Patricia's Reviews > The Yellow Admiral

The Yellow Admiral by Patrick O'Brian
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's review
Jul 20, 11

it was amazing
Read in July, 2011

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 to this threat to a common in his domain, so goes to the hearing about it and objects, effectively stopping the action in its tracks. This makes Jack a hero to the common folk but sets him at odds with the landowner who wanted inclosures for himself, a former navy man whose uncle is the admiral in charge of Jack's squadron. The admiral finds Jack negligent, greedy and other things in the course of his duty to protect the waters around Brest, effectively preventing him from getting his blue flag, an honorable promotion and the next logical step considering Aubrey's illustrious career.

In addition, Jack has suffered because of foolish indiscretions with a woman whose love letters to JA have fallen into the hands of his mother in law, a vindictive old bitty. Sophie speaks words of bitterness to Jack who goes to her seeking forgiveness.

In contrast, Stephen and Diana are experiencing marital bliss. She is as understanding of men's flaws as a feminist can be, urging Sophie to back at Jack by getting some for herself.

The war is winding down, signaling the end of a naval career, the end of a series. There is a melancholy flavor to this book, not unlike the Letter of Marque, when Jack was disgraced and thrown from the service.

Still I eagerly look to the next volume in the series. The characters remain complex, intriguing, and develop with each book. I especially liked learning about advances in medicine, and Stephen's curiosity about the use of maggots to clean wounds.

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