The Commodore (Aubrey & Maturin #17)
To add something new to this wonderful year:
To honour we call you, not press you like slaves,
For who are so free as we sons of the waves."
- Patrick O'Brian, The Commodore quoting the sailor-song "Hearts of Oak"
Captain Aubrey (technically Post-Captain) gets frocked (or the Naval equivalent) and now commands a squadron of ships. This was a temporary rank given to high ranking captains without making them admirals, thus saving the Navy the cost, but sti ...more
Jack Aubrey has his first fleet command. Part of the plot revolves around a contrast among the leadership styles of three ships' captains:
1. flog your people until they achieve your standard of perfection;
2. have sex with your favorites;
3. train your team so that they master a rewarding skill (in this case, sailing the ship and working its guns so as to maximize the potent ...more
They return to sea, Jack having been given command of a squadron and sent publicly to harass slavers off the coast of Africa and privately to intercept a French invasion force. Already distu ...more
I really have to say that the earlier volumes were the best of the series.
I really loved this novel. There were very many beautiful and poignant sections. Just the chapters with Stephen and his daughter would have been enough to swallow my heart whole. But so so many other lovely, human, extraordinary moments made this one of my favorites in the series.
It is time for the men to return home to their families. Sophie is a paragon of wisdom, but shows her te ...more
2nd time: Starting Christmas Eve, 2013. I had an urge to pick up the series again, where I left off about 2000. It was still a great read. This volume featured a lot of Stephen's naturalizing, internal thinking, and overcoming yellow fever.
The passage in which he hears his daughter overcome what appears to be autism has been one of my favorites in the series.
Jack, on the other hand, is confronted with a much more independent-minded, and self-assured, Sophie, which f ...more
Di per sé questo libro non racconta molto, anzi sembra piuttosto che l'autore abbia perso il gusto di narrare le battaglie in mare (cambiamento di stile?). Più che altro è un rimescolare di alcune vicende, che avevano lasciato il lettore con il fiato sospeso: come al solito, in Patria, Diana ha un problema, allo stesso modo della figlia Brigit, di Maturin. Al ritorno, il dottore semplicemente si ritrova (direi che è quasi una soluzione scontata, se non banale) a dover affidare a ...more
I wonder how many pots of coffee have been consumed in the Aubrey/Maturin novels by this point. Hundreds, surely. It's not possible to read these books without frequent cravings for coffee and toasted cheese.
The best thing about The Commodore is that the long round-the-world voyage of the past several volumes is finally at an end. Jack and Stephen finally return home and find out what's been happening with their families in the years they've been away. I love Sophie, and there's nothing better i...more
promoted to commodore, but faces tough times on the home front as jealousy rages on both sides. Maturin finds Diana gone, but meets his daughter. Maturin take his daughter to Spain and before meeting Aubrey and his fleet of ships off the coast of Africa where they make spectacular inroads against the slave trade. It's all a front though and they eventually head north to head off a French squadron planning to land troops in Ireland.
Maybe some would be commented and resolved in the following books, we will see.
The tone and languages spoken between Aubrey and Maturin are out of characters -they are inconsistent with the speaking styles in the previous books in the series. The appearance of Diana felt forced.
Overall still a fascinating book.
Set in the ...more
Other Books in the Series
Like many other sailors Jack Aubrey had long dreamed of lying in his warm bed all night long; yet although he could now do so with a clear conscience he often rose at unChristian hours, particularly if he were moved by strong emotion, and crept from his bedroom in a watch-coat, to walk about the house or into the stables or to pace the bowling-green. Sometimes he took his fiddle with him. He was in fact a better player than Stephen, and now that he was using his precious Guarnieri rather than a robust sea-going fiddle the difference was still more evident: but the Guarnieri did not account for the whole of it, nor anything like. Jack certainly concealed his excellence when they were playing together, keeping to Stephen's mediocre level: this had become perfectly clear when Stephen's hands were at last recovered from the thumb-screws and other implements applied by French counter-intelligence officers in Minorca; but on reflexion Stephen thought it had been the case much earlier, since quite apart from his delicacy at that period, Jack hated showing away.
Now, in the warm night, there was no one to be comforted, kept in countenance, no one could scorn him for virtuosity, and he could let himself go entirely; and as the grave and subtle music wound on and on, Stephen once more contemplated on the apparent contradiction between the big, cheerful, florid sea-officer whom most people liked on sight but who would have never been described as subtle or capable of subtlety by any one of them (except perhaps his surviving opponents in battle) and the intricate, reflective music he was now creating. So utterly unlike his limited vocabulary in words, at times verging upon the inarticulate.
'My hands have now regained the moderate ability they possessed before I was captured,' observed Maturin, 'but his have gone on to a point I never thought he could reach: his hands and his mind. I am amazed. In his own way he is the secret man of the world.”