Regular price: $34.97
Buy Now with 1 Credit
Buy Now for $34.97
"The pretext: dictatorships were absurdly sensitive to the public opinion they continually outraged; they always had to be in the right, to be morally impeccable; and that was one of the reasons why those who had been much mutilated in their interrogation were rarely allowed to live, whether they had given their information or not."
- Patrick O'Brian, The Surgeon's Mate
When I was first introduced to these novels and read the first couple, I couldn't believe how GOOD the were, but was skeptical that they could continue with the same level of near perfection the early novels evoked. Now, seven books in, I'm less amazed at the continuity of output. I figure it is something like building a cathedral. If you have a master-builder, it doesn't matter if the church is 10 feet high or 1000 feet. The scale matters, but a genius will produce genius work.
I am, however, a bit more accustomed to how O'Brian pulls this off without the books seeming to sink into the trap of most serial authors. Setting. If O'Brian only told his novels at sea, there might be some inevitable boredom and repetition, but O'Brian doesn't.
For example in this book, the setting goes something like this:
Halifax (Land) => HMS Diligence (Chased from Halifax to Home) => England (Land) / Paris (Land) => HMS Ariel (Baltic Sea/Bay of Biscay) => Paris (Prison) => HMS Oedipus (English Channel).
This one has a bit more setting changes than most, but O'Brian's change of settings and occasional diversions into spy-craft and/or spouse-craft allows enough shadows and depth into these novels to keep the reader from becoming sea-blind.
15 of 21 people found this review helpful
Listening to Patrick Tull read is such a pleasure. This series is one of the best reasons for audio books.
8 of 11 people found this review helpful