September 17, 2011

Master and Commander

Wow time flies, I can't believe it is already over halfway through September. I haven't done a book review here for a long long time and this is because I have (and still am) been reading Patrick O Brian's Aubery - Maturin series. Its twenty one books in total and I just got over the halfway hump. I have to say this is probably the most rewarding series I have ever read. I really haven't come across anything quite so refined before. The language is excellent and I have found myself in wikitionary quite often trying to find out what to wear a ship or the weathergage means. Thankfully I haven't as yet started using nautical terms in my day to day speech. Anyway the series describes perfectly the nautical life of the early nineteenth century. It does this in staggering detail that can seem overwhelming. The narrative however has an excellent device in the doctor. As a Landman he needs to have everything explained to him and this covers all the most important details. Even after the eleven books I have read this is still the case. Having wiktionary close at hand is always helpful however as some of the words are not explained. These are most often non nautical terms such as cove that come up quite often. The books don't just concentrate on the Navy but also on the unfortunate times that Captains were without a ship and must survive the landsharks.

So I don't want to reveal too much of the books just yet and I want to keep my final review for when I have finished the full series. However I can recommend that you pick them up, you won't be able to put them down!


  1. I'm not really into nautical stuff from this period, but I have found that I'm being drawn more and more from the Fantasy/sci fi realm to reading more and more historical fiction, like from Bernard Cornwell, his Saxon Series and Agincourt.

  2. I have read a little of Bernard Cornwell and I liked it. However the Aubrey Maturin series is really worth trying in the least...

  3. These books are something else, i own twelve of the 22 books, the sheer detail and realism is unmatched. Even his depiction of mundane social interaction is a study in 19th century behavior.

    Amazing, Bernerd Cornwell does great 'guides' to a time period and his characters are fabulous I have liked every single Cornwell book and the only one I disliked is the Fort , which I feel was just Cornwell self-indulging, we can let him have that given his track Record, George RR Martin however needs to be drowned in a vat of warm raw sewage for waht he has done to his masterpiece.

    Him and George Lucas can be Loaded into a cannon and fired into the Sun in one of history greatest Karmic bogoff's.

    Patrick O Brian's book is the next step above Cornwell in terms of literary accomplishment, I f you are a history buff or love Nautical stuff this is for you.

    Cheers for reminding me about these books, I shall resume the series at some point soon.

  4. I haven't caught up with either Steven Erikson or George R R Martin due to having picked up this series. I am hoping that those books will be good!

  5. I can't speak for a Dance with Dragons from George RR Martin, but I've loved all of his others in that Ice and Fire series. I had a really hard time with the one Steven Erikson book I read, just did not appeal to me. Joe Abercrombie's Blade Itself did hit home, I liked it.

  6. Joe abercrombies first three books were great fun , the latest one or two are a bit disappointing in contrast.

    A feast for crows was the same brand of drudgerous crap that as been printed as Dance with Dragons, I got 200 pages into Dance and have not picked it up since , the first 3 (4?) books were truly brilliant from crows onward its been like watching paint dry .

  7. Well I guess with any series there are always a few books that don't live up to expectations. Robert Jordan comes to mind but Steven Erikkson did much the same. I don't mind this too much, it provides a lull in the tension allowing it to build better in the next book. If used properly it can introdue a lot of new twists and characters that will improve what is coming. So hopefully Dance with Dragons is doing this...

    I haven't picked up the latest Joe Abercrombie books as I have been so busy with the Aubrey Maturin ones (plus I have a few others calling to me). So it will most likely be next year before I can get to them. If only the library here in Hamburg had a slightly better selection of English Audio Books I would be sorted!


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