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.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Blue at the Mizzen

Blue at the Mizzen is the twentieth book in Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin series, and the last he completed. The story starts after Waterloo, and the Surprise is off the coast of Africa. Captain Aubrey must resupply, repair, and crew his ship. Though he is still part of the Royal Navy, hoping for a promotion to admiral, he is assigned detached duty taking the Surprise to South America to promote Chile's independence from Spain.

Dr. Maturin has a central role to the story. His advice as a spy and a political advisor help Aubrey navigate the diplomatic waters. On their way down the coast of Africa, Dr. Maturin makes a marriage proposal to a beautiful widow who shares his interest in nature. However, she turns down his offer. Maturin is disappointed but not dejected.

The Surprise faces difficulty navigating Cape Horn but they survive without serious damage. In Chile, they discover that war is imminent between Chile and Peru, and the Chilean navy is woefully unprepared. But Jack leads a daring raid against the Peruvian port and captures the largest Peruvian ship. Before long, Jack gets a message that he is to sail to the coast of South Africa to take command of a squadron.

The plot is slow in developing. A lot of the story is taken up with the lives of the people on the ship, including a young man who is the illegitimate son of a prince who comes aboard as a midshipman. Unfortunately this and Dr. Maturin's intrigues and naturalism aren't quite enough to keep the story interesting. It doesn't get exciting until the sail around Cape Horn, and then the battle with the Peruvians. This book is one of the weaker of the series. B-

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