Book Reviews of Master and Commander (Aubrey / Maturin, Bk 1)

Master and Commander (Aubrey / Maturin, Bk 1)
Master and Commander - Aubrey / Maturin, Bk 1
Author: Patrick O'Brian
ISBN-13: 9780393037012
ISBN-10: 0393037010
Publication Date: 11/1994
Pages: 411
Rating:
  • Currently 4.3/5 Stars.
 6

4.3 stars, based on 6 ratings
Publisher: W. W. Norton Company
Book Type: Hardcover
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

31 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed Master and Commander (Aubrey / Maturin, Bk 1) on + 3 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Historically fairly accurate, well-written, some interesting characterizations. MUCH better than the movie which conflated several books and was simply confusing if you hadn't read the books. Anyone interested in the politics of the British navy through the Napoleonic wars (how one got a commission, moved up, made money, etc.), the details of different kinds of ships and how they sail, tensions within Britain in terms of class and ethnicity (Irish vs. English), will find interesting material here.
reviewed Master and Commander (Aubrey / Maturin, Bk 1) on + 15 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
I've read a couple series of nautical, historical fiction. This one jumps right to the complicated language of the sea on page one. However, beyond my general lack of understanding of the nuances through much of the book, I found this a very enjoyable book. I will be ordering the next in the series directly.
reviewed Master and Commander (Aubrey / Maturin, Bk 1) on + 209 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
My husband read this in one sitting! He said it was wonderful.
reviewed Master and Commander (Aubrey / Maturin, Bk 1) on + 130 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
good sea yarn, too many technical details for my taste, my heart belongs to Hornblower
reviewed Master and Commander (Aubrey / Maturin, Bk 1) on + 18 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Hard to put down! I had to buy the set.
reviewed Master and Commander (Aubrey / Maturin, Bk 1) on
Helpful Score: 1
I really liked this book. It was a bit slow in places, and it used a lot of nautical terms I didn't know, but overall a good story and pretty easy to read. I was pleasantly surprised. It does have some differences from the movie, but most do. Enjoy!
reviewed Master and Commander (Aubrey / Maturin, Bk 1) on + 982 more book reviews
"The best historical fiction novels ever written."-Richard Snow, New York Times Book Review
reviewed Master and Commander (Aubrey / Maturin, Bk 1) on + 5 more book reviews
excellent book heavy reading for the deep thinker
reviewed Master and Commander (Aubrey / Maturin, Bk 1) on + 6 more book reviews
First in a series that you'll want to read all of!
reviewed Master and Commander (Aubrey / Maturin, Bk 1) on + 2 more book reviews
I have only listened to part of this fine audio book on cd's but already endorse it heartily as a swashbuckling portrayal of the early British Navy replete with floggings and impressments.
reviewed Master and Commander (Aubrey / Maturin, Bk 1) on + 19 more book reviews
The first in a series.....my husband loved it
reviewed Master and Commander (Aubrey / Maturin, Bk 1) on + 3 more book reviews
Much better than I expected. Made the mistake of watching the movie first and was not impressed. Pleasant suprise.
reviewed Master and Commander (Aubrey / Maturin, Bk 1) on + 593 more book reviews
If you like early sailing stories this is for you, it is a very good read.
reviewed Master and Commander (Aubrey / Maturin, Bk 1) on + 10 more book reviews
Very exciting stuff.
reviewed Master and Commander (Aubrey / Maturin, Bk 1) on + 10 more book reviews
Better than the movie!
reviewed Master and Commander (Aubrey / Maturin, Bk 1) on + 265 more book reviews
The story behind the movie. A good seafaring novel.
reviewed Master and Commander (Aubrey / Maturin, Bk 1) on + 148 more book reviews
really wonderful book...great descriptions...great for lovers of naval history buffs. :) -Mirah W.
reviewed Master and Commander (Aubrey / Maturin, Bk 1) on + 83 more book reviews
Great stuff
reviewed Master and Commander (Aubrey / Maturin, Bk 1) on + 18 more book reviews
Its a good read from the Royal Navy of the Georgian era. A tale of the men who sailed small wooden ships in harms way.
reviewed Master and Commander (Aubrey / Maturin, Bk 1) on + 24 more book reviews
I read the book after I had seen the movie(which I loved) and thought the book was better than the movie. I was hooked and didn't stop until I had read the entire series.
reviewed Master and Commander (Aubrey / Maturin, Bk 1) on + 774 more book reviews
I picked this nautical adventure up after seeing the movie, which I thought was quite entertaining (and had Excellent sea battle scenes). It's the first of a very long series of similar adventures by the author. After reading it, I could see how the series could stretch on - it doesn't really have a tightly crafted plot, but is more of a realistic account of events at sea: "this happened, and then this happened and then we met this ship, and then this battle happened, and then we went somewhere else, and then..." etc.
O'Brian definitely did his research - the life at sea seems believably detailed, and he says that all the battles he describes, etc, are based on actual incidents of the time period.
However, to me, the style of the novel was a bit lacking in, well, romance and adventure. And emotional interaction. Things will happen, but you don't really see them happening, or ever find out about how the people involved felt about it. Some of the incidents are quite, umm, salty. (Including whoring, venereal disease and even bestiality (death penalty for that one!)) But it all happens off-screen as it were, and the reader feels very removed from it.
Perhaps this is why (to be stereotypical) these books have traditionally been more popular with male readers? I don't know.
Glad I read this, but I don't feel the need to seek out the rest of the series.
reviewed Master and Commander (Aubrey / Maturin, Bk 1) on + 61 more book reviews
Historical novel of the Royal Navy set in the eighteenth century. The improbability of reality nearly over rides the fiction.
reviewed Master and Commander (Aubrey / Maturin, Bk 1) on + 112 more book reviews
You'll learn a lot of new words with this yarn. It's pretty good.
reviewed Master and Commander (Aubrey / Maturin, Bk 1) on + 155 more book reviews
Compelling story, old fashioned writing style. Read the Hornblower series or Bolitho series or Biddlecomb series first.

Im on pins and needles writing this review. I dont want to write a crappy review only to discover that the series gets better, but I also dont want to steer you wrong by saying this is a great book when its not. Many people who I respect a lot think that the sun rises and sets on this series, so I do want to read it and find out why. So far with book one, Im unenthusiastic.

Why didnt I like it? There are a lot of reasons. The style of writing makes it hard to read, and the immense level of detail makes it hard to keep reading. The book uses an old style of writing where paragraphs are haphazardly used and its very hard to find the lede. Couple this with technical jargon (about sailing ships and the navy) and historic accuracy, you get a book that is dangerously close to bringing death by boredom. Fortunately, its a compelling story, and I found myself wanting to continue reading, despite all the obstacles that the author put in the way.

So far I have only read this book, which is the first of around 20 in the series. People have asked how it compare to other books in the same time period like Horatio Hornblower (by C.S. Forester)or Richard and Adam Bolitho (by Alexander Kent) or Richard Delancey (by C. Northcote Parkinson) or Isaac Biddlecomb*** (by James L Nelson). I think its far closer to the Richard Delancey series in that it has gotten off to a rough start because its too technical and spends a lot of time on historical detail. As it turns out, the Richard Delancey series became much better with each book, and Im hoping that is the case for this series.
NOTE: all these characters are British with the exception of Biddlecomb who is an American.

I would urge you to start with the Hornblower or Bolitho or Biddlecomb series first as they are more readable.

Triggers: Its a book about naval warfare in the 18th century; the bodies stack up like cordwood. Its all violence, no sex. There is some off camera sex which results in the execution of one man and a goat and a separate act results in an STD to a main character. There is a reason people think that sailors and marines have colorful language, and in this book the language is colorful. (The author does tone some of the language down, its not the worst I have ever read.)

The story telling is good, the characters interesting and I did care about what happened. I just wish it was easier to read. Hopefully the series gets better.

EDIT: Book two is much better
reviewed Master and Commander (Aubrey / Maturin, Bk 1) on + 7 more book reviews
The first of the classic series.
reviewed Master and Commander (Aubrey / Maturin, Bk 1) on + 14 more book reviews
The first in the fabulous series.
reviewed Master and Commander (Aubrey / Maturin, Bk 1) on + 81 more book reviews
Captain Jack Aubrey is ashore on half pay without a command, until Stephen Maturin arrives with secret orders for Aubrey to take a frigate to the Cape of Good Hope under a commodores pennant, there to mount an expedition against the French-held islands of Mauritius and La Réunion. But the difficulties of carrying out his orders are compounded by two of his own captainsLord Clonfert, a pleasure-seeking dilettante, and Captain Corbett, whose severity pushes his crew to the verge of mutiny.
reviewed Master and Commander (Aubrey / Maturin, Bk 1) on
This is a book printed in Great Britian. The first of the Jack Aubrey, Stephen Maturin series.
reviewed Master and Commander (Aubrey / Maturin, Bk 1) on
http://miasbooklist.blogspot.com/2007/09/master-and-commander-patrick-obrian.html
reviewed Master and Commander (Aubrey / Maturin, Bk 1) on + 40 more book reviews
Great book
reviewed Master and Commander (Aubrey / Maturin, Bk 1) on + 25 more book reviews
This, the first in a splendid series of Jack Aubrey novels, establishes the friendship between Capt. Aubrey, Royal Navy, and Stephen Maturin, ship's surgeon and intelligence agent, against the thrilling backdrop of the Napoleonic wars. Details of life aboard a man-of-war in Nelson's navy are faultlessly rendered: the conversational idiom of the offers in the ward room and the men on the lower deck, the food, the floggings, the mysteries of the wind and the rigging, and the roar of broadsides as the great ships close in battle.

"The best historical novels every written." NY Times.