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Publisher's Summary

For the first time in Jack Aubrey's long, illustrious career, the sea, to which he had escaped with very little more than his dignity in tact, brings small solace to him because of his increasing despondency over debts and troubles at home. Shoved into a temporary command in "that rotten old Worcester," Aubrey is off to the Mediterranean to join the Royal Navy's blockade of the French port of Toulon, where he will be dispatched by Admiral Harte (unfortunately the same Admiral Harte he cuckolded years ago) on a secret mission that promises to embroil Aubrey in political conflict. His friend Stephen's help notwithstanding, Aubrey faces some of the choppiest waters of his career.
This is the eighth book in O'Brian's 20-volume Aubrey/Maturin series.
Don't miss the rest of the Aubrey/Maturin series.
©1981 Patrick O'Brian (P)1994 Recorded Books, LLC
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Critic Reviews

"Splendid adventures at a stately pace." (Kirkus)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
3 out of 5 stars
By Jonathan on 01-16-08

The Ionian Mission

Although this is the first of the series to hit the doldrums, it's saved by humor on several levels, and the ending.

For the audio version, Patrick Tull aids its salvation. After a slow start, Tull brings more and more dramatic presence into each successive novel. He truly hits his stride here.

Other pluses include a more thorough use of Steven's near incurable ignorance of naval matters as our window into that complex, jargon filled Age of Sail world.

Then again, if you have not already found yourself saying “Top Gallants and Royals, if you please,” to express the need for haste, and urging people to finish something before it's abaft - even if those phrases don't answer - then you probably have not made it this far.

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By Paul on 04-10-06

Part of a bigger tale

One more of POB's books that starts off slow, real slow, and stayed there. But it's about a blockade. The most boring mission you could hope not to get. It did pick up at the end. But we all know if you are reading this review, your going to get the book anyway. Just like me. I thought it was interesting to see how politics in the Near East hasn't changed much.

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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