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Publisher's Summary

The H.M.S. Leopard pulled into the bay of Pulo Batang looking more like a shabby merchant ship that a man-of-war. The crew had endured a calamitous voyage plagued by gaol-fever, pursued by the Dutch Waakzaamheid, and struck by an iceberg. Suffice it to say, Jack Aubrey was ready for home. The return journey aboard La Fleche proves delightful for both Aubrey and his particular friend. Stephen Maturin, with high winds and beautiful skies. It is when La Fleche nears the coast of Brazil that tragedy strikes. Accidental fire ravages the ship, forcing the crew into lifeboats. Rescued eventually by the Java, Aubrey and Maturin meet with yet another deterrent to their journey home when the Java engages the U.S.S. Constitution in battle, and loses. Aubrey, now a POW in Boston, waits for word of a prisoner exchange, while Maturin renews his friendship with the raven-haired expatriate, Diana Villiers.
Don't miss the rest of the Aubrey/Maturin series.
©1979 Patrick O'Brian (P)2003 Recorded Books, LLC.
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Critic Reviews

"The Fortune of War is a marvelously full-flavored, engrossing book, which towers over its current rivals in the genre like a three-decker over a ship's longboat." (Times Literary Supplement)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By ScipioTex on 12-21-04

Alternative Entry Point

This is the most interesting of the first six books in the series for American readers, and as such provides an alternative to starting the series at the beginning (with "Master and Commander"). The author alludes to many of the significant events in the preceding novels and also presents the most important characters, allowing the reader approaching this excellent series for the first time to slip in effortlessly. The principal theme of these books, the friendship between the extrovert Aubrey and the introvert Maturin, is primarily responsible for the poignancy of the tales and is evident throughout "The Fortune of War".

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6 of 6 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Dave Brown on 05-19-05

Naval spy games done well

I was pleased how he was able to work in a significant amount of naval warfare and strategy into what ultimately is a spy/escape story. There are some wonderful moments: one with Jack mistaking another character's identity because of a common name, considerable development of Steven as a spy including a tremendous chase sequence that remains clearly in my mind to this day, and a satsifying and thunderous ending. Knowing that if you enjoyed this you can follow the characters on further (and previous) adventures is really a plus.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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