With his swashbuckling adventures, best-selling novelist Patrick O'Brian transports you to the high seas of old, where privateers lurk in the mist, and great ships fight to control the waterways. Blue at the Mizzen hoists the excitement to new heights as British frigate commander Jack Aubrey stakes everything on a desperate raid against the mighty Spanish fleet. Ever since Napoleon was defeated at Waterloo, Captain Aubrey's prospects in the new peacetime navy have looked dim. Even worse, his frigate Surprise was badly damaged in a nighttime collision. While Aubrey waits for repairs, ship's doctor Stephen Maturin brings him intriguing information about the New World. Soon Aubrey is leading a bold expedition that will determine the fate of a rising South American nation, and his own. Critically-acclaimed author Patrick O'Brian blends authentic period atmosphere, rich humor, and elegant language in each of his seafaring yarns. You can almost hear the thunder of the waves and smell the salty sea air as you listen to Patrick Tull's dramatic performance.More
"O'Brian is not that hard a taste to acquire, but he is very tough to shake...[the Aubrey/Maturin series] is a great work." (Boston Globe)
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A review of the (end) of an entire series
The narration of this entire series (by Patrick Tull) was phenomenal. When I re-read these books I hear Maturin's and Aubrey's voices exactly as Tull presents them. He made these characters come to life - he made them real. I have listened to many Audible books, particularly ones where the characters are from a certain time/place/class/education, and Tull has nailed O'Brian's people perfectly. Frankly, I am at a loss to understand why they were later re-recorded by a different narrator...
If a person picked up Blue at the Mizzen without having ever read (or listened to) any other of the Aubrey-Maturin series they would certainly be entertained but they would be at a disadvantage (or perhaps I should say they would be doing themselves an injustice). This book is the culmination (the last) of twenty books in a chronological series. These books (all of them) are an experience to be savored, but more so, far more, in their entirety. This is last (finished) book in a series that follows the lives, loves and careers of two men over the span of many years and through numerous adventures and hardships. These are characters that we all have come to care about over time. Which, is the real, lasting gift that a truly gifted novelist bestows to his readers. I don't think you can fairly take one of the series of out that sequence and judge it as a stand-alone novel. If anything, I would say that Blue at the Mizzen is the last chapter of a long and absolutely gripping and endearing novel. And under that premise I would say that O'Brian gave us a fitting, if bitter-sweet, final chapter. It's hard to say goodbye to Aubrey and Maturin (and the rest).
Maturin. That Patrick Tull managed to pull together Maturin's Napoleonic-era English, laced (heavily) with a Catalan-Irish brogue, is a wonder (and a delight) to the ears. Masterful.
A final note on this series... This is not simply a 'period piece' where contemporary voices are set against a historical backdrop for effect. Nor is it a dry, historical docu-drama where the central characters are there simply in place to narrate who-did-what, when and where.
O'Brian's characters are men and women of their time - not ours. O'Brian (thankfully) does not give in to the modern evil of political correctness. There is no sense [to this reader] that O'Brian held back or diluted his characters to play it safe. These characters come to us as real - with genuine thoughts, expressions, passions and emotions. But for all the distance of time, historical circumstance and place these are characters (people really) that we wish we knew, conversed with and were friends with.
- R. C. Curtis
How can this be the end?