Betsy's Reviews > The Mauritius Command

The Mauritius Command by Patrick O'Brian
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's review
May 04, 2008

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Read in May, 2008

I've recently discovered Patrick O'Brian--I had picked up H.M.S. Surprise at a used book store or a garage sale about three years ago and finally read it a couple weeks ago. I have a friend who describes Patrick O'Brian as "Jane Austen for boys." I've long since exhausted my first reads of all Jane Austen, so it is nice to have a score or two of new first reads. Also nice to read what may have been happening on the other side of all that crossed correspondence that drives Austen's domestic plots.

I was a bit distracted by some errant misogynistic bits in this novel, though--granted, haven't read 1 or 2 yet, but I didn't feature Jack Aubrey as a character that would harbor such blatant disappointment over ahem, TWINS, even though they were girls. Particularly when he can take the loss of all but two of his ships around chapter 8 with such equanimity. But perhaps I'm missing some characterization at this point--Stephen Maturin in particular is getting more complex. I'll give O'Brian at least three more novels to correct this before I give up on the boy's Jane Austen.
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Rachel I think you'll find the misogynistic bits aren't errant as you read the series, any more than are the racist, pro-slavery bits. They're integral expressions of the characters in their contexts, and not all characters believe the same things as one another (or presumably, as O'Brian himself). Hope you got to the rest of the series (certainly the first half at least)! Enjoy!

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