books are like crack. Some choice terms and quotes (defs mostly from King's invaluable A Sea of Words):

fearnaught screen: thick felt used to cover hatches during battle.

felucca (n): a small Spanish sailing vessel, but also a kind of fishing boat formerly used in the SF Bay Area.

houario (n): "A French lug-rigged boat of the chasse-marée type," according to King.

levinflash (n): lightning flash. "Levin" is apparently an archaic term for lightning, from Middle English.

mastic (
Webster Bull
Jan 09, 2012 Webster Bull rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you’ve thought about jumping aboard Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey-Maturin series, which follows a British ship’s captain and doctor through the Napoleonic Wars, it would be logical to start with the first volume, Master and Commander (1970), which gave its name to a Russell Crowe–starring film adaptation in 2003. But if I were going to recommend one of the twenty books in the amazing thirty-year series that best shows off the mastery of O’Brian, I’d say you might consider volume 8, The Ionian Miss ...more
A pretty slow-building tale, but the finale is action-packed. Yeah, I had a huge sad when my precious Pullings got knocked down, but Jack was right there to protect his peeps. ;)

I liked the story well enough, but I have a big problem with Simon Vance's narration. He did the non-dialogue stuff in a way that kept my attention - Patrick Tull's slower pace tends to lose me at times in O'Brian's long sentences - but I absolutely LOATHE Vance's voices for Jack and Stephen. Ugh! Jack is the same booris
Dec 10, 2011 Wealhtheow rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical, regency
The eighth in the adventures of Captain Aubrey and Dr.Maturin. After a peak into their respective home lives (Maturin's is my particular favorite: he and Diana have homes of their own because their lives are so different--plus he needs privacy for all his intelligence work--but he visits often for shared breakfast in bed and dinner parties), they ship off to support the blockade against the French. It's a long, boring period for them, made more troubling by the leadership. One of Aubrey's old co ...more
Gilly McGillicuddy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sherwood Smith
In this latest installment in the Aubrey/Maturin roman fleuve, Patrick O'Brian does some interesting things. As always on my first read I galloped through it, loving the adventure, the descriptions, the diving bell and the naturalist explorations, far travels, vivid descriptions, various cultures, and exciting battles. O’Brian doesn’t let the reader down, with the expected comedic bits.

But on this reread of the entire series, when I came to this book I became aware of something I hadn't noticed
Jan 27, 2012 Susan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, jack-aubrey, 2012
I really enjoyed this chapter in the Jack Aubrey stories. We got to meet up with a few old friends, listened to Jack's valet cry of dismay whenever Aubrey abused his clothes, was on board during a high wind and felt the rise and fall of the waves and heard the pounding sea on the ship to the point where I wondered how all these ships stayed in one piece (thanks to the wonderful storytelling by Mr. O'Brian), and finally got a battle at sea. No long land scenes, no Sophie, children or Diana Villie ...more
Aug 15, 2007 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: history nuts in particular
I've been a bit slow in getting back to the Aubrey/Maturin series, but I have no idea why- this book reminded me how much I love them. The characters still have their witty and pithy comments, the nautical knowledge is omnipresent but does not impede the storytelling, and I was completely enthralled with the story. I'm so glad Jack seems to have his luck back!

I can't wait to get the next book...
Inventing, on the fly, The Haydn Variations 50 or so years before Brahms? This isn't nautical naval fiction; it's a series of inside jokes.
As we’ve now reached the eighth book in this superlative series, it should come as no surprise that I enjoyed it immensely, as it seems that Patrick O’Brian is incapable of writing anything I don’t enjoy. Even when not much is happening.

The Ionian Mission is nowhere near as action-packed as its predecessors, as instead of dashing up and down the Med taking prizes, Jack and his crew are now just one small part of a blockade. Without much fighting or sailing to do, Jack can’t bank on his strong sk
Aug 03, 2011 Nelson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In which O'Brian enlarges his cast of characters yet again. Heretofore Aubrey and Maturin have tried their hand primarily at Hummel, Cherubini and Scarlatti. Here for the first time, they have a crack at 'London' Bach's dad, Johann hisself. Interesting how the music is made to serve the moods of the characters at the time. In this and perhaps the last novel, O'Brian has gotten beyond his earlier habit of working variations on the main characters. One has the sense that he has decided at this poi ...more
Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.)
Jul 02, 2009 Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.) rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.) by:
I really enjoyed reading The Ionian Mission, the eighth episode in the twenty-volume canon of Patrick O'Brian's brilliant 'Aubreyiad.' This had a bit of it all too: affairs with 'hearth and home' in London and at Ashgrove Cottage; doings with Sophie Aubrey and Diana Villiers Maturin; Stephen Maturin's intelligence activities against the French ashore and afloat; and some fascinating sea-faring adventuring in the Mediterranean Sea. It was wonderful to watch Jack and Stephen have the opportunity t ...more
Sep 28, 2010 Wendy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: patrick-o-brian
Another delightful, if not slightly boring chapter in the life of Jack and Stephen. But the same wit and puns, the same shameless use of all sorts of nautical terms, and of course a wonderful peek into the life of a British navy sailor in a sailing ship.

Not much happens, really. But in true O'Brian fashion, the entire time they spend on blockade duty in the Ionian Sea is in fact NOT the mission you think. Only towards the last half of the last 1/3 of the book is the true mission.

My favorite par
Linda Barnett
Jun 28, 2016 Linda Barnett rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another excellent installment, with plenty of cloak and dagger suspense, surprised reactions to Aubrey's bargain powder purchase, a realistic section illustrating the day in, day out, boredom on blockade duty and dicey political waters to navigate in the Mediterranean.

This time it's Aubrey who must sort out the truth, deciding which minor ruler is the lesser of three evils, giving him the best chance to complete his mission. It adds a new dimension to Aubrey's character when he has to navigate
Mar 22, 2010 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another book down in Patrick O'Brian's great series about a British captain fighting the French in the Napoleanic wars. As usual, O'Brian does a fantastic job of mixing great character development, dialogue, humor and action while conveying in intricate detail the realities of naval warfare and politics. All that said, this has not proved to be my favorite book in the series. It's a bit slow and doesn't deliver nearly as much excitement as some of the others. Still a worthy read and I'm looking ...more
Feb 27, 2009 Daniel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adventure
a great story and well written . This is the first of O'brian's books that I've read due to availability in our local library,but I plan on buying the entire series of his books on the fighting ships of the British Royal Navy during the years of Napoleon.I would highly recommend these novels to anyone who has an interest in the sea. O'brian is a technical author so be prepared for an in depth word parade of ship terminology,but also prepare yourself to get lost in a completely different time. If ...more
Jan 25, 2015 Sara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Finally Jack & crew are back in the Surprise for a bit of diplomatic maneuvering among Turkish factions before the real action begins. Superb ending and nice to see Mr. Stuffy pants Graham brought up a bit short. I deducted one star largely because the beginning moved rather slowly - like the blockade of Toulon. But a number of interesting threats emerge here which are sure to offer entertainment in the books to come.
May 21, 2016 Randy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Audiobook version:

If you set Jane Austin to writing a high adventure with a massive ship battle at the end to writing a novel, she would do well to have done half as well as Mr. O'Brian.

Remarkable stuff. And such skill, to end exactly at the climax.


Oh, but please do read the first seven novels before this one.
Rob Welch
Jan 19, 2011 Rob Welch rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Once again, a very good seafaring tale. I particularly enjoyed seeing the character of Aubrey deepen even further... for the first time we see him truly doubt himself, and see his tortured reaction to seeing even trusted seaman look askance at him, wondering if he has lost that "Lucky Jack" edge.

After a full book focused very much on Stephen Maturin, this one returns more to Captain Jack....
Oct 01, 2007 Randy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you tasked Jane Austen with writing an adventure on the high seas, she would do well to have done half as masterly as Patrick O'Brian.

Brilliant book and absolutely amazing to end at the moment of the book's climax.
Steve Hansen
O'Brian's books are always great. This is my second time through the Jack Aubrey stories and I'm enjoying them as much as the 1st time.
As though some spring had been released the rhinoceros and its crew started into movement. The animal took three or four twinkling little steps and lunged at Clements’ vitals: Clements seized the horn and rose with it, calling out, ‘Easy, easy there, old cock,’ and at the same moment the rest of the party clapped on to the fall of a travelling burton, hoisting the rhinoceros clear of the deck. It hung by a broad belt round its middle, and for a while its legs ran nimbly on: Clements reasoned int ...more
Neil Coulter
Jul 18, 2013 Neil Coulter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

After a break from Aubrey and Maturin for a few months--mostly to take care of some nonfiction reading and reviewing--I finally have time to dive back into the continuing story. I went into Book 8, The Ionian Mission, with a bit of fear, however. Why? Because the last time I tried to read through O'Brian's series, this is the point at which I fizzled out and stopped the series. (This was partly because at that time I couldn't find a copy of Book 7, and it was difficult to get back into the serie

John Lawson
Captain Aubrey is given a rust bucket and sent into the Mediterranean to blockade the French. Lots and lots of talking ensues.

Aubrey talks about his problems at home. He talks about the politics of the English blockade. He talks about Navy discipline. He talks about food and music. He talks about Islamic politics. He talks about pirates. He talks, he talks, he talks...

He cheats on his wife a little. That was a kinda spicy.

And of course the Navy doesn't give a Captain of his success a better ship
Mack Hayden
This one is probably the most formulaic Aubrey-Maturin book so far. It felt like O'Brian was running on fumes and trying to decide where to take the story next. That's sort of how The Mauritius Command was too and that ballooned into three of the best books in the series. Maybe this is just act one of a new arc that'll get better as it goes on. Regardless, always a good time with these characters.
Not the strongest in series.....Even though O'Brian's descriptions of ship-life in the 1800's Royal Navy is always enjoyable.....Almost this entire book is devoted to those descriptions...plot doesn't truly move forward until last 100 pages....but have already started next book in series...and going much better...!
Jan 02, 2017 Josh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
One runs out of appropriate descriptors for O'Brian's novels. The scene changes, the action varies, but the quality of writing and the gripping power of the story does not.
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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)
  • 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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