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The Hundred Days

(Aubrey & Maturin #19)

4.35  ·  Rating details ·  5,938 ratings  ·  175 reviews
The year is 1815, and Europe's most unpopular (not to mention tiniest) empire-builder has escaped from Elba. In The Hundred Days, it's up to Jack Aubrey--and surgeon-cum-spymaster Stephen Maturin--to stop Napoleon in his tracks. How? For starters, Aubrey and his squadron have been dispatched to the Adriatic coast, to keep Bonapartist shipbuilders from beefing up the French ...more
Kindle Edition, 319 pages
Published December 5th 2011 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published 1998)
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Jay Simmons Yes. O’Brian writes explanatory comments if you do not have the background of the previous volumes. Some readers of the complete set are frustrated by…moreYes. O’Brian writes explanatory comments if you do not have the background of the previous volumes. Some readers of the complete set are frustrated by what they see as repetition. If you want to read any Aubrey/Maturin volume I suggest the 1st Master and Commander. (less)
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Darwin8u
May 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, aubrey-maturin
"Patriotism, promotion, and prize-money have been described as the three masts of the Royal Navy."
- Patrick O'Brian, The Hundred Days

description

One more full novel to go in this series and two surprising deaths. This, the 19th novel was published in 1998, 29 years after the first book in the series (Master and Commander) came out (1969). This novel takes place largely in the Eastern Mediterranean, Gibraltar, and the Levant. There were many things about it to love and while this wasn't the best in the serie
...more
Ted
Apr 06, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4 1/2


Said Kent (a Whitehall gentleman), “You will recall that Buonaparte professed himself a Muslim at the time of the Egyptian campaign?”


This from the penultimate (19 of 20) novel in O’Brian’s Aubrey-Maturin series of Napoleonic-era sailing/adventure novels. (For an overview and introduction to this series, see my review of Master and Commander.)




At the end of the previous novel (The Yellow Admiral) Aubrey receives a letter, dated Feb 28 [1815] - Napoleon has escaped from Elba. The reviewed n
...more
Nelson
Dec 23, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
For the second time (I think) in the series, O'Brian has written an ordinarily entertaining novel rather than something that achieved a bit more. There are minor lapses here and there. Those who cavil at the leaps in plot and the lingering on what sometimes seem like insignificant details haven't been paying enough attention; O'Brian has done this from the beginning. In the past, the swift refocusing of the narrative on surprising events (or the glossing over of major ones--here, the death of a ...more
Robert
It's been a while and I'd forgotten about O'Brian's delicious prose. Delicious prose like ice-cream that's full of flavour and goes down smoothly. Prose that makes a statement. Makes a statement then repeats it, expanding upon it. Prose that really is way harder to imitiate than it looks...

It was a bit of a shock to find Aubrey and Maturin had not only escaped the magically extended 1812 (authors are the gods of their creations and can do anything) but had arrived in 1815 without any apparent in
...more
Neil R. Coulter

Many readers have noted that O'Brian's series declines in quality generally at some point in the second ten books. I agree with that, but The Hundred Days is the first volume where I actually almost wished he'd ended the series earlier. The reason for this is mostly in the opening chapter. The clunky exposition in this first chapter is not especially worse than the lame exposition sections in some (not all) of the other books in the series. But I felt shocked and insulted at the way O'Brian uses

...more
Gilly McGillicuddy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Joshua Rigsby
Oct 15, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nautical
Patrick O'Brian is close to the end of the series with this book. There are only one and a half books left and a little bit of the shine and luster have faded. Relatively important characters suddenly die off with very little explanation or impact on the story, Maturin has strangely come to understand the names of sails and the comparative values of different vessels, and much of the narrative involves espionage and the preparations for espionage instead of old fashioned cannon thumping and swas ...more
Siria
Not him at his best, I think. O' Brian's very clearly tired at this point, and I think writing just in order to spend more time with the characters, rather than in order to say anything new about them. Still eminently readable, of course, but there's a certain spark that's lacking—not to mention the fact that he elided over the departures of two major characters in a way which made my eyebrows shoot up. There's British reticence, and there's that.

I will confess, on a shallower note, to having de
...more
Cherie
Mar 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: series, read-audio
I don't think this story was as good as the last, but brought back fond memories of previous battles and stories. I will miss Bonden.
Kathryn
Nov 11, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.)
Jul 02, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.) by: lonebearimages@gmail.com
I have to say reading this novel resulted in a bit of a shock to me. Patrick O'Brian uses deus ex machina to address some apparent 'loose ends,' and I shan't say anything further to spoil it for the reader. Superbly plotted and deftly written, "The Hundred Days" refers to the period of time between Napoleon's escape from exile on Elba to his subsequent defeat on the battlefield of Waterloo in June 1815 by the Allies. In that same time frame, our intrepid Royal Navy Captain, Jack Aubrey, now made ...more
Craig a.k.a Meatstack
Patrick O'Brian, you Son of a B

How can you just kill off one of the most beloved characters in this series, and brush it aside like nothing happened?

I get that sudden death is a fact in the British Navy of the Napoleonic wars, but that was ludicrous. I can't believe that, and I'm trying not to spoil the "who" involved, Jack and Steven would have just moved on like he was a landsman.

Ok, I'm done venting. Maybe not...

Here's the problem. This story isn't the most succinct of the series. it's sort
...more
Fritz Schneider
Nov 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I cannot tell you how much I love this series. I've been rationing it -- I saved two of the last four for my honeymoon. I'm debating when and how to consume the last two.

These books are awesome -- funny, with great characters. If you're just starting out ask someone who's read them before to give you a little primer on what to pay attention to...
Sid Nuncius
Aug 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is now my third time reading through this brilliant series and I am reminded again how beautifully written and how wonderfully, addictively enjoyable they are.

Following the Peace and paying off of much of the Royal Navy, Napoleon has escaped from Elba and war is again upon Jack and Steven. They and the Surprise find themselves ordered to the Mediterranean again to harass and thwart Bonaparte’s plans to build more ships and reinforce his troops in Europe. There is plenty of action, plenty of
...more
EJD Dignan
Repeated from review of Book 1

That Patrick O'Brian chose to place his characters on the sea in the not so distant past just raised the hurdle I had to leap to get to know this wonderful author.

I had never been enamored with sea stories, didn't much care for European history, and yet was wonderfully taken with this series. The sea is a major character, but history is not greatly illuminated, almost a backdrop to the specific circumstance the characters find themselves in. Which perhaps reflects t
...more
Angela
Jun 22, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was not what I've come to expect of O'Brien. The pacing and characterization were a little off. I had trouble getting through the first hundred pages. Then, the book didn't really seem true to the two main characters. There were a couple of sudden deaths of characters that have been around since the first books--which were then hardly ever mentioned again. I didn't feel that Stephen or Jack reacted to those deaths in realistic ways. I don't care if they are British--no-one's stiff uppe ...more
Al
May 12, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was interesting to read this book, written by O'Brian toward the end of his Aubrey-Maturin series, soon after reading HMS Surprise, written much earlier. The Hundred Days fails by comparison. Its plot is weak, disjointed, and wandering. The book deals with a series of relatively minor events occurring during the "hundred days" of Napoleon's return from exile, which return ended in his loss to Wellington at Waterloo. In the book, Aubrey and Maturin fitfully pursue a shipment of gold intended ...more
Sam
This was another 3.5 stars really, a good read, but I still prefer the earlier books in the series. The thing that really stuck out in this one was the death of two important characters, one on land and one at sea. Considering who they were (I won't say to spoil things), I was surprised at how little it seemed to effect the other characters in the book, especially Aubrey and Maturin. One of the deaths you only hear about via idle gossip, the other you witness, but it was abrupt and barely mentio ...more
Susan
Mar 27, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: jack-aubrey, 2015, audio
I didn't enjoy this book as much as I did the previous one.

The author tended to ramble on about inconsequential things and when something did happen, it felt like the events were few and far between. As others mentioned, there was a death and we were not privy to any consequences from this nor any reactions. That was disappointing.

Still, I enjoy the characters of Jack and Stephen as they always surprise me with their actions. I think these two are probably the most human characters I've read in
...more
Corto
Jul 11, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
...hard to write my thoughts about this one without spoilers- so there isn't much to say. This volume is a solid part of the canon. POB was really regaining his footing after a bit of a "drop in intensity". This one pulsed with life. I thoroughly enjoyed it. 3 stars for the unceremonious way the endpoint of one character's long-term trajectory was handled.
Michael
May 20, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What an amazing voyage it has been. It's kind of heartbreaking that it's almost over.
Karla
Another in the series where I either couldn't get into the plot or there wasn't much of one to speak of. It seemed to really lack the narrative oomph of so many others in the series.
Squeaky
My favorite character is dead!
Catherine Mayo
This sets out to be another glorious read from Patrick O’Brian. Unfortunately O’Brian chooses to eliminate Stephen Maturin’s wife Diana in such a cursory fashion in the first few pages, it is hard to forgive him and slide back happily into the story. In the previous volume, The Yellow Admiral, we come to know Diana even better than before, and to have such a dashing, independent, colourful personality, with such superlative driving skills, rubbed out via a conversation between two characters tha ...more
John Jr.
As those with a historical bent will know, the Hundred Days is a commonly used though slightly inaccurate term for the period in which that rascal Napoleon Bonaparte escaped from his island prison on Elba, returned to France, proclaimed himself emperor again, and threatened the peace of Western Europe before being stopped and packed off to a new island prison. That Napoleon failed was directly attributable to a land battle whose name has become synonymous with defeat, but according to the action ...more
Andreas Schmidt
And it finally jumped the shark ...
In tutta onestà la morte di Diana non mi è andata giù, come non mi è andato giù il "eh ma la vita continua ! :P " cercando un riavvio della serie con le solite cose che i protagonisti fanno: saccheggiare, incendiare e distruggere le navi francesi (o catturarle per vendere), oppure andare ad osservare uccelli marini o specie, in questo caso, native dell'Adriatico. Non vedo la ragione per porre in ogni libro una disgrazia apparente, per poi volgerla come al solit
...more
Malcolm Costain
I confess it was the movie, 'Master and Commander: The far side of the world' that got me into this series several years ago.

Since then, I've read almost all 20 of the 21 book series. There's only the final unfinished manuscript of the 21st book to go.

Things that make the series so good:
1. The characters of Jack Aubrey and Steven Maturin are so well developed that it's easy to spend time with them.
2. The technical details of the old sailing ships -- not for everyone but fascinating for me.
3.
...more
Kenneth
Oct 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was as you would expect though I have to say it would rank in the bottom half of my favorites for the Aubrey-Maturin series. Frankly, I read these books for tales of seafaring, swashbuckling and nautical derring-do. This volume left my swash fairly unbuckled and my timbers rarely shivered. Much of the book is taken up with Maturin wandering around North Africa on various diplomatic missions but mostly examining the flora and fauna of the Atlas Mountains. Naturally this has it's place, ...more
Dave Mills
Dec 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
To those who say the last few in the series of Aubrey/Maturin adventures are weaker than the earlier ones, I say, "Poppycock. Tommyrot." This is another grand story by an incredibly talented story-teller and writer.
Just when you think that Mr. O'Brian has run out of plots, he challenges you with yet another one. Just when you think Killick's insouciance has gone too far, O'Brian surprises you. Just when you think you've come to know every seaman well, Mr. O'Brian introduces you to a new and wort
...more
Terri
Sep 04, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: listened-to
With Napoleon defeated leaving Aubrey without a position and Stephen reeling from heartbreak, they set out on a voyage to South America with the stated purpose of charting and hydrography, but, of course, it's just a cover for a Maturin led intelligence operation to liberate South America colonies. Before they get too far however, Napoleon has escaped and his 100 day reign begins. The Surprise becomes the head of a squadron to harass French shopping in the Mediterranean and forestall Algerian mo ...more
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Goodreads Librari...: Please update page count for 0-393-31979-2 4 14 Dec 02, 2017 09:04AM  
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Patrick O'Brian's acclaimed Aubrey/Maturin series of historical novels has been described as "a masterpiece" (David Mamet, New York Times), "addictively readable" (Patrick T. Reardon, Chicago Tribune), and "the best historical novels ever written" (Richard Snow, New York Times Book Review), which "should have been on those lists of the greatest novels of the 20th century" (George Will).

Set in the
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Other books in the series

Aubrey & Maturin (1 - 10 of 21 books)
  • Master and Commander (Aubrey & Maturin, #1)
  • Post Captain (Aubrey & Maturin #2)
  • H.M.S. Surprise (Aubrey & Maturin #3)
  • The Mauritius Command (Aubrey & Maturin #4)
  • Desolation Island (Aubrey & Maturin #5)
  • The Fortune of War (Aubrey & Maturin #6)
  • The Surgeon's Mate (Aubrey & Maturin #7)
  • The Ionian Mission (Aubrey & Maturin #8)
  • Treason's Harbour (Aubrey & Maturin #9)
  • The Far Side of the World (Aubrey & Maturin #10)
“Wit is the unexpected copulation of ideas.” 1095 likes
“Jack, I must tell you in your private ear that we have some allies ashore, rather curious allies, I admit, who look after these operations: I hope and trust that you will see many another yard burnt or burning before we reach Durazzo. I am aware that this is not your kind of war, brother: it is not glorious. Yet as you see, it is effective.’ ‘Do not take me for a bloody-minded man, Stephen, a death-or-glory swashbuckling cove. Believe me, I had rather see a first-rate burnt to the water-line than a ship’s boy killed or mutilated.” 1 likes
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