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H.M.S. Surprise (1973)

de Patrick O'Brian

Altres autors: Mira la secció altres autors.

Sèrie: Aubrey-Maturin (3)

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaConverses / Mencions
4,164642,845 (4.28)1 / 95
Fiction. Historical Fiction. HTML:

Third in the series of Aubrey??Maturin adventures, this book is set among the strange sights and smells of the Indian subcontinent and in the distant waters ploughed by the ships of the East India Company. Aubrey is on the defensive, pitting wits and seamanship against an enemy enjoying overwhelming local superiority. But somewhere in the Indian Ocean lies the prize that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams: the ships sent by Napoleon to attack the China Fleet.

Full of daring rescues, colorful characters, high seas adventure, and vivid historical detail, this novel will grab you from the start and never loosen its grip.… (més)

S'està carregant…

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» Mira també 95 mencions

Anglès (58)  Castellà (4)  Italià (1)  Suec (1)  Totes les llengües (64)
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A return visit. Can it be that the series is better the second time through? YES!

This book is probably my favorite out of the whole series. It has beautiful language, plotting, characters, action, intrigue, and romance from the man's perspective. O'Brian gave a full broadside across the stern with not a mast standing. ( )
1 vota wvlibrarydude | Jan 14, 2024 |
Listened to the audio book (my third reading) narrated by the inimitable Patrick Tull.

I'd forgotten how much was crammed into this book. It's by and large the courtship of Jack and Sophie and Jack laying himself out so that he can pay off his debts and finally marry his love. There's also spy shenanigans as Maturin is captured and tortured at Port Mahon only to be rescued in a daring and dangerous cutting out by Jack and crew. (Only Captain Doutard escapes Jack's wrath; we'll hear from him in a later volume, I'm sure.) Aubrey is (finally) captured by bailiffs for debt and ends up, briefly, in a sponging house until an advance, authored by Stephen through Sir Joseph, gets him out again and gets him posted to the Surprise.

While rounding the Cape of Good Hope the Surprise hits a storm that O'Brian takes pages to resolve. I was dripping with cold sea water by the end of it. Just brilliant writing like you can find nowhere else.

The Surprise ferries an ailing old diplomat to India, and there we meet up with Diana, who has taken up house with the Jewish merchant Richard Canning, her lover. This about destroys Maturin, of course, and (eventually) Stephen ends up killing Canning in a pistol duel, himself being seriously injured. He operates on himself and successfully removes the bullet. (Sadly, Maturin is looked on as a kind of hero for 'killing the Jew'.) Diana is confused and doesn't know what she wants, and as always O'Brian draws a real, believable character in her with as much depth as Steven himself. She heads back toward England, but Jack refuses her passage on the Surprise. He doesn't like Diana, and she calls him out for it with a pretty harsh tongue-lashing, but Jack stands firm.

We also meet the lovely character Dil, a child of low or no caste that Stephen befriend, and who is eventually also killed because of the bracelet gifts Stephen bestows upon her. Here, O'Brian's writing is at it very best. The way he describes Dil, and her wonderfully quirky voice is so well done. Her cremation, supervised by Maturin, is heartbreaking.

Finally, Aubrey's defense of the East India Company's China Fleet is also as exciting and informational as you could want. Lots to learn here about how ships work in concert, and in comparing naval sailing to commercial. And Aubrey's old nemesis Linois from Master and Commander makes another appearance, this time as commodore of a small French fleet.

Jack meets up with Sophie in Madeira at long last, and he's made good on all his debts thanks to the generosity of the dead Canning. He can now be married.

This book has a little bit of everything in it. Some of the most memorable parts are the most emotionally intense. O'Brian also writes a compelling travel narrative: his descriptions of life in India are rich and deep, and not just the places and practices, but the people, too. Lots of characters appear and disappear, and of course the whole time he's expanding at the edges on the recurring people like Pullings, Bonden, Killick, and the rest of the crew. This book is something of a carnival confection for A-M lovers. It's all here, all the humor, the depth of character, the sea-going hardship, the exploration, the intrigue, and the big fleet actions.

Finally, the discovery of Testudo Aubreii closes the book. What could be better? ( )
  jsmick | Mar 20, 2023 |
A solid entry into a solid series that, for all the acclaim sent its way, still hasn't yet filled my sails. HMS Surprise, the third book in Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin series, does what O'Brian does well: it develops further the friendship between Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin, delivers a vivid and authentic depiction of life aboard a man-of-war during the Napoleonic era, and writes a mean sea battle.

The one real sea battle, however, comes at the end of the novel and is a tad anti-climactic; its presence highlights the imbalance in the novel. By the time it arrives we've spent a long time getting there, pushing easily but at a medium tempo through minor seaborne trials and land-based affairs (I've never cared for the Diana/Stephen romance – which has a predictable end here – nor the attention to Jack's fiancée and his debts). O'Brian's India lacks flavour and the episode with Canning felt a little too hasty to me. While this is certainly not bad storytelling, the book's weight and its stately pace can have the effect of exposing some of its plainer elements. The ambassador plotline proves to be merely a MacGuffin to get our characters into a theatre where they can have that sea battle, and it's a lot of pages to work through just for that. O'Brian can be credited for his erudition and literary-calibre writing, but HMS Surprise may be one occasion on which it would've been better just to write the adventure. ( )
  MikeFutcher | Jan 24, 2023 |
Las reflexiones sobre las cualidades que debe tener un buen capitán, las observaciones sobre temas tan variados como el dinero, el sexo o el amor y la profundización en los aspectos más humanos de los personajes son algunos de los puntos fuertes de esta novela. Sin embargo, no carece de acción, sino más bien al contrario
  Natt90 | Dec 16, 2022 |
Another great Patrick O'Brian sea novel with Jack Aubrey and the ship surgeon, Stephen Maturin. I have read about half of the around 20 novels and like most of them. I used to read the Hornblower novels back in Jr. High, but these are even better. ( )
  kslade | Dec 8, 2022 |
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Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
Patrick O'Brianautor primaritotes les edicionscalculat
Heston, CharltonCol·laboradorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Hunt, GeoffAutor de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Jerrom, RicNarradorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Lee, JohnNarradorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Merla, PaolaTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Oca, Aleida Lama Montes deTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Thorne, StephenNarradorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Tull, PatrickNarradorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Vance, SimonNarradorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Wannenmacher, JuttaTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Wiberg, CarlaTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
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MARIAE LEMBI NOSTRI DUCI ET MAGISTRAE DO DEDICO

[ = I present and dedicate [this book] to Mary, the commander and mistress of our yacht]
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'But I put it to you, my lord, that prize-money is of essential importance to the Navy.'

Chapter one.
The trouble with writing about Patrick O'Brian's books is that they are so engrossing.

Arms and the man, by Charlton Heston.
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'Jack, you have debauched my sloth.'
"[Dr. Maturin] speaks languages like a walking Tower of Babel, all except ours. Dear Lord,' he said, laughing heartily, 'to this day I don't believe he knows the odds between port and starboard....' p. 40
... [M]ost of the frigate's people felt both past and future blur, dwindling almost into insignificance: an impression all the stronger since the Surprise was once more in a lonely sea, two thousand miles of dark blue water with never an island to break its perfect round: not the faintest smell of land even on the strongest breeze -- the ship was a world self-contained, swimming between two perpetually renewed horizons. Stronger still, because in these waters there was no eager impatience to see over the eastward rim: they sailed with no relation to an enemy, nor to any potential prize. The Dutch were bottled up; the French had disappeared; the Portuguese were friends. [223]
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Fiction. Historical Fiction. HTML:

Third in the series of Aubrey??Maturin adventures, this book is set among the strange sights and smells of the Indian subcontinent and in the distant waters ploughed by the ships of the East India Company. Aubrey is on the defensive, pitting wits and seamanship against an enemy enjoying overwhelming local superiority. But somewhere in the Indian Ocean lies the prize that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams: the ships sent by Napoleon to attack the China Fleet.

Full of daring rescues, colorful characters, high seas adventure, and vivid historical detail, this novel will grab you from the start and never loosen its grip.

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Mitjana: (4.28)
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