Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Post Captain (Aubrey & Maturin, #2)” as Want to Read:
Post Captain (Aubrey & Maturin, #2)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Post Captain

(Aubrey & Maturin #2)

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  18,405 ratings  ·  955 reviews
Post Captain, the second in Patrick O'Brian's much loved Aubrey-Maturin series of novels, begins with Jack Aubrey returning to an England at peace following the Treaty of Amiens. With his friend Stephen Maturin, he begins to live the life of a country gentleman but their comfortable existence is cut short when Jack is reduced to a pauper overnight. He flees to the continen ...more
Paperback, 474 pages
Published April 2010 by Harper Collins (first published 1972)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Post Captain, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Cole Schoolland The first book was originally intended to be stand-alone. As you move through the series they become much more "serial". Post Captain is the first one…moreThe first book was originally intended to be stand-alone. As you move through the series they become much more "serial". Post Captain is the first one where you pick up some of the early elements of the longer narrative (mainly women). I'd say hop right in at Post Captain and continue your voyage all the way to book 20.5 then repeat!(less)
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Mike It would have been unlawful for them to duel at sea so they kept putting off the duel until their "seconds" could arrange an appropriate time and plac…moreIt would have been unlawful for them to duel at sea so they kept putting off the duel until their "seconds" could arrange an appropriate time and place when the ship was docked. Some very important things happen between them before they get back to land and their deeper friendship wins out over the jealousy which threatened to separate them. As often happens with O'Brian's writing, his wonderful points of view and gradual storytelling, some of the pieces come together in the midst of other activities in the form of characters reflecting or other characters reflecting on them. (Trying to keep this spoiler free - happy to add more detail if desired. This is one of my favorite book series!)(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.26  · 
Rating details
 ·  18,405 ratings  ·  955 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Post Captain (Aubrey & Maturin, #2)
Mar 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Post Captain makes me wonder if Patrick O'Brian originally intended Master and Commander as a one off (and if you know the answer please don't tell me. I like not knowing).

Master and Commander is a great book, and our introduction to Captain Jack Aubrey and Doctor Stephen Maturin is a great hook, but it can stand alone as a simple Naval adventure without any need for additional information about the men and women confined by its pages. This could, of course, simply be a result of its place as th
Sep 23, 2009 rated it really liked it
Patrick O'Brian, you have exposed yourself.

Exposed yourself as a Jane Austen wannabe, that is. One who is a bit sniffily about the fact that Jane (quite unfairly, I'm sure!) did not give us the thoughts of the male half of the regency romance equation.

The first 200 pages of this novel do really read like a historical romance. Albeit one with a very masculine touch- there's just as much swearing and angst and tinkering with the natural world in odd ways as ever there was before, but now its all i
Jason Koivu
Nov 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Jason by: C.S. Forester, in a way.

Dancing bears and loons that fancy themselves teapots? No, number two in the series is not a typical Aubrey/Maturin adventure, yet it is perhaps better than the first!

While book one, Master & Commander, was about war and friendship, the second book, Post Captain enters the love arena, and friendship is put to the test. Of course war is not forgotten, this is a historical fiction series set during the Napoleonic Wars after all. The career of our hero Captain Jack Aubrey of the Royal Navy intertwi
Jan 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historic-fiction
I've been reading the Aubrey/Maturin series for a few years now, and even though I'm not as loyal to these books as I am to other series, it's always nice to dip back into Patrick O'Brian's well-researched, well-written, and consistently delightful historical adventures.

Post Captain, the second in the series, is almost split evenly between scenes on land and scenes on various ships, and even though a lot of people prefer the ratio to skew more towards sea-based scenes, I liked the frequent chan
Feb 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
My friend, Jose, regularly re-read the whole Aubrey-Maturin series. He found it so rich that diving back into it was a constant pleasure. This is not my first time through, and O'Brian's work holds my attention as firmly as it did initially.

In Post Captain, we find Aubrey in dire financial straits (nautical analogy works well) and we learn a lot more of Maturin's secrets (and secret life). O'Brian's writing is witty, precisely attuned to the issues at hand (and their correct terminology) and so
Algernon (Darth Anyan)
Jun 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013

Second books in a long epic series are usually a lot harder to write and to get right than debut ones. To use an analogy from music, a rock band usually writes a great debut album : they've been playing the material for years in garages and/or small pubs before being noticed, they have their enthusiasm stil running high and the ambition to get noticed. Second showings are often either trying to cash in on original success and are rushed with outtakes and rejects from the first album or are self-
Sherwood Smith
Patrick O’Brian’s worldbuilding conveys the impression that there are not only detailed landscape and dwellings to be glimpsed through the smallest window, but the roads lead somewhere just as detailed, whether the story leads us there or not.

O’Brian is a perfect example of what I call the bricolage method of worldbuilding, bricolage being (I think) a strong element of appeal for many genre readers.

O’Brian’s mastery of history is evident in the slight references that evoke, to the reader who kno
Jul 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016, aubrey-maturin
"This is perhaps the final detachment; and this is perhaps the only way to live -- free, surprisingly light and well, no diminution of interest but no commitment: a liberty I have hardly ever known."
- Patrick O'Brian, 'Post Captain'


The second book in O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin series (20 books). It might be early to say this, but this might rank at or near the top of the best historical novels ever (taken as a whole). I'm not sure if he can maintain this level of literary mastery, but if the fir
Oct 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4 Stars

Initially while reading this book and thinking about what I might say in my review, I didn’t think I would find anything positive to say. Now, having completed “the journey”, although there is far too much going on in this novel, and from what I can see here on GR, the longest volume of the series, it is quite a good book.

The first four chapters made me really uneasy. The land based captain Jack Aubrey was not as strong and so sure of himself as the Master and Commander we came to know fr
I almost gave this 3 stars, but I have too many reservations. I almost abandoned the book early on. I don't care for O'Brian's style - it's too Victorian. Sure, that's a plus for some, but I hate it & the story was very uneven. The first third of the book with threads running all the way through concentrated on ridiculous love interests & land problems. Very true to life, but Aubrey doesn't shine. It does make quite a statement about the economics of the war & the idiocy of societies, though.

Mar 13, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Felicity by: Ryan Grove
The second installment of the Aubrey-Maturin chronicles is long, and has the unpredictable, organic rhythm one comes to expect of the books: the small and large concerns chasing each other, defeat crowding upon victory, action on small, daily joys.

This volume brings us deeper into the landed life of the two protagonists, and explores new highs and lows in their friendship. It also brings us new ships to love and hate, blazing action, and the difference between the wizened heads of male and femal
Oct 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Is it a sign of maturity that I appear to be enjoying the Aubrey-Maturin books much more than I used to? Maybe I just had to wait until I had reached an age that gave me the perspective I needed to appreciate them more fully? Perhaps my jargon-detector is a little more lenient this time around? Or maybe my book-reading bio-rhythms were just in synch and I got lucky? Regardless of what may be the cause I found myself really enjoying this volume of the Aubrey-Maturin series, a fact that surpised m ...more
Dec 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I started with this book, rather than Master and Commander, on a friend's recommendation, and I had more fun than I've had with a book in a long while. O'Brian has a strong, witty technique—and his command of omniscient point of view makes it feel as natural as breathing. This is a book about a single, particular friendship, and on that ground it succeeds enormously.
Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship
This is a lot of fun, literary historical fiction with a dose of action. I read the first book a few years back and enjoyed it, though I struggled with the morass of seafaring terms. Either this book reduces them or I’d just gotten used to not understanding every word. This book broadens the world of the series, giving the heroes some time onshore to get into trouble and romantic entanglements (these sections are surprisingly reminiscent of Jane Austen, who was writing around the time these nove ...more
Edward Waverley
Jan 04, 2010 rated it really liked it
Among John Fowles’ many goals in The French Lieutenant’s Woman (1969) was his intention to pay homage to Jane Austen’s Persuasion. But Post Captain, published just three years after Fowles’s book, is a far happier tribute to Jane, enriching my enjoyment of Austen, while succeeding on many other accounts as well. While Fowles rambles all over Lyme and Bath trying both to epitomize and to outdo the entire body of Victorian literature, O’Brian, as always, entertains and educates with matchless grac ...more
Feb 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another fantastic yarn!!
Mar 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: series, read-audio
I would give it ten stars if I could!

I can't even get my mind around how much story was in this book, but it was wonderful. There is so much going on from one section to the next. Something always happening. There are no dull moments. Always new things to learn about. So much humor in the dialogue - much of it tongue-in-cheek. Laugh out loud funny at times. Then there are scenes where things are so sad. There is a love story for one and the opposite for another.

Jack - having to evade creditors
Feb 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: naval-fiction
Damned if these books aren't getting better, after an indifferent Vol. 1.
Brendan Monroe

Patrick O'Brian's "Post Captain" is a seafaring yarn that bests all other seafaring yarns — though, in truth, this is only the second book in a series of 20 so perhaps it's too early to say. But I loved it.

It reads very much like a Victorian novel — part Jane Austen, part Robert Louis Stevenson, part naval encyclopedia — and like any other novel written in this style, it takes some getting used to. In fact, I started this on a trip back in May, set it down after 30 pages or so as I wa
Sid Nuncius
Jun 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing

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.

Post Captain is the second in the sequence and the book in which O'Brian really hit his stride, I think. Jack Aubrey is a naval Commander during the Napoleonic Wars, struggling to find a ship, to avoid being arrested for debt and getting into all sorts of tangles with his heart, while his friend Stephen Maturin continues in his eccent
It's been... wow, a decade? Since I read Master and Commander.

So, yes, I can say that you don't need any detailed knowledge of the first book before reading this. In fact, while the climax of the first book gets brought up a lot, the only impact on this book is that these events happened. There's no direct consequences.

This one wanders around a bit, establishing a slightly larger cast of characters, and looking deeper into the principle two, especially Maturin, who gets firmly established a spy
Brendan Hodge
Dec 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Post Captain is the second novel about Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin, but in a sense the first in the series. Here, for the first time, we run into Stephen's dual role as doctor/scientist and also as intelligence agent. Here the women who will play such a large part in both men's lives (Sophie and Diana) are introduced. And of course there is O'Brian's unparalleled ability with period dialogue which makes these books such a pleasure to read.

It had been perhaps ten years since I'd read O'Brian.
Rebecca Huston
A very enjoyable entry in the series, as we get to see Jack and Stephen fall in love, struggle with money, go on an adventure or two, and the real use of a dancing bear. Lots of little nautical details and don't let the esoteric terms through you off -- it's worth the effort. Five stars overall and very much recommended.

For the longer review please go here:

"This is perhaps the final detachment; and this is perhaps the only way to live -free, surprisingly light and well, no diminution of interest but no commitment: a liberty I have hardly ever known. Life in its purest form- admirable in every way, only for the fact that it is not living, as I have ever understood the word."

I find that I need to be in the right mood for these books. They're so dense, and the terminology is quite unforgiving. There are times where I either breeze past a sentence, ho
Jun 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Great story, wonderfully written characters, climactic action, and even a healthy dose of comedy. Also, the narration of the audio book is superb. Each character (even side characters who only appear once or twice) is given a unique voice and accent that really elevates the book as a whole and makes it very easy to follow the dialogue. And following the dialogue is important, given all the naval lingo.

Highly recommended.
Nov 08, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think this is it, then: this is the point where I can safely consider myself a fan of this series, and where I can see myself probably buying and reading all the books that follow this one. I read this in three or four days, mostly while on holiday in Nice; a setting largely irrelevant to that of this story, but it was one in which I found I could completely lose myself in the writing here. In years to come I hope I’ll recall sitting on the balcony of that apartment for hours, drinking cold wh ...more
Apr 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Lisa by: Steve
"There she is, sir, just under the sprits'l yard. Tops'ls: maybe mizen t'garns'ls. Close-hauled, I take it."

Nope, me neither. But you know what? This book is such ruddy good fun that it really doesn't matter - I spent most of my reading time with a huge grin on my face when I wasn't laughing. Life's been a bit rocky lately, and this did a fantastic job of cheering me up and keeping my mind occupied, which was just what I needed.

Spending the first third of the book on land, the 'Jane Austen for b
Carac Allison
Apr 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

The Aubrey/Maturin series is a marvel. Every five years or so I work my way through it again. Right now I'm listening to Simon Vance's fine audiobook versions.

"Post Captain" is the one book I always have trouble rereading because of the rift between Jack and Stephen. Silly I know but there it is.

This was better than the first book for me. Jack and Stephen were not the annoying characters I found them in the first book and the story could be quite humourous in places.

I enjoyed the love story element but was very happy to have them back at sea by the end of the book.
Jan 07, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having recently reread Master and Commander, the first of the Aubrey-Maturin novels, I was keen to continue with the series, so with my sails set, my rigging tight, it was onward to Post Captain.

In this, the second book, Jack Aubrey is up against it, with debt collectors circling and no sign of his promotion to Post Captain. So, whilst Jack needed a ship to keep the creditors at bay, he was not reckoning with the Poppycrest, an experimental ship.

Needless to say Post Captain is an absolute deligh
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Full-WATCH!! Don-t Breathe 2016 Online Free Movie 1 8 Sep 02, 2016 08:08AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • A Sea of Words: A Lexicon and Companion to the Complete Seafaring Tales of Patrick O'Brian
  • Mr. Midshipman Hornblower
  • Lieutenant Hornblower
  • Commodore Hornblower
  • Hornblower and the Hotspur
  • Ship of the Line
  • Hornblower and the Atropos
  • Hornblower During the Crisis
  • Beat to Quarters
  • Flying Colours
  • Lord Hornblower
  • Patrick O'Brian's Navy
  • Ramage & the Drumbeat (The Lord Ramage Novels, #2)
  • Sharpe's Waterloo (Sharpe, #20)
  • Ramage (Lord Ramage #1)
  • Artemis (Kydd Sea Adventures, #2)
  • Mutiny (Kydd Sea Adventures, #4)
  • A Sea of Words: A Lexicon and Companion to the Complete Seafaring Tales of Patrick O'Brian
See similar books…
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

Other books in the series

Aubrey & Maturin (1 - 10 of 21 books)
  • Master and Commander (Aubrey & Maturin, #1)
  • 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)
  • The Reverse of the Medal (Aubrey & Maturin #11)

Related Articles

“Let us remember: One book, one pen, one child, and one teacher can change the world.” That’s Malala Yousafzai, Pakistani human rights...
0 likes · 0 comments
“I sew his ears on from time to time, sure.” 70 likes
“I am opposed to authority, that egg of misery and oppression; I am opposed to it largely for what it does to those who exercise it.” 40 likes
More quotes…