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Publisher's Summary

In The Letter of Marque, Jack is once again aboard his beloved Surprise but stripped of his post captaincy for a crime he did not commit. Bought by Stephen, the Surprise has become a privateer. Sailing into French waters, the two concoct a desperate mission which, if successful, may redeem Aubrey from his state of disgrace. A nighttime battle with an unusual climax, a jewel of great value and Stephen's fondness for opium make this segment of O'Brian's masterful series both original and profoundly exciting.
©1988 Patrick O'Brian (P)2003 Recorded Books, LLC
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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

By Farlow on 02-12-04

Two Patricks

I have listened to all the Aubrey/Maturin books,each narrated by Patrick Tull,unabridged, and will start at the beginning to savor them all again.I tuned into CSPAN on the car radio one night and heard P. O'Brian being interviewed by Walter Cronkite.I was so taken by his intelligence ,wit and charm that I read the first novel.It was great but hearing Patrick Tull read the second one was what blew me away.I was hooked! And I never liked naval lore or historical novels before.These two Patricks collaborated to deliver hours of pleasure...seventeen books making up one huge novel.I can't imagine any narrator doing a better job of bringing the books to life.

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28 of 31 people found this review helpful


By Darwin8u on 05-27-17

Privateering and the Search for Redemption

I have often observed that extremely violent noise and activity go with good-fellowship and heightened spirits.”
― Patrick O'Brian, The Letter of Marque

Captain Aubrey has been kicked out of the Navy based on some financial speculation that he was involved in. Now, he is sailing the Surprise decked out as a privateer (under the Letter of Marque) which allows him to earn a bit more money and enjoy a bit more freedom. Captain Aubrey, however, is a man who misses the Navy and being away from the Navy is killing him. Meanwhile, Dr. Maturin has his demons to deal with (women, or one woman, and Laudanum).

This isn't the strongest book in the series (12 books in and this might be the weakest so far, but still isn't really weak or weak only relatively), but it is nice to see a different aspect of the the British Navy. Probably the most famous Privateer in history is Francis Drake. Aubrey engages in several battles at sea and is able "right" his fortune and perhaps even his name. There is a scene at the end when Dr. Maturin is under the spell of a large dose of Laudanum that while interesting is a bit weak (he dreams of balloons, and Diana). There was certainly plenty of foreshadowing of balloons to make its entrance in his dream believable, but it was just not polished enough. No. Polished isn't right. It didn't risk enough. It was a bit of a boring scene. Anyway, still a very good book -- with just a few barnacles attached.

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12 of 13 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Jon on 09-21-06

Letter of Marque

A gripping yarn read by a master of the art - O'Brian's further adventures of Captain Aubrey and Stephen Maturin are brought to life by a master of story telling - Patrick Tull... Brilliant. It's just a shame that the other unabridged O'Brian books read by Tull aren't in the Audible collection.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful


By John L. on 04-06-06

How to lose yourself in history

As an O'Brian fan, it would have to be something really dull to stop me from marking it high, but this was really top notch - the way in which the story was read helped transport me back into the times of the French wars and ripping yarns - Brilliant.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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