You Are What You Read

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

My Photo
Location: Lawrenceville, Georgia, United States

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

Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Nutmeg of Consolation

The Nutmeg of Consolation, by Patrick O'Brian, takes up where The Thirteen-Gun Salute left off. Captain Aubrey and his crew are stranded on an island in the South China Sea, with no hope for rescue. They have built a small boat from the lumber of their ship that broke up in a storm. But before they can get off the island they are attacked by native islanders and have to use all their wits to survive.

They take a boat that other islanders arrive with, and sail to Batavia, the nearest port. There, the governor gives them a ship that had been put underwater to get rid of the plague. Jack names the ship the Nutmeg of Consolation, after one of the titles of the sultan in the previous book. They take the Nutmeg out in an attempt to trick the Cornélie, the French ship also in the same waters, into an advantageous battle. They end up overwhelmed and the Cornélie gives a long chase. Just as the Cornélie is about to catch up with the Nutmeg, they spy the Surprise, commanded by Tom Pullings. The Surprise captures the Cornélie's crew after the Cornélie starts sinking.

Jack Aubrey takes over the Surprise and sends Pullings away with the Nutmeg and the prizes he has captured. They then head for Sydney in New South Wales. There they resupply, try to connect with former shipmates, and Dr. Maturin gets in a swordfight. Jack has to throw his weight around as an MP in order to get a response from the local officials. Everybody is appalled at the condition of the people living there.

Dr. Maturin and Reverend Martin visit a friend at his cousin's house. They travel around the countryside to see the local fauna, especially a platypus. Dr. Maturin wants to bring his former assistant Padeen, but Jack insists he has had enough trouble with the local authorities and refuses to allow any escapees. Finally at the end, Dr. Maturin discovers he is a father (when a sailor congratulates him on the news), gets stung by a platypus, and finds himself back on the ship with Padeen after all.

I enjoyed this book more than the previous book. There was more sea action, especially the exciting chase. Having a ship sail after you and take potshots always makes for good suspense. The story starts off with a bang with the fight on the island. As usual we get to see a lot of interaction between Jack and Stephen, and the conversations both on board and on shore are interesting. They were able to connect with Pullings and the Surprise, which had been a loose end. We get to see Stephen try his best to help his friend get out of the prison colony and also enjoy being a naturalist. It's a good installment in the series. B+


Post a Comment

<< Home