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H.M.S. Surprise (Aubrey/Maturin, #3)
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NAPOLEONIC WARS > 2. HF - HMS SURPRISE - CHAPTER 2 (28 - 55) (04/04/11 - 04/10/11) ~ No spoilers, please

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message 1: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bentley | 28354 comments Hello,

Welcome to the group discussion of the book HMS Surprise by Patrick O'Brian. This discussion is being led by Assisting Moderator - Christopher Tolley.

During the week of April 4– April 10 we are reading:

Week Two - April 4 - April 10 - Chapters 2 - p. 28-55

This thread will discuss the following:

Week Two - April 4 - April 10 - Chapters 2 - p. 28-55

Remember, these weekly non spoiler threads are just that - non spoiler. There are many other threads where "spoiler information" can be placed including the glossary and any of the other supplemental threads.

We will open up a thread for each week's reading. Please make sure to post in the particular thread dedicated to those specific chapters and page numbers to avoid spoilers. We will also open up supplemental threads as we have done for other spotlighted reads.

We look forward to your participation. Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other noted on line booksellers do have copies of the book and shipment can be expedited. The book can also be obtained easily at your local library, on iTunes for the ipad, Audible etc. There are also downloadable eBook versions available. However, be careful, if you do go for an audible version that some audible formats are abridged and not unabridged.

There is still time remaining to obtain the book and get started. There is no rush and we are thrilled to have you join us. It is never too late to get started and/or to post.



H.M.S. 'Surprise' (Aubrey/Maturin Book 3) by Patrick O'Brian by Patrick O'BrianPatrick O'Brian

Attached is the link to the full TOC and Syllabus:

Here is a link to the Introduction Thread for this book:

And here is the link to the glossary which is a spoiler thread where anything can be discussed regarding the book including historical events, famous people, locations, naval history depicted in the novel and the like.

message 2: by [deleted user] (last edited Apr 04, 2011 04:16AM) (new)

O'Brian appears to enjoy exploding conventions of 19th century seafaring, or schooling the reader in his own. Rather than a crew of ruddy yo ho ho Britishers, the Lively is peopled with all races, including a large complement of vicious former Malay pirates, pressed in the South Seas. Ship's food is crawling with maggots and weevils, and midshipmen catch rats, skin, clean and sell them for consumption. The hierarchy of officers and men is so rigid even when Aubrey has his men to dinner, they may not speak until he addresses them first.

Why do you think O'Brian makes the reader
aware of such things? Does it contribute to the reader's overall understanding of characters and plot, or is it just gross? In an age before refrigeration, doubtless the Bronte sisters' characters would have had an expanded view of what constituted edible food, yet they do not describe such things in detail. Similarly,the 19th century was an altogether more brutal and violent age, yet contemporary authors rather refer to violence as specifically as O'Brian. What is O'Brian trying to tell the reader?

The focus on Aubrey shows he will be one of the main characters of the book. The ships he temporarily captains, the Lively, has been so well-trained by its regular captain that it is very near the perfect sailing weapon. Yet Aubrey is not happy in the Lively. Why do you suppose that is?

What are your impressions of Aubrey? He seems to be the archetypal hero, lion-hearted bravery, decisive and still sensitive to not only his beloved Sophie's feelings, but also to those of his men. What sort of picture of males is O'Brian starting to paint?

I can't help remarking that the action and adventure has started right away, in the second chapter. For those interested in this aspect of O'Brian's books, this bodes well.

Please feel free to comment on the above or anything else you found interesting in Chapter 2.

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