Question: What has all the adventuresome buddy appeal of the Hardy Boys, the subtlety of Jane Austen in conveying late 18th, early 19th century European social nuance, and a shipload more of interest besides?
Answer: The British seafaring “Aubrey-Maturin” novels, penned by Patrick O’Brian. These historical naval novels set during the Napoleonic Wars feature ship’s surgeon, avid naturalist and intelligence agent Stephen Maturin, along with masterful English tar Jack Aubrey, who the series very quickly takes from Lieutenant to Captain. The first book in the series, Master and Commander, is featured in our current “Sea Adventures” book display, located near the entrance to the Library; other books in the series are available in the fiction stacks at the Barrington Public Library, as well as through the Ocean State Library System. The “Aubrey-Maturin” series, in order, is listed below. The Library also owns a DVD of the film Master and Commander starring Russell Crowe. The film takes its themes, incidents and puns from several of the novels. It is well worth a look. Enjoy!
Aubrey/Maturin Novels: Master and Commander • Post Captain • HMS Surprise • The Mauritius Command • Desolation Island • The Fortune of War • The Surgeon’s Mate • The Ionian Mission • Treason’s Harbour • The Far Side of the World • The Reverse of the Medal • The Letter of Marque • The Thirteen Gun Salute • The Nutmeg of Consolation • Clarissa Oakes • The Wine-Dark Sea • The Commodore • The Yellow Admiral • The Hundred Days • Blue at the Mizzen • The Final Unfinished Voyage of Jack Aubrey
Of Master and Commander The Sunday Mirror said, “Nothing is galmourised. The press ganging, the squalor are all here… The battle scenes are tremendous…This is not secondhand Forester, but a really fine piece of writing.”