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.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

The Hundred Days

The Hundred Days is the nineteenth book in Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin series. Jack Aubrey is a commodore in the English navy and is assigned to the Mediterranean when Napoleon escapes from Elba. All of Europe is an an uproar as Napoleon quickly rebuilds his armies and tries to dominate the continent again. Captain Aubrey is commanded to monitor the ports in the Adriatic Sea, find ships being built for the French, and either convert them to English ships or destroy them.

Stephen Maturin, Jack's friend and the ship's surgeon, is mourning the death of his wife in a road accident. The story focuses on him as he is assigned a mission to prevent a large amount of gold being transported from Africa to Europe to assist mercenaries in joining Napoleon's army. Maturin travels into Algeria with a new friend Dr. Amos Jacob. They convince the Dey of Algiers not to transport the gold, but are dismayed when they learn he has been overthrown and a new Dey more friendly toward Napoleon. The ship with the gold tries to sneak through Gibraltar but Jack spies it. A long chase ensues but Jack finally captures the ship and the gold. When Jack and Stephen make it back to the port of Gibraltar, they learn that Napoleon was defeated at Waterloo.

This is a fun installment in the series, but it lacks a bit of suspense and excitement in some of the other volumes. The first half of the book is taken up with small successes as Jack attacks shipbuilding in various ports. There is not much of an overall story form here. Stephen's adventures in Algeria are more interesting, especially when he goes hunting and shoots a lioness. There is real intrigue when Stephen deals with the Dey and his assistants as well as the local English ambassador. The chase at the end is when O'Brian shines, with days of firing guns back and forth and suspenseful changes of the rigging. This book is not my favorite in the series but was still worth the read. B+

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