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The Nutmeg of Consolation (Aubrey/Maturin Series, Book 14)

(Aubrey & Maturin #14)

4.40  ·  Rating details ·  7,405 ratings  ·  215 reviews

Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey-Maturin tales are widely acknowledged to be the greatest series of historical novels ever written. Now, for the first time, they are available in electronic book format, so a whole new generation of readers can be swept away on the adventure of a lifetime. This is the fourteenth book in the series.

Patrick O’Brian is regarded by many as the greatest

Kindle Edition, 402 pages
Published December 19th 2011 by HarperCollins (first published 1980)
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4.40  · 
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 ·  7,405 ratings  ·  215 reviews

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Sep 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, aubrey-maturin
“I read novels with the utmost pertinacity. I look upon them - I look upon good novels - as a very valuable part of literature, conveying more exact and finely-distinguished knowledge of the human heart and mind than almost any other, with greater breadth and depth and fewer constraints.”
― Patrick O'Brian, The Nutmeg of Consolation


For action, this book is a bit light. There is a bit of fighting when the crew of the shipwrecked HMS Diane are trying to building a schooner. Tobacco and alcohol mi
Jason Koivu
Nov 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In The Nutmeg of Consolation you get shipwrecks, pirates and duels fought for honor. Some might have dimestore novel expectations, but when it's Patrick O'Brian, the Jane Austen of historical action/adventure fiction, you get treated to high quality writing. A literary adventure, if you will!

This, book 14 in the series, picks up where The Thirteen-Gun Salute left off. The crew is stranded on a remote island in the Malaysia/Indonesia area. Things get dicey when the natives attack. But fortune is
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:
This, the 14th volume in Patrick O'Brian's brilliant Aubrey-Maturin canon, is one of my absolute favorites of the twenty completed novels in this wonderful Napoleonic wars seafaring series. "The Nutmeg of Consolation" is a page-turner from page one on.

We join Captain Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin in the East Indies as they are rescued from a deserted island, acquire the beautifully Dutch-built small frigate the Nutmeg of Consolation, fight a running sea-battle with the much larger French frig
Jun 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Intelligently written. Good story. Interesting characters. Unsure about the characters, they seem a little bit to complex for sailors...
Renee M
Aug 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The one with the lady pirate, the cannibals, Australia, and the platypus. A very Stephen-centric novel, but without the spying and intrigue. Lots of interesting info about the New South Wales section of Australia, and a creepy new fact about the cuddly platypus.
Jun 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

This particular edition to the series may well have been entitled "When Maturin, Cannibals and Platypuses Attack." This (and the previous book in the series) is rather meandering and doesn't seem to have much in the way of a concrete objective in terms of where the author wanted to take the characters, but it's Patrick O'Brain, so who cares? His descriptive detail, the viewpoints of the characters, (mostly and seemingly increasingly from Maturin), the vast knowledge of contemporar
K.M. Weiland
Apr 18, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A little slower and little more self-indulgent than some of the previous entries, but a delight from start to finish, as always. The early part, on the island, put me in mind of Far Side of the World (only better than what we find in that installment), and the return to India (which was very enjoyable in the previous book) and the exploration of Australia was lovely. Not too many sea battles here, but it’s perhaps funnier than any of the previous books. Wonderful to finally get back to the Surpr ...more
May 26, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great historical fiction, only passingly good fiction. A fun read, nonetheless.

The usual suspects maneuvered around the western Pacific to touch on as many real--or realistic--situations as possible. Some sub-plots better developed than others, but surely the Aubery-Maturin true believers will love it all.

O'Brian resisted the temptation to leave us hanging from another cliff.
Sep 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, sailing
Aubrey and Maturin are at it again! Sailing the high seas, fighting the French (and miscellaneous jerks), saving children, finding rare creatures, curing ailments, and generally being surrogate parents to a slightly disreputable family of sailors. Their domesticity repeatedly verges upon the romantic in this instalment: Stephen is struck by the blueness of Jack’s eyes; Jack is jealous of Martin for taking up Stephen’s time. ‘The Nutmeg of Consolation’ proved to be another wonderful tale of their ...more
Kathryn M.
Feb 07, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Every one of my Patrick O'Brian reviews are the same: I love these books! I think the best bit of this one is them being shipwrecked (again!) and having to find a way out of it. This kind of thing really makes you realize how little ability modern people have with their hands. I know that *I* couldn't build a ship from scratch using the materials from a wrecked one plus whatever was available on a desert island. How about you?

I'll be sad when I come to the end of the series. But wait, that means
May 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Like other novels in Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey-Maturin series, the title of The Nutmeg of Consolation contains within it a dark joke. In the story, those words* are the name of a ship, and one of the many names of the Sultan who featured in this book’s precedent, The Thirteen Gun Salute. It’s a pleasing image, a phrase which feels obscure, ancient, nicely rounded — more so because it isn’t clear exactly what it means. Comfort and fortification in its most absolute form. It might have been an odd ...more
Amy VanGundy
Mar 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is honest-to-God one of my favorite authors/series. I love this books. They are tremendously well researched. It's ridiculous to compare these to any other "historical fiction" that I am aware of. You would think they had been written when the events within them actually occurred.

Nutmeg of Consolation has Aubrey and Maturin recovering from a shipwreck on an island. They manage to get off the island with the help of a passing ship that came to collect birds nests which are used for "bird's
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
May 25, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This, the 14th novel in the British naval historical fiction series telling the stories of captain Jack Aubrey and physician/spy Stephen Maturin, may be my favorite so far in this engaging, erudite, albeit long series. I've given it 5 stars and as I think back on how deeply I've enjoyed this whole series, I am considering going back to my other reviews and changing them all from 4 to 5 stars. Anyway, this installment is chock-full of fabulousness-- shipwreck on a desert island, Malay pirates, bi ...more
Mar 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Patrick O'Brian continues as excellently as always. This story doesn't really have a dramatic arc of any sort and is simply a continuation of the voyage that started in the previous novel. But that does not mean that important issues are not handled: Captain Aubrey is shown to suffer from a condition that changes his behavior while Maturin struggles with his sense of responsibility for an old friend who is now suffering as a convict in Australia. The harshness of life and the evilness of men in ...more
Jun 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Stephen's experience is life in a nutshell. You have a ship. Your ship is gone. You have money. Your money is gone. You have shipmates. Your shipmates have been killed. You have a nice supply of coca leaves. Then you don't. But you find a new ship. You make more money. You get new shipmates. So many major life changes in just a few short weeks.

What remains constant: Friendship. Devotion to his professional goals. The mission he has sworn to carry out. (Marriage isn't included in this list, becau
Mar 10, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: jack-aubrey, 2014
After taking a hiatus from the Jack Aubrey series from the last unsuccessful attempt (The Thirteen Gun Salute), I finally picked up this volume.

You would think that this book wasn't that good considering the time it took me to read. Not so. Finding the time was the problem, but when I did I was completely immersed in this latest adventure. It was good to see the camaraderie between Jack and Stephen once again.

I thought the story was interesting, though perhaps not quite as exciting as some of t
Sid Nuncius
Aug 05, 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.

The sublimely titled Nutmeg Of Consolation finds Jack and his wrecked and battered crew still in the Far East, but restored to a ship and heading for their rendezvous with the Surprise and thence to the penal colonies of New South Wales to refit. There is plenty of seagoing action this time, plus a superb picture of the true horror of
Gilly McGillicuddy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
An Odd1
May 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: action
Jack names their "Nutmeg" after poetry lines. Always surprises with this crew. During mating, the male platypus defends with a poison claw fatal to man. Doesn't every sailor and naturalist know?
Jun 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
these books ate just consistently brilliant.

and wow does transportation-era Australia sound horrible!
Dan Glover
Sep 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, favorites
As with all the novels in this series (which might be considered one long novel), I loved this book. All the elements of a great novel are here, but there is one ingredient in the Aubrey/Maturin novels that is missing from so many other great works: a deeply developed, realistically represented, quirky friendship between two men. The friendship between Jack and Stephen makes all the other male friendships I can think of in famous literature seem caricatured or shallow or like a device through wh ...more
Julie Davis
May 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So we were talking about the Horse Latitudes recently - because that's how our household rolls - and I was expounding based on my vague memory of this series. Which made me think "Patrick Tull!" and try the sample for the next book (#15). Even with the author's helpful catching up help in the beginning I had only a foggy memory of what had happened up until now. So I see it's been two years and no wonder I've lost a few details. So I'm re-listening to this one to get back up to speed. Even if it ...more
Chris Conrady
Jan 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: age-of-sail
It's amazing that 14 books into a series you can still have interesting and new adventures. Patrick O'Brian has done a wonderful job keeping things new. It seems like it would be easy for things to just be repetitive, but they are not. There is a lot going on in the world in the early 1800's and these novels are a great way to explore a vast many subjects.

In nutmeg, the crew finds itself in a life or death battle with far east islanders - somewhere off the coast of Indonesia and ends up on the
This is so much more eventful than The Thirteen Gun Salute, much more action-filled and much more dramatic. To some extent, that's a disappointment because there's so much less time for the kind of small moments of character interplay that O' Brian does so well. On the other hand, it made for an incredibly engaging and satisfying novel which I finished very, very quickly, building smoothly to a great cliffhanger of an ending.

I was delighted to see Padeen return, especially after a novel which wa
Unfortunately this installment took too long to get moving. It wasn't until the last third that things started coming together and the plot got moving. Naturally it ends on an abrupt sort of cliffie with half-resolution (Stephen's poisonous encounter with a male platypus). I won't rest easy about the fate of Stephen's ex-loblolly Padeen Colman until I start the next book in the series. The rescue attempt to get Padeen out of prison in New South Wales was the exciting, torturous final act the boo ...more
Apr 04, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although I didn't enjoy Patrick Tull's narration nearly as much as that of Simon Vance in other books in this series, I still really liked the story and got used to Mr. Tull. Still, if you have the choice, go with Simon Vance is my recommendation. This story is more of a direct continuation of the previous book than some of the other books in the series. The previous book ("The Thirteen Gun Salute") kind of leaves the reader high and dry (along with Jack Aubrey et al) and leaves the reader with ...more
Sep 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I used to think that I just liked the exploits of Jack Aubrey and Steven Maturin but, in truth, I now believe that I enjoy the series because of the beautiful prose of Patrick O’Brian.

This is the second installment of “The Thirteen Gun Salute” and starts with the ship’s crew on an island building a boat from the remnants of Jack’s command that was destroyed in a typhoon. Next they’re attached by Borneo head hunter pirates in a GREAT land battle! Then, there’s a GREAT accounting of Steven Maturin
Cole Schoolland
Dec 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Certainly one of the more geographically adventurous chapters in the series. There are so many events and so many places, it is hard to really focus on any one theme. This comes nearer to the tail end of a very long voyage that spans several books fought with much hardship. All of this hardship; the shipwreck, the marooning, the raiding Malay pirates, and the misery of Botany Bay juxtaposed against the happy sights and thoughts of home. I think it is best summed up by the very last line of text ...more
Oct 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just started the audio book - but I've been eager to finish the story arc started in The Thirteen Gun salute. Jack, Stephen and all my favorite crew are marooned on a desert island after a shipwreck - with important intelligence documents! I'll let you know if it holds up the standard or the previous series.

I have now finished reading all the Aubrey/Maturin books in order TWICE!!! They have enriched my life so much by knowing so much real information about England's navy in Napoleonic times. So
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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

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)
“Sir,’ said Stephen, ‘I read novels with the utmost pertinacity. I look upon them--I look upon good novels--as a very valuable part of literature, conveying more exact and finely-distinguished knowledge of the human heart and mind than almost any other, with greater breadth and depth and fewer constraints.” 30 likes
“I cannot understand the principle at all,' said Stephen. 'I should very much like to show it to Captain Aubrey, who is so very well versed in the mathematics and dynamics of sailing. Landlord, pray ask him whether he is willing to part with the instrument.'
Not on your fucking life,' said the Aboriginal, snatching the boomerang and clasping it to his bosom.
He says he does not choose to dispose of it, your honour,' said the landlord. 'But never fret. I have a dozen behind the bar that I sell to ingenious travelers for half a guinea. Choose any one that takes your fancy, sit, and Bennelong will throw it to prove it comes back, a true homing pigeon, as we say. Won't you?' This much louder, in the black man's ear.
Won't I what?'
Throw it for the gentleman.'
Give um dram.'
Sir, he says he will be happy to throw it for you; and hopes you will encourage him with a tot of rum. (pp. 353-354)”
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