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message 1: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited May 03, 2010 11:00AM) (new)

Bentley | 36068 comments Mod

As you are reading, this thread can be used as a glossary to post ancillary urls, research, other related information, etc. related in some way to Master and Commander.

This is also a "spoiler thread"; so anything can be discussed here that cannon be discussed on the "non spoiler" threads.

Master and Commander (Aubrey/Maturin Book 1) by Patrick O'Brian Patrick O'BrianPatrick O'Brian

message 2: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 36068 comments Mod
The Glossary (this thread) and the Introduction are open before discussion begins. Both of these threads are NOT non spoiler.

message 3: by Elizabeth S (last edited May 03, 2010 11:02AM) (new)

Elizabeth S (esorenson) | 2031 comments Here is the list of all the books in the Aubrey-Maturin series:

1. Master and Commander (1970) Master and Commander (Aubrey/Maturin Book 1) by Patrick O'Brian
2. Post Captain (1972) Post Captain (Aubrey/Maturin Book 2) by Patrick O'Brian
3. H.M.S. 'Surprise' (1973) H.M.S. 'Surprise' (Aubrey/Maturin Book 3) by Patrick O'Brian
4. The Mauritius Command (1977) The Mauritius Command (Aubrey/Maturin Book 4) by Patrick O'Brian
5. Desolation Island (1978) Desolation Island (Aubrey/Maturin Book 5) by Patrick O'Brian
6. The Fortune of War (1979) The Fortune of War (Aubrey/Maturin Book 6) by Patrick O'Brian
7. The Surgeon's Mate (1980) The Surgeon's Mate (Aubrey/Maturin Book 7) by Patrick O'Brian
8. The Ionian Mission (1981) The Ionian Mission (Aubrey/Maturin Book 8) by Patrick O'Brian
9. Treason's Harbour (1983) Treason's Harbour (Aubrey/Maturin Book 9) by Patrick O'Brian
10. The Far Side of the World (1984) The Far Side of the World (Aubrey/Maturin Book 10) by Patrick O'Brian
11.The Reverse of the Medal (1986) The Reverse of the Medal (Aubrey/Maturin Book 11) by Patrick O'Brian
12. The Letter of Marque (1988) The Letter of Marque (Aubrey/Maturin Book 12) by Patrick O'Brian
13. The Thirteen-Gun Salute (1989) The Thirteen-Gun Salute (Aubrey/Maturin Book 13) by Patrick O'Brian
14. The Nutmeg of Consolation (1991) The Nutmeg of Consolation (Aubrey/Maturin Book 14) by Patrick O'Brian
15. The Truelove apa "Clarissa Oakes" (1992) The Truelove (Aubrey/Maturin Book 15) by Patrick O'Brian
16. The Wine-Dark Sea (1993) The Wine-Dark Sea (Aubrey/Maturin Book 16) by Patrick O'Brian
17. The Commodore (1995) The Commodore (Aubrey/Maturin Book 17) by Patrick O'Brian
18. The Yellow Admiral (1996) The Yellow Admiral (Aubrey/Maturin Book 18) by Patrick O'Brian
19. The Hundred Days(1998) The Hundred Days (Aubrey/Maturin Book 19) by Patrick O'Brian
20. Blue at the Mizzen (1999) Blue at the Mizzen (Aubrey/Maturin Book 20) by Patrick O'Brian
21. The Final Unfinished Voyage of Jack Aubrey apa "21" (1994) The Final Unfinished Voyage of Jack Aubrey (Aubrey/Maturin Book 21) by Patrick O'Brian
This last book was unfinished at the death of the author, published posthumously.

All the above books by Patrick O'Brian Patrick O'Brian

message 4: by Elizabeth S (new)

Elizabeth S (esorenson) | 2031 comments For those of you who have read the whole series, did O'Brian write them chronologically, or did he jump around in the time of the characters' lives? In other words, is the characters' chronology the same as the publication order? I'm curious.

message 5: by Erick (last edited May 03, 2010 11:08AM) (new)

Erick Burnham | 244 comments There have been several companion books written for the Aubrey/Maturin series. I own a couple of them and they are terrific.

Persons, Animals, Ships and Cannon in the Aubrey-Maturin Sea Novels of Patrick O'Brian by Anthony Gary BrownbyAnthony Gary Brown

Lobscouse and Spotted Dog Which It's a Gastronomic Companion to the Aubrey/Maturin Novels (Patrick O'Brian) by Anne Chotzinoff GrossmanbyAnne Chotzinoff Grossman

Harbors and High Seas, 3rd Edition An Atlas and Geographical Guide to the Complete Aubrey-Maturin Novels of Patrick O'Brian, Third Edition by Dean Kingby Dean KingDean King
I own this book and it is a terrific atlas of the travels of Aubrey and Maturin as well as excellent descriptions of the battles and ship movements.

A Sea of Words, Third Edition A Lexicon and Companion to the Complete Seafaring Tales of Patrick O'Brian by Dean Kingby Dean KingDean King
I own this book as well, another excellent reference.

Men-of-war Life in Nelson's Navy by Patrick O'Brianby Patrick O'BrianPatrick O'Brian

message 6: by Elizabeth S (new)

Elizabeth S (esorenson) | 2031 comments Excellent, Erick, thank you! As we go along through the book, please let us know any interesting information you remember from these companion books. I am amazed how much there is out there.

message 7: by 'Aussie Rick' (last edited May 03, 2010 02:02PM) (new)

'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) This is one of the best historical accounts of sea-warfare by small ships like Frigates, etc conducting during the Napoleonic period that would really give you an insight into 'Master and Commander".

Cochrane Britannia's Sea Wolf by Donald Thomas by Donald Thomas
Publishers blurb:
The life of Thomas, Lord Cochrane, later 10th Earl of Dundonald, was more extraordinary than that of Nelson, more far fetched than that of Hornblower or Patrick O'Brien's Jack Aubrey. Born the son of an eccentric and indigent Scottish peer, he entered the Royal Navy in 1793. In a series of outstanding and heroic actions, often against seemingly overwhelming odds, he made his name fighting Napoleon's navy as one of the most dashing and daring frigate captains of his day, before embarking on a career as a mercenary admiral.

"This is a reprint of Thomas's 1975 biography of the sea-captain he calls "the supreme romantic hero". Thomas has a reputation as a literary biographer: His Swinburne is the standard life of that poet and his Robert Browning: A Life Within a Life was runner-up for the Whitbread Biography Award. But his biography of Cochrane reads like C.S. Forster's Hornblower or Patrick O'Brian's Blue at the Mizzen. Indeed, as Thomas puts it himself, if Cochrane's life was written as a novel readers would disbelieve it. To begin with he enjoyed a distinguished career as a naval officer during the Napoleonic Wars--seizing over 50 French vessels and destroying much of the French fleet with fireships, so that that Napoleon himself dubbed Cochrane "England's Sea Wolf". After the war he entered Parliament as a Radical politician and democrat. His enemies plotted against him, forging material to discredit his naval achievements and convict him as "one of the principal movers of the greatest Stock Exchange fraud of the century". He was imprisoned, and escaped and went off to command the Chilean navy. He became a mercenary Admiral and commanded in turn the Brazilian and Greek navies. In his old age he returned to Britain and vindication. He proposed secret weapons against the Russians in the Crimean War ("under cover of the clouds of gas from Cochrane's "stink vessels", the port of Cronstadt could be seized ...") and was promoted to Admiral of the Fleet in 1855. Thomas does justice to this rip-roaring story; the tale rattles along as good as any novel." - Adam Roberts ( Review)

message 8: by Elizabeth S (new)

Elizabeth S (esorenson) | 2031 comments Great suggestion, Aussie Rick. The description really matches what O'Brian said about the truth being stranger than fiction.

message 9: by Patricrk (last edited May 03, 2010 05:17PM) (new)

Patricrk patrick | 471 comments Erick wrote: "There have been several companion books written for the Aubrey/Maturin series. I own a couple of them and they are terrific.<>

Patrick O'Brian's Navy The Illustrated Companion to Jack Aubrey's World by Richard O'NeillRichard O'Neill

message 10: by Patricrk (new)

Patricrk patrick | 471 comments Because Aubrey has been given a ship, he is considered a captain. But is rank is Commander. That is a rank level in between Lieutenant and Post Captain (real captain). Promotion from Lieutenant or Commander was based strictly on influence and luck. Men without either could go for years without promotion. Promotion from Post Captain was strictly by seniority.

message 11: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited May 03, 2010 08:16PM) (new)

Bentley | 36068 comments Mod
Patricrk...I am still a bit confused by your post.

Was the lowest rank Lieutenant which Aubrey was pre-ship, then Commander (because he was now given a ship) and I guess you are implying that he would have to have both luck and influence to get the real captain rank which is Post Captain (obviously higher than Lieutenant, Commander, Captain.

If someone is Post Captain what would they be promoted to (what rank?) Does he become Admiral?

message 12: by Patricrk (new)

Patricrk patrick | 471 comments Audbrey was a Lieutenant at the start of the book. If the ship had been unimportant enough, (naval transport for example) he could have been given a ship without being promoted. He could also have been promoted without being given a ship (influence a big factor here). The next rank above commander is post captain, and requires influence and luck to achieve. Then it was a matter of staying alive to be promoted to admiral. There were various grade of admiral designated by color.

In the navy at this time certain ships are designated (by rating number)for certain rank levels. The ship he has should not have a Lt as captain of the ship because it is a rated ship. But its rating is too low for a post captain.

message 13: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 36068 comments Mod
Thank you for the explanation Patricrk. Very helpful.

message 14: by Elizabeth S (new)

Elizabeth S (esorenson) | 2031 comments Very helpful, Patricrk, and very interesting. I found this explanation on a US naval history webpage. It gives some history as to how the positions were named:

Captains entered the English navy in the Eleventh Century as the commanders of soldiers serving on ships to do the fighting when needed. The ships were commanded by Masters, who were Warrant Officers. The Masters were in charge of operating the ships while the Captains just concerned themselves with combat. In the Fifteenth Century the Captains and their Lieutenants began taking over the executive functions on the ships. By 1747 the officers had full command of the ships so the British made Captain an official naval title and thereafter called the commander of any ship a Captain. In 1748 the British navy established three grades of Captain, depending on the size of ship commanded. The top grade of Post-Captain was equal in rank to an Army Colonel. The two lower grades eventually became the ranks of Commander and Lieutenant Commander in the British navy.


I'm guessing this gives a little insight into the title of the book as well. Basically, Aubrey becomes both the Master of the ship and the Commander.

message 15: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 36068 comments Mod
Yes, very true Elizabeth and another great explanation. Thanks.

message 16: by Erick (new)

Erick Burnham | 244 comments Patricrk wrote: "Audbrey was a Lieutenant at the start of the book. If the ship had been unimportant enough, (naval transport for example) he could have been given a ship without being promoted. He could also hav..."

The character of Maturin is a neophyte to the British Navy and O'Brian uses him as a way to describe naval matters to the reader. Very soon we will be treated to a similar explanation that Patricrk has given us, including the rating of the ships if memory serves. O'Brian continues to use Maturin in that role very effectively throughout the series.

message 17: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 36068 comments Mod
Yes Erick, these two characters play off of each other very well.

message 18: by Erick (new)

Erick Burnham | 244 comments Bentley wrote: "Yes Erick, these two characters play off of each other very well."

I would say O'Brian is like a conductor playing the 'cello off the violins in how he uses these two characters together.

message 19: by Elizabeth S (new)

Elizabeth S (esorenson) | 2031 comments Erick wrote: "I would say O'Brian is like a conductor playing the 'cello off the violins in how he uses these two characters together."

Oooo, well put, Erick!

message 20: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 36068 comments Mod
Very good Erick.

message 21: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 36068 comments Mod
The parts of a ship

Here are some diagrams that illustrate the sails and some of the common features of sailing ships.

Common features

The image is a model of the HMS Surprise.

message 22: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 36068 comments Mod

Here are the common sails of a square-rigged sailing ship.

1. Flying jib
2. Jib
3. Fore topmast staysail
4. Fore staysail
5. Foresail or Fore course
6. Fore topsail
7. Fore topgallant
8. Main staysail
9. Main topmast staysail
10.Middle staysail
11.Main topgallant staysail
13.Mainsail or Main course
14. Main topsail
15. Main topgallant
16. Mizzen staysail
17. Mizzen topmast staysail
18. Mizzen topgallant staysail
19. Mizzen sail
20. Spanker
21. Mizzen topsail
22. Mizzen topgallant

Staysails are sails rigged from the mast 'stays' - heavy lines that run fore and aft supporting the various masts.

sail diagram source: Serres, "Liber Nauticus", and reprinted in the Harper-Collins editions of Patrick O'Brian's Capt. Aubrey/Stephen Maturin series.


message 23: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 36068 comments Mod
Explanation of the Terms Used in Ship buillding:

message 24: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 36068 comments Mod
Here is an interesting video about the replica (HMS Surprise) which was used in the movie:

message 25: by 'Aussie Rick' (last edited May 29, 2010 08:42PM) (new)

'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) I have added a few good books below for anyone interested in reading further about naval warfare during this period:

Broadsides The Age of Fighting Sail, 1775-1815 by Nathan Miller by Nathan Miller
Publishers blurb:
Few eras hold greater fascination for us than the Age of Fighting Sail, the forty–year period from 1775 to 1815. And few writers are as well qualified to bring this adventure–packed period to life as the critically acclaimed naval historian and biographer Nathan Miller. Now, in the first modern chronicle of the epic of wooden ships and pigtailed sailors, Miller provides essential reading for devotees of the popular nautical novels of Patrick O’Brian, C. S. Forester, Alexander Kent, and others. Broadsides covers the naval side of the American Revolution, the twenty–two year struggle between Britain’s hard–pressed Royal Navy and France that began in 1793, the foundation of the U.S. Navy and America’s forgotten undeclared naval war with France along with their struggle against the Barbary pirates, and closes with the War of 1812. One man, the legendary Horatio Nelson, epitomizes this era, and his personal story is the keel of this book, although the tale continues for another decade following Nelson’s tragic death at Trafalgar at the height of victory. Written with a bold sense of adventure and teeming with detail, Broadsides not only clearly reconstructs the naval battles of the era, but integrates them with the political and social forces that shaped our world. In addition to Nelson, its pages are graced by such fighting sailors as John Paul Jones, George Rodney, John Jervis, Thomas Truxtun, Edward Preble, Stephen Decatur, Edward Pellew (mentor of the fictional Horatio Hornblower), and the fiery Lord Cochrane (whose adventures provided a model for those of a young Jack Aubrey). Nor are the administrators slighted: Receiving their due are Benjamin Stoddert, the first U.S. Secretary of the Navy; Lord Barham, who directed the fleets that hemmed in Napoleon; and William Pitt, the architect of Britain’s victory over the French emperor. Broadsides also provides a richly textured look at the lives of the men and in an astonishing number of cases the women who served in the swift–sailing frigates and mighty ships of the line. We learn how they were recruited, how they lived at sea, what they ate, and what they wore. For the first time in such a work, there is a discussion of homosexuality at sea and the savage punishments meted out for it. Here, too, is a clearly written account of how wooden fighting ships were built and sailed and how their guns were fired in battle. Miller also offers his readers the unique opportunity to learn the naval terms, tactics, and techniques integral to the period. Based on exhaustive research drawn from log books, official reports, letters, and memoirs, Miller presents an irresistible, brilliant exploration of the Age of Fighting Sail. The result is a gripping adventure in which the steadfastness of those serving at sea in that long–ago era have much to teach us in the modern age.
"Pace the pitching black deck with a sleepless Admiral Nelson the night before battle bestows eternal rest and peerless immortality upon him; envision with Mahan the storm–tossed and ever–watchful ships–of–the–line that kept England secure from invasion; wonder in awe at Collingwood′s dedication in working himself to death after Trafalgar elevated him to primary responsibility for England′s imperial safety in the Mediterranean. All of this and more awaits the reader who will sail through these pages, every one of which is etched with the indelible expertise and boundless enthusiasm of Nathan Miller, master of naval history." – Kenneth J. Hagan, Professor of History and Museum Director Emeritus, U.S. Naval Academy, Professor of Strategy, U.S. Naval War College

"This is not just inspired naval history - the personal lives of the seafarers themselves, from cabin boy to admiral, are given generous treatment." - The Times (London)

"A wealth of detail...Descriptions of dreadful living conditions aboard cramped wooden vessels give way to bloody decks after close combat....A solid introduction to a turbulent era at sea." - Publishers Weekly

"[As:] a companion to the popular nautical novels of C. S. Forester and Patrick O′Brian - it succeeds brilliantly." - Daily Telegraph (London)

"The descriptions of the great sea commanders and their battles display all the craft of the gifted writer....Read Broadsides for enjoyment as a well–informed, action–packed naval narrative." - The Christ Church Press

The Sea Warriors by Richard Woodman by Richard Woodman
Publishers blurb:
The Sea Warriors chronicles the real-life adventures of the great sea captains who spent long, arduous years on the world’s oceans, fighting for king and country, to win and rule the waves. The struggles of the Royal Navy’s finest commanders encompass the Napoleonic Wars and the War of 1812, as well as fights against pirates and battles with the sea itself. Author Richard Woodman, best known for his Nathaniel Drinkwater series of historical novels, recounts in exciting detail the deeds of the captains and mates who manned the opposing frigates—who blockaded ports, who intercepted the enemy’s trade, who protected merchant ships from enemy attacks and piracy. Extraordinary characters stride across these pages—men like Lord Cochrane, Charles Brisbane, and Nisbet Willoughby—naval heroes who for nearly two centuries have stood in the shadow cast by the famous British admiral Horatio Nelson. Some, like Warren, Pellew, Cochrane, and Collingwood, still have some measure of renown, while others are almost unknown today despite their brave and brilliant exploits. " ... marvelous ... shows where Patrick O’Brian and C. S. Forester got all their stuff ... more exciting to read than either."—John Bayley, "Best Books of the Year,"—Times Literary Supplement "A superb Napoleonic War study, admirably written. It puts Patrick O’Brian and Hornblower in the shade."—Daily Telegraph "For fans of Patrick O’Brian or C. S. Forester who crave true stories of high adventure in Nelson’s navy."—Kirkus Reviews

"From the first British involvement in the French Revolution in 1793 to the end of the War of 1812, England's wooden walls fought off French, Danish, Dutch, Spanish, Turkish and American ships to maintain control of the seas and Britain's essential maritime trade. Rather than concentrate on all the big battles of the period, veteran British writer Richard Woodman, with both history and fictional sea tales to his credit, resuscitates now-forgotten ship captains and their quotidian gun duels with enemy ships in The Sea Warriors: The Fighting Captains and Their Ships in the Age of Nelson. Men like Edward Pellew, Thomas Cochrane and Josiah Willoughby contended with defective ships, bad crews, lack of good hygiene and food, and lack of support from their Royal Navy superiors. Press gangs and oftentimes harsh corporal punishment upped the stakes, and mutinies were fairly common. From Woodman's vivid account, it's not hard to see why." - Publishers Weekly

message 26: by 'Aussie Rick' (new)

'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) The book below offers a very good and interesting insight to the Royal Navy:

To Rule the Waves How the British Navy Shaped the Modern World by Arthur Herman by Arthur Herman
Publishers blurb:
To Rule the Waves tells the extraordinary story of how Britain's Royal Navy allowed one nation to rise to power unprecedented in history. From its beginnings under Henry VIII and adventurers like John Hawkins and Francis Drake, the Royal Navy toppled one world economic system, built by Spain and Portugal after Christopher Columbus, and ushered in another -- the one in which we still live today.

In the sixteenth century, such men as Hawkins, Drake, and Martin Frobisher were all seekers after their own fortunes as well as servants of their nation. But at the moment of crisis in 1588, they were able to come together to thwart Philip II of Spain and his supposedly invincible Armada. In the seventeenth century, the navy became the key to victory in the English Civil War and played a leading role on the world stage in the years of the Commonwealth and Oliver Cromwell's Protectorate. The navy's dominance allowed England's trade to boom and prosper. It sustained its colonies, reshaped its politics, and drew England, Scotland, and Ireland together into a single United Kingdom.

It was this system that Napoleon had to break in order to make himself absolute master of Europe. And it was the Royal Navy, led by men like Horatio Nelson, that stopped him in his tracks and preserved the liberty of Europe and the rest of the world. That global order would survive the convulsions of the twentieth century and the downfall of the British Empire itself, as Britain passed its essential elements on to its successors, the United States and its navy.

Illuminating and engrossing, To Rule the Waves is an epic journey from the age of the Reformation to the age of computer warfare and special ops. Arthur Herman tells the spellbinding tale of great battles at sea; of heroic sailors, admirals, and aviators; of violent conflict and personal tragedy; of the way one mighty institution forged a nation, an empire, and a new world.

message 27: by Elizabeth S (new)

Elizabeth S (esorenson) | 2031 comments Thanks for the book suggestions, and especially your thoughts on them, Aussie Rick. They all look worth reading and learning from.

message 29: by Elizabeth S (new)

Elizabeth S (esorenson) | 2031 comments Garret wrote: "Music in the Aubrey-Maturin Series by Patrick O'Brian"

Now that is fun! Wish we'd had that when we read the first book. Hopefully it will be helpful when the Post Captain discussion starts.

Post Captain (Aubrey/Maturin, #2) by Patrick O'Brian by Patrick O'BrianPatrick O'Brian

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Books mentioned in this topic

Master and Commander (other topics)
The Thirteen-Gun Salute (other topics)
The Final Unfinished Voyage of Jack Aubrey (other topics)
Post Captain (other topics)
The Truelove (other topics)

Authors mentioned in this topic

Patrick O'Brian (other topics)
Anthony Gary Brown (other topics)
Dean King (other topics)
Anne Chotzinoff Grossman (other topics)
Donald Thomas (other topics)