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Publisher's Summary

At the outset of this adventure, Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin pursue a heavy American privateer through the Great South Sea. Their ship, the Surprise, is now also a privateer, the better to escape diplomatic complications from Stephen's mission, which is to ignite the revolutionary tinder of South America. Jack will survive a desperate open-boat journey and come face to face with his illegitimate black son; Stephen, caught up in the aftermath of his failed coup, will flee for his life into the high, frozen wastes of the Andes; and Patrick O'Brian's brilliantly detailed narrative will reuinte them at last in a breathtaking chase through storm seas and icebergs south of Cape Horn.
Don't miss the rest of the Aubrey/Maturin series.
©1993 Patrick O'Brian (P)2003 Recorded Books, LLC.
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Critic Reviews

"So much better than the competition that comparisons long ago ceased to be relevant: [the Aubrey/Maturin books] are uniquely excellent." (The New York Times)
"Meticulously researched and heart-stoppingly vivid." (Washington Post Book World)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Margaret on 10-05-08

Patrick Tull is the only narrator to choose

Patrick Tull reads the Aubrey/Maturin novels far better than anyone else. Buy the whole series with his voices, to bring alive each character with subtlety and vigor.

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24 of 26 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Darwin8u on 11-28-17

oínopa pónton

“And jealous now of me, you gods, because I befriend a man, one I saved as he straddled the keel alone, when Zeus had blasted and shattered his swift ship with a bright lightning bolt, out on the wine-dark sea.”
—Homer, The Odyssey, Book V

So, "wine-dark sea" (or "oínopa pónton") is a phrase used quite a bit by Homer. And Homer was quite an author I guess. And he did some pretty damn good writing about boats and stuff. So, it is only natural that Patrick O'Brian would eventually get around to using the "Wine-Dark Sea" image in one of his books. In Book 16 to be specific. This book is actually book 4, of a 5-novel circumnavigation of the globe sieries within his greater 20 book (21 if you count his last unfinished novel) Aubrey-Maturin series. There is some nice sailing, and the wine-dark sea section happens to appear at a point when some volcanic activity is happening nearby (which given the location of most of Homer's sea stories, also ties the mysterious wine-dark colors together).

Anyway, there was some interesting sections dealing with South American politics, and Andes hiking. Some of my favorite new characters are the two little girls rescued from a South Asian island that was decimated with small-pox. They have attached themselves to Dr. Maturin and become a lovely feature on the Surprise. I'm starting to get that feeling one gets towards the last couple days of an amazing vacation. You still enjoy the country, beach, mountains, etc., but there is a sense of impending dread that this all will end too soon. One day, I'll reach to the table next to my bed and there won't be a new O'Brian novel to read. I'm already sad.

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7 of 9 people found this review helpful

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