Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin tales are widely acknowledged to be the greatest series of historical novels ever written. To commemorate the 40th anniversary of their beginning, with Master and Commander, these evocative stories are being re-issued in paperback with smart new livery. This is the seventh book in the series.
Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin are ordered home by despatch vessel to bring the news of their latest victory to the government. But Maturin is a marked man for the havoc he has wrought in the French intelligence network in the New World, and the attentions of two privateers soon become menacing. The chase that follows through the fogs and shallows of the Grand Banks is as thrilling, as tense and as unexpected in its culmination as anything Patrick O'Brian has written.
Then, among other things, follows a shipwreck and a particularly sinister internment in the notorious Temple Prison in Paris. Once again, the tigerish and fascinating Diana Villiers redresses the balance in this man's world of seamanship and war.
About The Author
Patrick O'Brian, until his death in 2000, was one of our greatest contemporary novelists. He is the author of the acclaimed Aubrey--Maturin tales and the biographer of Joseph Banks and Picasso. He is the author of many other books including Testimonies, and his Collected Short Stories. In 1995 he was the first recipient of the Heywood Hill Prize for a lifetime's contribution to literature. In the same year he was awarded the CBE. In 1997 he received an honorary doctorate of letters from Trinity College, Dublin. He lived for many years in South West France and he died in Dublin in January 2000.
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Comments about The Surgeon's Mate:
I found five of the series in remainder racks in country supermarkets in WA. Read vols 1 & 2 and became a serious convert / addict. Vol 1 is virtually Midshipman 101 for theory although I probably would not want to experience the practice (up a mast carrying out running repairs to rigging in a gale) - seriously enthralling. A huge amount of detail to absorb and beautifully written in a style no longer current in mainstream novels but gives a substantial grasp of the conditions on a warship at the time and the politics involved on shore as well as the characters - Russell Crowe and Paul Bethany were perfect selections for the "Master & Commander" movie (a composition of two of these novels) - maybe someone will venture forth with a sequel.
With my recent purchases I now have the whole series uninterrupted so will savour these over the next 5-6 months as time permits. I will strive to keep the series intact.
This time out, Captain Jack Aubrey and ship's surgeon Stephen Maturin limp home from America for a brief rest before sailing to the Baltic to subvert the occupying Catalan troops - and then to the Bay of Biscay to run aground. The dashing Aubrey/Maturin naval tales (among others, The Ionian Mission - see above) continue to come out in intervals from England, where they are hugely and deservedly popular. Published some years ago in the UK, they've been arriving out of order, so readers find themselves sorting out prequels from sequels. But shipping arrangements do no damage to these polished, historically accurate, and intensely pleasurable tales of the Royal Navy in the Napoleonic era. Anglo-Iberian physician and spy Stephen Maturin is again the linchpin, providing the excuse for his dashing friend Aubrey to flee the mess he has made of his British investments. Aboard H.M.S Ariel, Aubrey transports Maturin to the Baltic, where the doctor will use his linguistic skills and impeccable Catalan separatist credentials to convince Spanish troops holding Baltic islands for Napoleon that they should desert the Corsican monster and throw their lot in with England. The Baltic mission is successful, but the subsequent flight from Scandinavia runs into the rocks off the French coast. The officers are taken prisoner and transported to Paris, where they dine handsomely on meals cooked by a pretty widow as they await execution. Splendid escape. Literate and amusing. (Kirkus Reviews)
Series: Aubrey/Maturin series
Number Of Pages: 400
Published: 4th November 1996
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 19.8 x 13.0 x 2.5
Weight (kg): 0.24