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Publisher's Summary

The time is the early 1800s, and the British Navy stands as the only bulwark against the militant fanaticism of Napoleonic France. Captain Jack Aubrey, R.N., a brilliant and experienced officer, has been struck off the list of post-captains for a crime he did not commit. His old friend Stephen Maturin, usually cast as a ship's surgeon to mask his discreet activities on behalf of British intelligence, has bought for Aubrey his former ship the Surprise to command as a privateer, more politely termed a letter of marque. Together they sail on a desperate mission against the French which, if successful, may redeem Aubrey from the private hell of his disgrace. Aubrey, the lion in action, leads a solo night attack on a French port; a jewel of great value is returned to its owner; Dr. Maturin's fondness for tincture of opium takes a more serious turn, and he is at last reunited with his estranged wife, the coldly fascinating Diana Villiers. From such seemingly familiar materials Patrick O' Brian fashions a narrative that is both original and profoundly exciting. This is the twelfth in O'Brian's 20-volume Aubrey/Maturin series.
Don't miss the rest of the Aubrey/Maturin series.
©1988 Patrick O'Brian (P)2000 Random House, Inc.
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Critic Reviews

"The best historical novels ever written." (The New York Times Book Review)
"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)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Constance on 03-17-05

You can start in the middle

You don't have to have read any of the prior books in the series to enjoy this book--or any of the other books in this wonderful series. This one has everything--drama, romance, history, sailing, international intrigue--and O'Brian gives puts in short, concise explanations of what has gone on in previous books in ways that don't interrupt the flow of the narrative. Patick Tull is one of the best "readers" I've heard for any audio book. Read it--you'll be hooked.

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7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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