Sonderbooks Book Reviews by Sondra Eklund

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I don't review books I don't like!

*****= An all-time favorite
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**Master and Commander

by Patrick O'Brian

Reviewed January 20, 2004.
W. W. Norton, New York, 1990.  First published in 1970.
Available at Ramstein Library (F OBR).

Here’s a story of naval warfare during the Napoleonic Wars.  Captain Jack Aubrey has just been given command of his first ship.  He meets the doctor Stephen Maturin and takes him on as his ship’s physician.  We hear of Captain Aubrey’s adventures escorting merchant ships and seeking prizes (captured enemy ships).

This book was a gift from my sister Becky, and I read it now so I could go see the movie (though I haven’t made it to the movie yet).  I was surprised to not be crazy about the book—usually I love anything my sister recommends.  Perhaps if I read further books in the series, I’ll get more involved in the story.  As it was, I found the naval terms rather overwhelming, and the book didn’t have a strong plot keeping it moving.  Patrick O’Brian portrays Captain Aubrey in all the political incorrectness and greed of his time, making him difficult to admire much, though the doctor and landsman Stephen Maturin is a character anyone can like.

This book would be better for someone very interested in the Napoleonic Wars and naval history.  Those who enjoy the movie may want to read this series to get more details and background.

Copyright © 2005 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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