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.

Monday, September 12, 2011

21 and the Aubrey/Maturin series

21 is the final, unfinished novel in Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin naval series. The book itself is only a few chapters long and deals with Captain Aubrey's arrival at the east coast of South America to assume command of his flotilla. The story ends abruptly while Aubrey is reuniting with his family. There's no good sense of where the story was heading, so I will comment on the series as a whole.

What I remember most about the series are the great settings and the great dialogue. O'Brian did a great job creating a real sense of early 19th century sailing life. The naval terminology is an important part of it. We can see the life of the common sailor as well as the lords and officers. The dialogue is fantastic, for all the characters. It is enjoyable to hear the dialogue especially when it is read by Patrick Tull, the narrator for the audiobooks

I think the central nexus of the stories is the relationship between Captain Aubrey and his friend Stephen Maturin. Aubrey is the man of action, the Captain Kirk of the stories. Dr. Maturin is the cool naturalist (and when the plot needs it, the intelligence agent), the logical Mr. Spock. The interplay between the two men is one of the drivers of the plots, but it is also fun by itself.

The most exciting scenes are the action scenes, especially the chase scenes. The naval battles are exciting with all the firepower of the ships, and Aubrey's cunning. The chases are suspenseful as the reader anticipates each ship's next move, the suspense keeps building, and we wait for the final outcome. There were some less exciting installments in the series, but overal it is one of the best out there. I'd give the series an A-.

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