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The Reverse of the Medal (1986)

de Patrick O'Brian

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Sèrie: Aubrey-Maturin (11)

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaMencions
2,260245,509 (4.19)30
In the early 1800s, the British Navy stands as the only bulwark against the militant fanaticism of Napoleonic France. Captain Jack Aubrey, R.N., ashore after a successful tour of duty, is persuaded by a casual acquaintance to make certain investments in the city. This innocent decision ensnares him in the London criminal underground and in government espionage, the province of his friend Stephen Maturin. Is Aubrey's humiliation and the threatened ruin of his career a deliberate plot? This dark tale is a fitting backdrop to the brilliant characterization, sparkling dialogue, and meticulous detail which O'Brian's readers have come to expect.… (més)
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Anglès (21)  Suec (2)  Castellà (1)  Totes les llengües (24)
Es mostren 1-5 de 24 (següent | mostra-les totes)
Book 11 in Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin series sees some surprising revelations, changes, and reversals of fortune. There's not much sea-going action here, and what there is isn't incredibly satisfying. And the spy stuff is somehow never quite as interesting to me as it feels like it should be, even with the treason-in-high-places plot we've got going on at this point in the series. But the parts of the story involving the characters' personal lives and problems are extremely engaging. Both Captain Aubrey and Dr. Maturin have moments here that make me feel immense affection for them... and also moments where I'd kind of like to knock some sense into them. Especially Jack Aubrey. How can a man that unbelievably competent at sea be such a gullible screw-up on land? But, of course, that's all part of what makes him such an interesting and oddly lovable character. There's also a moment towards the end that genuinely got me a little choked up, and a very interesting setup for going forward into the next volume. ( )
  bragan | Apr 8, 2022 |
What can I say that has not been said before. Elegant and beguiling plot, wonderful characterisation and vivid prose. ( )
  malcrf | Jul 27, 2021 |
Someone mentions Jack Aubrey and at once you think of sea battles and naval history, you may not think of Stock Exchange frauds and court cases, but that is exactly what we have here. Of course there is some sea action, this book takes up after Master and Commander, so even if you only saw the film you have a rough idea of what to expect.. Aubrey and the crew of the Surprise have been off protecting whalers and most of this book is set either on their way home, or back in England.

Jack has problems of his own, a young black catholic man who has a remarkable similarity to Jack turns up, but Stephen isn’t carefree either. His wife appears to have left him, and there is trouble in the intelligence agency.

But I don’t really read these books for the plot. I read them because of the way they are written, the characters that shine and the wonderful language. It is also interesting the way Jack notes that the colourful coats he’s used to are no longer fashionable. More and more fashion calls for black coats. Well, maybe you don’t find that interesting, but I did.

Plus, the more I read around this whole general time period the more I enjoy these books. Phrases I read in Heyer’s books turn up here too, things “don’t signify.” ) A saying I now intend to use all the time, so be prepared.

I particularly liked Jack’s unshakable belief in the English justice system, his absolute knowledge that once he tells the jury the truth nothin could possibly go wrong. Not to mention Stephen’s attempts to dissuade him of this notion:

“They are men who tend to resign their own conscience to another’s keeping, or to disregard it entirely. To the question ‘what are you’re sentiments when you are asked to defend a man you know to be quilty?’ many will reply ‘I do not know to be guilty until the judge, who has heard both sides, states that he is guilty.’ … standing up in a court for which ever side has paid upi, affecting warmth and conviction, and doing everything you can to win the case, whatever your private opinion may be, will soon dull any fine sense of honour. The mercenary soldier is not a valued creature, but at least he risks his life, whereas these men merely risk their next fee.” ( )
1 vota Fence | Jan 5, 2021 |
This is the eleventh in the Aubrey/Maturin series of novels, which stretches to twenty volumes completed in the author's lifetime and a 21st published posthumously having (I assume) been finished or at least tidied up by another.

THIS REVIEW HAS BEEN CURTAILED IN PROTEST AT GOODREADS' CENSORSHIP POLICY

See the complete review here:

http://arbieroo.booklikes.com/post/334971/post ( )
  Arbieroo | Jul 17, 2020 |
The Reverse of the Medal, Patrick O’Brian’s eleventh book in his Aubrey-Maturin series, picks up shortly after the events of The Far Side of The World, with Captain Jack Aubrey returning the HMS Surprise to England, where the aging ship will be sold out of the service and possibly reduced to scrap. A sense of melancholy overhangs the events of this novel, both with the impending loss of the Surprise and other events.

Aubrey must reconcile his own sense of the passage of time and a cruel world, as he encounters both his bastard son, Samuel Panda, and must participate in a courts martial in which the various accused are certain of a guilty verdict. When the crew return home, they find things similarly bleak ashore. Dr. Stephen Maturin learns that his wife, Diana, has abandoned him over a perceived slight during his time in the Mediterranean. Jack, meanwhile, receives what seems a lucky stock tip that results in his arrest for fraud on the Stock Exchange, further complicating his naïve notions of justice. O’Brian is in full force in this novel as he captures the sense of melancholy through Jack’s observations, writing, “Jack observed with regret that the fine coloured coats of his youth were losing more and more ground to black, which, though well enough in particular cases, gave the far pavement a mourning air. To be sure, bottle-green, claret-coloured and bright blue did appear now and then, but the far side of the street was not the flower-garden that once it had been. And pantaloons were almost universal among the young” (pg. 110). Though the trial would seem outlandish, O’Brian’s careful attention to historical detail ensure that it is accurate, as he based the culminating events of the novel on James Beresford Atlay’s account of the trial and conviction of Lord Cochrane before Lord Ellenborough at the Guildhall for a fraud on the Stock Exchange

Like the previous four novels, The Reverse of the Medal exists outside the normal flow of time – this novel being the fifth of twelve to exist in what O’Brian described as an extended 1812, with these dozen books taking place between the beginning of June 1813 and November 1813. Like his previous novels, O’Brian perfectly recreates the world of the Napoleonic War in 1812, using Aubrey and Stephen’s melancholy to reflect their awareness of the rapid changes occurring in this era and the passage of time in the series’ internal chronology. This Folio Society edition reprints the original text with insets containing historical portraits and sketches to illustrate some of the scenes. ( )
1 vota DarthDeverell | Dec 8, 2018 |
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Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
Patrick O'Brianautor primaritotes les edicionscalculat
Brown, RichardNarradorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Hunt, GeoffAutor de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Jendis, MatthiasTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Merla, PaolaTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Oca, Aleida Lama Montes deTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Tull, PatrickNarradorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Vance, SimonNarradorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat

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In the early 1800s, the British Navy stands as the only bulwark against the militant fanaticism of Napoleonic France. Captain Jack Aubrey, R.N., ashore after a successful tour of duty, is persuaded by a casual acquaintance to make certain investments in the city. This innocent decision ensnares him in the London criminal underground and in government espionage, the province of his friend Stephen Maturin. Is Aubrey's humiliation and the threatened ruin of his career a deliberate plot? This dark tale is a fitting backdrop to the brilliant characterization, sparkling dialogue, and meticulous detail which O'Brian's readers have come to expect.

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