You Are What You Read

Reviews of books as I read them. This is basically a (web)log of books I've read.

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Location: Lawrenceville, Georgia, United States

I am a DBA/database analyst by day, full time father on evenings and weekends.

Friday, June 22, 2007

The Ionian Mission

The Ionian Mission is the eighth installment in Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin series. Captain Aubrey is assigned to the Worcester and sent on blockade duty near Toulon. He serves under Admiral Thornton and Admiral Harte, the man who he cuckolded years earlier.

The admirals send him on a mission in to a neutral port. He encounters a pair of French ships there, but despite sailing through the port with all his guns run out, the French do not break the neutral peace, so he is forced to leave port without a fight, which leaves some of his men believing him a coward.

After a pursuit of the French fleet which ends up fruitless, Aubrey is given command of the HMS Surprise while the Worcester, which was falling apart, is refitted. Jack is overjoyed to have command of one of his favorite ships again.

Meanwhile, Stephen Maturin has encountered a friend, Professor Graham, an expert on the Turks, while on shore. Aubrey and the Surprise are sent to the Turkish coast, and Jack is ordered to give a boatfull of cannons to the Turkish leader who can join the attack on the French. Aubrey has to maneuver the delicate politics of the Turkish coast. He manages to capture the ship of one of the Turkish leaders who captured the ship with the cannons for himself, defeating two ships in the final battle.

The story has a good balance of quiet and tension. The sailing through the neutral harbor is very tense, even though no shot is fired. The blockade has Jack bored, but there is still a lot going on in the fleet. The situation in Turkey is complicated, and Jack is not sure that he can make the correct decision. In fact, he makes some wrong turns, but things turn out in the end.

The book is an A. The excitement and challenges of the sea run through the story. It is a pleasure to see Captain Aubrey and Dr. Maturin again.


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