[Ebook] H.M.S. Surprise By Patrick O'Brian – Online-carhire-spain.co.uk

My favorite of the first three novels and perhaps of the entire series HMS Surprise deftly combines the best aspects of the first two books Love, friendship and war Frankly, there s so much going on it s hard to believe O Brian fits it all in comfortably The amazing thing about this book is how it takes you on a ride around the world, touching base in England, the Mediterranean, Africa, South America, India and the South Pacific islands All of this lush scenery is a joy to behold in O Brian My favorite of the first three novels and perhaps of the entire series HMS Surprise deftly combines the best aspects of the first two books Love, friendship and war Frankly, there s so much going on it s hard to believe O Brian fits it all in comfortably The amazing thing about this book is how it takes you on a ride around the world, touching base in England, the Mediterranean, Africa, South America, India and the South Pacific islands All of this lush scenery is a joy to behold in O Brian s capable hands So much of it describes the natural world that reading HMS Surprise is often like watching an episode of Plant Earth.This epic series set during the Napoleonic Wars, ostensibly written with Captain Jack Aubrey as the solo heroic figure, can no longer pretend to be anything but a duet Aubrey s friend, sometimes surgeon and sometimes view spoiler spy hide spoiler , Stephen Maturin really comes into his own in HMS Surprise, which includes one of the saddest, most touching scenes, not to mention others both harrowing and heroic Torture and duels, written with a touch of Impressionism that needs your attention, thrust and parry through out the book in a way that makes you wonder if O Brian wrote it just to see how much one man can plausibly endure O Brian is knocked on for providing too much information about naval matters, but here he puts it to poignant use Around page 50 Aubrey is writing to his beloved Sophie back home Much of what we know today about life at sea and warfare during this period early 1800s is what s made available to us through just such letters They are often vague, elusive or downright bland when it comes to the description of battles Certainly they could ve described the gore and extreme peril the sailors put themselves in, but why worry and expose loved ones to the horrors they might otherwise remain blissfully unaware of Aubrey pauses in the midst of his chatty letter and reflects upon one of his recent and particularly violent battles oddly inhuman in it s unusually calm, calculated butchery Forcing our eyes open Clockwork Orange style , O Brian shows a scene few have or should see, and then has Aubrey continue on with his letter, dashing off a colorless, dispassionate summary line about the fight that his loved one might readied swallow none the wiser So you get the scene and the subterfuge all in one brilliant bit of real life in a fiction full of truths.My review of book two, Post Captain review of book four, The Mauritius Command Surely man in general is born to be oppressed or solitary, if he is to be fully humanPatrick O Brian, HMS SurpriseJack, you have debauched my slothPatrick O Brian, H.M.S SurpriseSo, I am now three books into the Master and Commander and Valuable and ingenious Stephen might be, thought Jack, fixing him with his glass, but false he was too, and perjured He had voluntarily sworn to have no truck with vampires, and here, attached to his bosom, spread over it and enfolded by one arm, was a greenish hairy thing, like a mat a loathsome great vampire of the most poisonous kind, no doubt I should never have believed it of him his sacred oath in the morning watch and now he stuffs the ship with vampires and God knows what is in Valuable and ingenious Stephen might be, thought Jack, fixing him with his glass, but false he was too, and perjured He had voluntarily sworn to have no truck with vampires, and here, attached to his bosom, spread over it and enfolded by one arm, was a greenish hairy thing, like a mat a loathsome great vampire of the most poisonous kind, no doubt I should never have believed it of him his sacred oath in the morning watch and now he stuffs the ship with vampires and God knows what is in that bag No doubt he was tempted, but surely he might blush for his fall No blush nothing but a look of idiot delight as he came slowly up the side, hampered by his burden and comforting it in Portuguese as he came I am happy to see that you were so successful, Dr Maturin, he said, looking down into the launch and the canoes, loaded with glowing heaps of oranges and shaddocks, red meat, iguanas, bananas, greenstuff But I am afraid no vampires can be allowed on board This is a sloth, said Stephen, smiling at him A three toed sloth, the most affectionate, discriminating sloth you can imagine The sloth turned its round head, fixed its eyes on Jack, uttered a despairing wail, and buried its face again in Stephen s shoulder, tightening its grip to the strangling point Honestly, all you need to know about this book is this first, we get so muchStephen Maturin angst sadness character building struggle honestly, the poor man goes through A LOT in this one, and I just want someone to give him a hug , plusmarriage plotting shenanigans with both Jack and Stephen Also Stephen brings a sloth on board, and it s afraid of Jack at first, but then he gets the sloth drunk and they become friends, prompting Stephen to exclaim that Jack has debauched my sloth Quality stuff, from start to finish Thus to the Eastern wealth through storms we go But now, the Cape once doubled, fear noA constant trade wind will securely blow,And gently lay us on the spicy shore HMS Surprise is the name of the latest command of Captain Jack Aubrey, a frigate with a ragtag crew sent on a solitary mission to the Indian Ocean The book debuts with a messy affair involving Doctor StephenMaturin who is betrayed by his own side and tortured by the French in Minorca and the usual financial troubles for JacThus to the Eastern wealth through storms we go But now, the Cape once doubled, fear noA constant trade wind will securely blow,And gently lay us on the spicy shore HMS Surprise is the name of the latest command of Captain Jack Aubrey, a frigate with a ragtag crew sent on a solitary mission to the Indian Ocean The book debuts with a messy affair involving Doctor StephenMaturin who is betrayed by his own side and tortured by the French in Minorca and the usual financial troubles for Jack that are standing in the way of his marriage to the lovely Sophie All these shore troubles are cast away as the ship takes to the high seas, and the prose of Patrick O Brian soars to poetic heights unlike any of the earlier accounts of voyages in the Mediterranean and the Channel, making the book my favorite so far in the series The terrifying images of a storm in the low latitudes of the Southern Atlantic are even stronger that the account of a naval engagement later in the book between a French squadron and a convoy if Indiamen merchant ships coordinated by Jack Aubrey The quiet sailing moments between the storms and the actions, either in the glowing phosphorescence of a moonless night under the Southern Cross or in the blinding sun of the tropical Java Sea will remain longer in my memory than the actual plot of this episodeAt this speed the frigate s bow wave rose high, washing the lee head rails with an unearthly blue green light and sending phosphorescent drops over them, evenbrilliant than the wake that tore out straight behind them, a ruled line three miles long gleaming like a flow of metal They were poised high above the surface of the sea and all that was visible of the distant, narrow deck through the topsails and courses seemed peopled with dolls, foreshortened dolls that moved with disproportionate strides, their feet reaching too far in front and too far behind Superb, he said again How vast the sea has become How Luminous Jack Laughed to see his evident pleasure, his bright and attentive wondering eye, and said, Look for ard The frigate had no headsails set, the wind being aft, and the taut lines of the forestays plunged slanting down in a clean, satisfying geometry below them the ship s head with its curving rails, and then the long questing bowsprit, reaching far out into the infinity of the ocean with a steady, measured, living rhythm her bows plunged into the dark blue water, splitting it, shouldering it aside in dazzling foam On and on she sailed, in warmer seas but void, as though they alone had survived Deucalion s flood as though all land had vanished from the earth and once again the ship s routine dislocated time and temporal reality so that this progress was an endless dream, even a circular dream, contained within an unbroken horizon and punctuated only by the sound of guns thundering daily in preparation for an enemy whose real existence it was impossible to conceive It should have been tedious, week after week of solitary, uneventful crossing of empty seas, but instead it felt full of wonder, liberating in the basic struggle between man and ocean, relieved in part by flashes of humour involving a Brazilian sloth and a darker incident where the doctor is marooned on an empty rock without water or shelter.On the personal level, Jack is mostly stagnant, isolated in his commanding role and with few occasions for shoreward misdeeds It is Stephen who pays a heavy emotional price as he tries to absorb the cultural differences of Indian life in Bombay or Calcutta where he befriends a local girl Then there s the added complication of meeting his old flame Diana Villiers, now the mistress of a British merchant Their self destructive relationship is as dramatic and explosive as a meeting of warships on the ocean, yet another proof that O Brian is as good at characterization as he is at describing the sails and maneuvers of a frigate.I had touched on the sailing, on the naval action, on the romance What is left is doctor Stephen s journal, combining naturalist observations with moral philosophy, friendship with politics and even musings on the human conditionAuthority is a solvent of humanity look at any husband, any father of a family, and note the absorption of the person by the persona, the individual by the role Then multiply the family, and the authority, by some hundreds and see the effect upon a sea captain, to say nothing of an absolute monarch Surely man in general is born to be oppressed or solitary, if he is to be fully human unless it so happens that he is immune to the poison All of the above constitute reason enough for me to continue with the series as a high priority I m even beginning not only to understand, but to enjoy and find poetry in such obscure exclamations as thisMr Pullings, all hands to make sail Maintopgallants l, stuns ls and royal and scandalise the foretops l yard Amid Sights And Smells Of The Indian Subcontinent Explore Ships Of The East India Company Aubrey Is On The Defensive, Pitting Wits And Seamanship Against An Enemy Enjoying Overwhelming Local Superiority Somewhere In The Indian Ocean Lies The Prize That Could Make Him Rich Ships Sent By Napoleon To Attack The China Fleet 3 3.5 starsAs the rating attests I enjoyed this book, but I am not sure if I will ever be one of the rabid legion of fans enamoured of Patrick O Brian s work I certainly enjoyed this book muchthan I did Jack, you have debauched my sloth. I have notes, but the essence Wow Definitely new to me, and I will be reading re readingof these What a book What a writer The most impressive part, for me, is total immersion in what seaboard life OK, HUMAN life was like in the early 19th C How fragile it was Sherwood Smith read hers on her favorite parts, little orphan girl in Bombay that Stephen was considering buying He did buy her some silver bangles, her heart s desire view I have notes, but the essence Wow Definitely new to me, and I will be reading re readingof these What a book What a writer The most impressive part, for me, is total immersion in what seaboard life OK, HUMAN life was like in the early 19th C How fragile it was Sherwood Smith read hers on her favorite parts, little orphan girl in Bombay that Stephen was considering buying He did buy her some silver bangles, her heart s desire view spoiler She comes to a sad end, perhaps the saddest passage in the book Not said, but the reader has to wonder robbery gone wrong hide spoiler I m soliciting friend recos for your favorites You may be certain I ll be consulting Sherwood Smith, and Rich Horton.Of this book, my old friend Rich Horton has written In praising Patrick O Brian s Aubrey Maturin books I am on well trodden ground In a sense, it is superfluous to do so so many people, of such varied and excellent taste, have praised these books to the skies that further lauds from the modest likes of me are hardly necessary Well, me too I presume I missed it years ago, when whatever library we were using failed to provide a copy Now, we have limited reserve service, from in county libraries only, and this was the first to appear It s a winner I like listening to this book better than reading it, I think This one is steeped in the emotional lives of Jack and Stephen It s the first that really starts showing us how deeply these men feel about each other and the others they care about, and hearing it rather than reading it adds a level of intimacy that increases the novel s emotional satisfaction It opens with Stephen s torture at the hands of the French, and Jack s daring rescue Captain Jack cares for his wounded friend with a tend I like listening to this book better than reading it, I think This one is steeped in the emotional lives of Jack and Stephen It s the first that really starts showing us how deeply these men feel about each other and the others they care about, and hearing it rather than reading it adds a level of intimacy that increases the novel s emotional satisfaction It opens with Stephen s torture at the hands of the French, and Jack s daring rescue Captain Jack cares for his wounded friend with a tenderness that belies his massive frame, and he can t help but be rattled by the state in which he finds Stephen HMS Surprise continues in this vein, moving from emotional moment to emotional moment Jack loves Sophie Williams, but cannot marry her because he is arrested for debt and Mrs Williams wants a rich man for her daughter, not just a rank or name It cuts Jack to the quick Stephen loves Diana Villiers Sophie s cousin , but she has run off with Canning, a much liked Jewish merchant with interests in Diana s birth home India Stephen also comes to love a little street urchin named Dill, and he eventually loses both Diana for now and Dill forever And he kills Canning in a rather spooky dual, where Stephen, even with his torture warped hands and a bullet in his chest, manages to end the dual with the death of his rival Death and heartache are Stephen s lot And then Jack and Diana, and Bonden and Killick and all the Sophies the crewmen of Jack s first ship , are in a deep state of dread that Stephen will not make it through the infection left behind by his surgery which he himself performed and the love that they all feel for the too intense, rather ugly, brilliantly talented doctor is revealed.Listening to Simon Vance bring this to life increases the intimacy for the reader listener, making this a rare case when the audio book increased my enjoyment I wonder if this will happen again There re still 18 books to listen to Perhaps it will I loved this book The development of the two central characters, and their trials and tribulations in matters of both love and war, are as convincing as the world in which they live The descriptions of naval battles, especially the one towards the end of the book, are terrific, edge of the seat reading I think I read somewhere that O Brian based at least some of the battles on real ones fought during the Napoleonic wars, and they are extraordinarily vivid They are three dimensional and have I loved this book The development of the two central characters, and their trials and tribulations in matters of both love and war, are as convincing as the world in which they live The descriptions of naval battles, especially the one towards the end of the book, are terrific, edge of the seat reading I think I read somewhere that O Brian based at least some of the battles on real ones fought during the Napoleonic wars, and they are extraordinarily vivid They are three dimensional and have the feeling of melancholy in the aftermath of battle because of dead and injured shipmates, as well as the pleasure of success.I am all agog to read the next volume, but want to space them out and savour the experience Definitely a five star read for me H.M.S. Surprise


About the Author: Patrick O'Brian

Patrick O Brian s acclaimed Aubrey Maturin series of historical novels has been described as a masterpiece David Mamet, New York Times , addictively readable Patrick T Reardon, Chicago Tribune , and the best historical novels ever written Richard Snow, New York Times Book Review , which should have been on those lists of the greatest novels of the 20th century George Will.Set in the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars, O Brian s twenty volume series centers on the enduring friendship between naval officer Jack Aubrey and physician and spy Stephen Maturin The Far Side of the World, the tenth book in the series, was adapted into a 2003 film directed by Peter Weir and starring Russell Crowe and Paul Bettany The film was nominated for ten Oscars, including Best Picture The books are now available in hardcover, paperback, and e book format.In addition to the Aubrey Maturin novels, Patrick O Brian wrote several books including the novels Testimonies, The Golden Ocean, and The Unknown Shore, as well as biographies of Joseph Banks and Picasso He translated many works from French into English, among them the novels and memoirs of Simone de Beauvoir, the first volume of Jean Lacouture s biography of Charles de Gaulle, and famed fugitive Henri Cherriere s memoir Papillon O Brian died in January 2000 The Aubrey Maturin Series on Goodreads


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