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"No writer alive can move one as O'Brian can; no one can make you laugh so loud with hilarity, whiten your knuckles with unbearable tension or choke with emotion. He is the master." (Irish Times)
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Frank R. Adams on 04-23-10
Choice of Narrators
This is a marvelous series - one which I've purchased to continue as I did not want to wait on my monthly membership credit. The characters are engaging and I personally thoroughly enjoy the period language and historical naval theme.
One thing that is a bit confusing is that there are two versions of most if not all the audio books - one narrated by Patrick Tull and one by Simon Vance. The first in this series I listened to was narrated by Patrick Tull and then I inadvertently purchased the second book narrated by Simon Vance. Although I have listened to several other books narrated by Simon Vance who always gives a laudable performance, in my view Patrick Tull is the ideal narrator for this series. His portrayal of the various period accents is pitch perfect to my ear and perfectly fits the spirit of these books. From the other reviews not everyone seems to share this opinion. As most if not all the series is available from both narrators, I suggest listening to the sample of each and deciding which you prefer.
119 of 120 people found this review helpful
By Michael on 03-23-04
An Authentic Naval Story
I have listened to several of this series previously (mostly on cassette from the Public Library--some with parts damaged, etc.). This recording is pretty good, technically, but I can hear a faint echo in the background on my player, leading me to believe it was transcribed from tape. The reader is not the same guy as in later books (Richard Brown later, Patrick Tull on this one). Mr. Tull has a much more raspy, colorful voice, and gives particular accent to the "Irish" characters--no so in the Brown-read books. Tull is quite good.
I can't say enough about this series. I love it, and look forward to all 20 books being available on Audible. It was great to finally "read" the first book after knowing how the realtionship developes later on. As a former US Navy guy, it is also scary to see just how much from this era is EXACTLY the same today. If you saw the movie, it is not the same (entirely) as this book, as that plot draws from several books in this series. It is almost as though Patrick O'Brian really lived in 1800 (OK, he only missed it by 100 years!), because every aspect of his story is so totally authentic. He takes no liberty in modernizing anything at all. Obviously, the nautical aspect is exact, but so are the tiny details of everything else. His main characters are very likable, yet he leaves them with very human faults which remain fairly consistent throughout the series.
The website for the movie by this name (the one with Russell Crowe) explains some of the nautical details that are rattled off matter-of-factly all through the book and might be worth looking at to avoid some initial confusion. I did note that this first book did take some time to explain some of this by the device of explaining it to Stephen by a young midshipman. It can be a little confusing in fast action sequences without some idea what the characters are shouting about.
An excellent book and well read. I am hooked on this series, obviously.
30 of 30 people found this review helpful