• Master and Commander

  • Aubrey-Maturin, Book 1
  • By: Patrick O'Brian
  • Narrated by: Robert Hardy
  • Series: Aubrey/Maturin, Book 1
  • Length: 4 hrs and 23 mins
  • Abridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 06-06-05
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Limited
  • 3.5 out of 5 stars 3.6 (23 ratings)

Regular price: $8.25

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Publisher's Summary

Master and Commander is the first of Patrick O'Brian's now famous Aubrey/Maturin novels, regarded by many as the greatest series of historical novels ever written. It establishes the friendship between Captain Jack Aubrey RN and Stephen Maturin, who becomes his secretive ship's surgeon and an intelligence agent. It contains all the action and excitement which could possibly be hoped for in a historical novel, but it also displays the qualities which have put O'Brian far ahead of any of his competitors: his depiction of the detail of life aboard a Nelsonic man-of-war, of weapons, food, conversation, and ambience, of the landscape, and of the sea. O'Brian's portrayal of each of these is faultless and the sense of period throughout is acute. His power of characterisation is above all masterly.
This brilliant historical novel marked the debut of a writer who grew into one of our greatest novelists ever.
©1994 Patrick O'Brian (P)2003 HarperCollins UK
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
2 out of 5 stars
By Robert on 04-13-06

abridged too far

Highly enjoyable, ripping yarn. I read the first 8 books of the Aubrey/Maturin series a few years ago and was looking forward to the audio version. Mostly I was not disappointed. Robert Hardy does an excellent job on the narration, with good salty accents and believable characterization.

My quibble is with the abridging, which left out some important (to my mind) stuff, eg the trapanning scene where Maturin cuts open the guy's head in front of the ship's company, a suspenseful and interesting scene in the original. There were also some abrupt scene changes, esp between the capture of the Surprise and the board of inquiry.

This was pretty good, but I wish it and the rest of the series were available unabridged.

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7 of 7 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By maxwell on 08-02-10


I would not have bought this book, had I realized it was abridged. Thus the story lost a lot of it's sense and continuity. However it was well read.

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
2 out of 5 stars
By Mr on 01-28-10

Disappointing abridgement

This is a very good book and nicely read but the way is has been abridged is pretty awful. Great chunks of story are missed and at times (especially towards the end) the story chops about so much it becomes tricky to follow.

Since the unabridged version is available on the American version of this site, it seems a pity that we have to make do with this.

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23 of 23 people found this review helpful

1 out of 5 stars
By Simon on 09-06-11

Awful abridgement

Don't buy this shoddily and unnecessarily curtailed recording. The joy of the novels is in the occasional details and the depiction of shipboard life/death. All of this has been filleted.
Please can somebody record the whole series unabridged - it is an excellent (if not the pre-eminent) historical series of novels.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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