Karla's Reviews > Desolation Island

Desolation Island by Patrick O'Brian
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's review
Sep 09, 2014

it was amazing
bookshelves: historical-fiction, ebook, nautical, eras-napoleonic, aubreyad, audiobook, have-paper-copy-too, audiobook-readers-that-rock
Read from October 03 to 24, 2011

(I listened to the unabridged audiobook version, read by Patrick Tull. --10/24/11)

Loved this story, the best of the lot I've read since Post Captain (though every single one is head and shoulders above most historical fiction I've ever read). It was quite different from the previous books, with the "action" being more of the episodic type aboard the HMS Leopard on its trip around the Cape, en route to Australia on a mission. The mission itself is secondary, as things like typhus, female prisoners - pregnant and unpregnant, cantankerous subordinates, and the simmerings of war between England and the U.S. propel the story along. Stephen dabbles in matters of the heart again, after being squashed once again by Diana Villiers, and everyone's attention is focused for a time on the Dutch Waakzaamheid, a much larger and heavier armed ship that is stalking them near the Cape. So persistent is the captain of that ship that Jack wonders if there's a personal grudge at work. The climax of that showdown was chilling and sad, as Aubrey realizes his victory is a very bitter one.

Despite the loose plot, O'Brian keeps it all interesting with his usual wit, detail, and vivid characters.
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Reading Progress

3.0% "Heh, I luuuuuurve seeing Jack on land at hearth & home. He is such adorable fail at it."
16.0% "That Hamilton Villiers woman is still causing all kinds of heartache for poor Stephen

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24.0% "I love all these books, but this one is definitely going to rank WAY up there."
28.0% "Oh dear, females on board. And female convicts, at that."
38.0% "The bosun's mate brought the cat out of its red baize bag: 9 hearty strokes, 9 appalling falsetto screams of a shrillness & a volume enough to mark the day as quite uncommon, & to gratify that part of the ship's company which took pleasure in bull-baiting, bear-baiting, prize-fighting, pillories, & executions -- perhaps nine-tenths of those present."
44.0% "Jack knew there'd be trouble w/a woman on board:

"Those lecherous sodomites have been sending Mrs Wogan billets doux, bribing people right, left & centre - cannot keep their breeches on, the hounds.... God rot them all. They bored holes in the bulkhead of her cabin, & stood there in rows, to see her in her shift. Oh, the odious wench. ...Damn her for a flibbertigibbet, the hussy."

" 1 comment
51.0% "Now that the typhus epidemic (that killed 116 men) has spun itself out, it'll be easy sailing from here on out, right? Right? Not in Jack Aubrey's world."
62.0% "When Jack & Stephen snark at each other in an affectionate slashy way, I am such a happy panda."
69.0% "A murderous master, a dead lieutenant, and a stalker ship. Jack never has it easy."
74.0% "Stephen's aces at understatement:

"But if it can be fed, the child may live... I was at a loss to know what to do with it at first."

"There is the girl that waits on Mrs Wogan."

"There is. But you will recall that she was transported for infanticide, repeated infanticide. She is a little eccentric where babies are concerned."

86.0% "The Leopard clips some islands going around the Cape and Stephen gets an eyeful of whales, penguins, and seals."

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