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Kanonen auf hoher See (Aubrey/Maturin, #6)
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Kanonen auf hoher See (Aubrey & Maturin #6)

4.38  ·  Rating details ·  9,221 Ratings  ·  298 Reviews
This time it's the War of 1812 that gets in the way of Captain Jack Aubery's plans. Caught en route to England in a dispatch vessel, Aubrey and Maturin are soon in the thick of a typically bloody naval engagement. Next stop: an American prison, from which only Maturin's cunning allows them to engineer an exit.
Published (first published 1978)
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Darwin8u
Feb 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: aere-perennius, 2017
"A noble spread of sails, upon my word"
- Patrick O'Brian, The Fortune of War

description

There is a danger in writing a review of these books too soon after finishing them. If it is possible to describe my reception of a book of literature as somehow the equivalent of love, these books by O'Brian would certainly be a top contender for one of the great literature loves of my life. No. This isn't Shakespeare, but often even Shakespeare isn't Shakespeare. But these books are something. They are beyond prose and
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Jason Koivu
How much do I love these books? Let me count the ways...so far, we're up to six. Six splendiferous volumes of early 19th century seafaring goodness!

By the sixth of this series of twenty, I was fully enamored of the characters, the story, the writing - the whole kit and kaboodle! Although I've become more critical in my appraisal of O'Brian's work with each rereading, it still stands up as some of my favorite writing of all time. Granted, to be sympatico as book besties, you too would need to be
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Algernon
Jan 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015

I see no sign of diminishing interest in the Aubrey-Maturin adventures for me. Like one of the frigates described here, the series pushes on with all sails hoisted proudly, with a fair wind pushing the friends forward to distant, exotic shores.
These winds were actually tempestuous in the last installment (Desolation Island), describing one of the most fraught with danger and disaster journeys, as plague, Dutch raiders, hurricanes, icebergs, mutiny on board and hostile American sloops prevent Jac
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Andy
Avast there ye swabs!

I’ll translate for yous..... Hello folks!

A grand series is this & i’m sure it gets better with every read, each tale easier to get into than the last, much smoother in its storytelling & this time even a little backfill (via a despatch letter) as the story continues straight after Desolation Island which is most welcome to this reader as he ages......

We start in the East Indies & a little landlubbing is done before we set to the high seas, less lubbing than nor
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Sherwood Smith
One of my favorites, in which Stephen gets to be seriously badass.

There are two ship battles, both based on historical battles, complete to living commanders. To get Jack Aubrey in, he has to be a guest, and then a prisoner of war. We also see them in a shipwreck. It's interesting to see Jack under extreme duress, in circumstances he cannot control, and Stephen's internal life, while always fascinating, brings him near to discovery.

Diana Villiers is back, complicated, in as much turmoil as Steph
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Cherie
Mar 22, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-audio
The stories have really turned into a series with this book, more than the others. This one did not start off with Jack and Stephen at home in England. They were going home, but were captured by an American ship and taken to Boston, as prisoners of war after the War of 1812 broke out between England and the United States. Jack was hurt badly and Stephen was not sure he was going to save his right arm for a while. Then he gets pneumonia.

Stephen spends much of his time, when not with Jack, trying
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Wealhtheow
Jun 04, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
In which Maturin and Aubrey become prisoners of war of the newly formed United States, both are suspected of being spies, and Diana Villers is back. Daring escapes! Love affairs! Cold blooded murders! And of course, exciting ship battles!

It's a bit odd to see the early US from a British POV, especially since so many of the American characters seem to think they're British. Aubrey and Maturin are in fine form once more--their banter is top notch, and I love the little moments where the reader can
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Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.)
I know that some might be tempted to label this, the sixth installment in the 'Aubreyiad,' to be "slow." In actuality, this novel is one of the most brilliantly crafted and erudite novels written in the English language. Like peeling an onion, the reader discovers in the layers that Patrick O'Brian has not only provided some incredible naval action with the great guns and all; but has also taken the opportunity to provide a significant amount of backstory and extensive character development asso ...more
Karla
(Listened to the unabridged audiobook, narrated by Patrick Tull.)

Huzzah, I finally liked Diana in this one. Don't get me wrong - she's sassy and tough and has great one-liners, but in this one she really had me LOLing with her comments on her American lover, the "parish bull" Johnson. I actually felt sorry for the poor woman. Overall she seemed less the callous and bitchy femmy fataly than in previous books. My only regret is that a stupid American ship prevented her and Stephen from tying the k
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Ken-ichi
Nov 19, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Honestly, they're like candy. Even episodes like this one which take place predominantly on shore, as Jack and Stephen are "held" as prisoners of war in Boston. Naval warfare in this age just seems so preposterous in these books that I have difficulty believing it, but by all reports O'Brian was a fastidious scholar, so I guess I have to. Treating your defeated opponent to the highest civilities in the name of honor while simultaneously crystalizing the shame of defeat in the same act just seems ...more
Anne L.
Nov 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Do you like battles, intrigue, world travel, exotic locales and foods, humor, and all things nautical? Then the Aubrey/Maturin novels by Patrick O’Brian are for you. But I must warn you, work your way through the series sequentially for your first read, else you’ll be lost. But once you’ve met the cast of fantastic characters and can make your way around a British man-of-war or frigate, feel free to dip into any book for a vacation from the mundane world. The books revolve around the friendship ...more
Boots
this was the weakest in the series so far, i think. started out well enough with some taut naval action that leaves our heroes in an open boat and at the mercy of the fates, but once they are rescued and subsequently captured and end up in America things get dull for more than 100 pages; just a lot of endless nattering about Stephen's dull spy intrigues and a stupid love intrigue between Diana, Louisa, Herapath, and Johnson.

it probably says more about me than the books that i can't stand Diana
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Natalie Cannon
Jul 02, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love this series. I love how fleshed out Jack & Stephen are, how O'Brian fits in little fun moments between them in story full of life-threatening adventures. O'Brian's style and evident research continues in strength through book 6, with extra emphasis on spycraft and the ins and outs of Stephen's complicated heart. The Aubrey/Maturin remains my go-to definitive work when I long for the Age of Sail, and I look forward to the rest of the series.
Reni
The best volumne of the series I have read so far.

Set during the early months of the War of 1812, The Fortune of War is an incredibly well-paced adventure that takes its protagonists through a series of misfortunes (first shipwrecked, then prisoners of war!) from Australia all the way to the United States that have just recently declared war on Britain.

That the book is mainly set on land actually enhances its appeal. Compared to Forester, I've always felt O'Brian's naval scenes, particulary the
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John Frankham
Jun 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
An action-packed sixth novel in this 20 book series. Possibly over-packed with twists and turns, thus lacking a coherence, but full of gripping and exciting episodes.

"Captain Jack Aubrey, R. N., arrives in the Dutch East Indies to find himself appointed to the command of the fastest and best-armed frigate in the Navy. He and his friend Stephen Maturin take passage for England in a dispatch vessel. But the War of 1812 breaks out while they are en route. Bloody actions precipitate them both into n
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Stephen
Feb 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature
This is the middle of the trilogy of books in the Aubrey-Maturin series. The drama starts with the Leopard, having visited Botany Bay, arriving in the Spice Islands for repairs. The ship is in a general state of disrepair and is condemned to become a transport. As this is happening our erstwhile pair are ordered back home - Aubrey is promised a ship of the line and Maturin, whose intelligence time bomb has yielded results, is wanted at the Admiralty.

They both set off on La Fleche bound for Engla
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Martin Burrows
Mar 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This is book 6 of Patrick O'Brian's 21 volume historical fiction work about Jack Aubrey, a 19th Century British Sea Captain. As is usual with all of the O'Brian books I have read so far, this book offers an amazing look into the forgotten world of sailing ships and the British Navy at a time when they were the most powerful navy in the world. I've rated all of these books so far either as 4 or 5 stars, and this was one of the 5 star ones in my opinion. However, this book was different from the p ...more
Eric_W
Nov 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The sixth Aubry/Maturin — and they keep getting better and better, Brian finds the two friends prisoners of the Americans, the War of 1812 having begun. And not auspiciously for the British. The Americans with a completely volunteer navy (no press gangs for them) have been more than competently trained by their British cousins and have become more than a match for the British, who have become used to sweeping the seas of all opposition. The British have been blockading Boston and, to their humil ...more
Julie Davis
After the heroics of Desolation Island I just had to keep going for the next Aubrey-Maturin adventure ... Patrick Tull narrating as always.

I'm especially interested in this one since the Americans are going to war with the British. There's a nice set up bridging from Desolation Island to this book where you find out that neither Lucky Jack nor Doctor Maturin approve of war with America, for varying reasons. So that leaves us free to watch as the inevitable war looms nearer and nearer.

I'm in the
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Angela
Dec 22, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think I got a little bit too eager about this one--not that it was bad, not in the slightest, but more that I was slightly disappointed that it wasn't quite as fantabulous as I was hoping.

There was some great Stephen mileage, to be sure, but not nearly enough Jack. Part of this of course has to be attributed to the fact that Jack spends most of the book wounded and ill, and O'Brian seems to shunt a lot of that kind of thing off-camera. Even when we get some good Jack mileage, it's only passing
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Ensiform
Jun 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
Picking up right where the previous book, Desolation Island, left off, this chapter in the ongoing “Aubreyad” finds Stephen and Jack sailing into the Spice Islands, where they hitch a ride home on a boat that burns; nearly dying of thirst, they sail to another ship, only to be taken prisoner by an American vessel, as the war of 1812 has just broken out. Prisoners in Boston, Stephen finds himself the interest of an American intelligence officer who is rather chummy with the French, and his identi ...more
Thomas
Jul 17, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: rereading
Finished rereading this around 6/25/16, almost 3 years after reading it the first time. It's a good amount of time actually, enough distance that I can be surprised but I'm still comforted by knowing the broad strokes.

Like really every book in this series it's exciting, and well written and full of allusions and call backs and foreshadowing and just real dang good. I think I like this entry in the series particularly because even though there're two excellent sea battles and a harrowing lost at
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Nelson
Jul 20, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another four star winner. The damn things are so consistent, yet varied as well. For the money, this one has more suspense than the previous five by far, and Aubrey isn't even in command of a vessel in this novel. It's another book given over more to Maturin and his spycraft. And yet the final third of the novel features some deft maneuvering by Aubrey, both on land and at sea. The pages really fly by in this one. O'Brian's solution to the problem of tying his protagonists in to real world event ...more
Mike Rogers
Jan 16, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"The Fortune of War" is the sixth book in Patrick O'Brian's amazing Aubrey/Maturin series of historical novels about the British Navy (for further explanation, and a review of the first book in the series, see my review of "Master & Commander"). In this installment, much of the action actually takes place in America. It's the War of 1812 and the British have suffered a number of setbacks in the Atlantic. "Lucky" Jack Aubrey's vessel is defeated and captured which sets up the action on shore ...more
Laura
Feb 28, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoy these books, but there was a shift in book 5 from a standalone book model to a serial novel, which makes the "end" of the book disappointingly unfinished. On the plus side, I don't have to wait for O'Brian to write the next one...
Edward Erdelac
Jun 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent! Jack is grounded in Boston after his ship the Java is taken by the Constitution in the War of 1812. As longtime readers know, being landlocked is Jack's kryptonite, and there's a hilarious bit in here where he's held over in a lunatic asylum and mistakes a contingent of American naval officials as inmates. Meanwhile, Stephen Maturin is practically the star of this adventure, pulling the wool over French intelligent agents' eyes in spectacular fashion and pulling Diana Villiers out of ...more
Terri
Dec 21, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: listened-to
This book takes place during the War of 1812. It's interesting to see it from the British side. Aubrey and Maturin are traveling back to Britain as passengers when their ship burns. They float for weeks and end up burned and half dead before being taken up by a British ship. However, that ship is soon attacked by the Americans and is sunk. They end up as prisoners in Boston while Aubrey recuperates and Maturin reconnects with Diana Villiers. The Americans and French in Boston begin to hassle Mat ...more
David Miller
pros- enemy is mostly americans and set largely in boston so that is more relatable for me than desolation island or india etc so that was nice
cons- not nearly enough of jack fighting on sea. even tho i know captain jack is gonna win i still love to read it! during one major battle in this book he is essentially a spectator noting things that are going wrong. i wanted him to be like 'dont u know who i am? im freaking lucky jack aubry! get out the way and i'm taking over ...'
J. Carroll
Mar 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is O'Brian at his finest. There is plenty of action in the sweeping story, and plenty of tension. The real payoff is in the deep exploration of Stephen's character. The dialog sparkles and the setting of a fogbound 1813 Boston is simply superb. Desolation Island, this book and The Surgeon's Mate are, I think, the strongest three of the entire series. Intrigue, adventure and humor are never better and O'Brian's style is at its high point.
Andrew
Jan 25, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another enjoyable chapter in this very long saga. Some of these books can bog down in details and story, but not this one. It is especially interesting to see the development of the American Revolution from the British point of view, and especially from a point of view that's not connected to policy, but only tangentially related to (but certainly very affected by) the uprising and war.
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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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More about Patrick O'Brian...

Other Books in the Series

Aubrey & Maturin (1 - 10 of 21 books)
  • Master and Commander (Aubrey & Maturin, #1)
  • Post Captain
  • H.M.S. Surprise
  • The Mauritius Command
  • Desolation Island
  • The Surgeon's Mate
  • The Ionian Mission
  • Treason's Harbour
  • The Far Side of the World
  • The Reverse of the Medal
“...looking angrily at the wombat: and a moment later, 'Come now, Stephen, this is coming it pretty high: your brute is eating my hat.'
'So he is, too,' said Dr. Maturin. 'But do not be perturbed, Jack; it will do him no harm, at all. His digestive processes--”
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“Wallis,' said Maturin, 'I am happy to see you. How is your penis?” 13 likes
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