Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin tales are widely acknowledged to be the greatest series of historical novels ever written.
To commemorate the 40th anniversary of their beginning, with Master and Commander, these evocative stories are being re-issued in paperback with smart new livery.
This is the seventh book in the series. Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin are ordered home by despatch vessel to bring the news of their latest victory to the government.
But Maturin is a marked man for the havoc he has wrought in the French intelligence network in the New World, and the attentions of two privateers soon become menacing.
The chase that follows through the fogs and shallows of the Grand Banks is as thrilling, as tense and as unexpected in its culmination as anything Patrick O'Brian has written.
Then, among other things, follows a shipwreck and a particularly sinister internment in the notorious Temple Prison in Paris.
Once again, the tigerish and fascinating Diana Villiers redresses the balance in this man's world of seamanship and war.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 400 pages
- Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
- Publication Date: 04/11/1996
- Category: Historical fiction
- ISBN: 9780006499213
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Review by myfanwy
The Surgeon's Mate is number seven after Master and Commander, Post Captain, H.M.S. Surprise, The Mauritius Command, Desolation Island, and The Fortune of War.Last we left our friends Aubrey and Maturin, they were in the New World having just escaped Boston and succeeded in battle against an American ship. This book focuses on the consequences of the previous book's exploits. We see two unwanted pregnancies, financial ruin, and of course plenty of danger and derring-do. Most of the book focuses on Maturin, acting as an intelligence agent for the British against the French. Being an officer prisoner of war is all fun and games until he is recognized and suddenly an inconvenient delay becomes a life-threatening danger.As always, the writing is impeccable. Aubrey remains the commander with the perfect mind for making the most of the present and an abominable mind for understanding nuance and temptation and future consequences. Maturin is rational and cold but we see his heart bow yet again under the weight of Diana Villiers' presence. The characters are wonderfully fallible and the plot unpredictable. The battle may be won only to have the ship cast against a reef. An ordinary engagement between ships may change the face of the war by killing a general. You never know what will happen next!Once again, all I can say is Bravo! or should I say Huzzah! All the best to the King's Navy!