Post Captain by Patrick O'BrianPost Captain by Patrick O'Brian

Post Captain

byPatrick O'Brian

Paperback | January 8, 1990

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In 1803 Napolean smashes the Peace of Amiens, and Captain Jack Abbrey, RN, taking refuge in France from his creditors, is interned. He escapes from France, from debtor's prison, from a possible mutiny, and pursues his quarry straight into the mouth of a French-held harbor. Stephen Maturin's struggles, with himself as much as with a proud and intelligent woman, are woven into Aubrey's straining their friendship at times to the breaking point.
Patrick O'Brian is the author of twenty volumes in the highly respected Aubrey/Maturin series of novels.
Title:Post CaptainFormat:PaperbackDimensions:496 pages, 8.4 × 5.48 × 0.99 inPublished:January 8, 1990Publisher:W.W. Norton & CompanyLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0393307069

ISBN - 13:9780393307061


Rated 5 out of 5 by from The True Beginning Post Captain makes me wonder if Patrick O'Brian originally intended Master and Commander as a one off. Master and Commander is a great book, and our introduction to Captain Jack Aubrey and Doctor Stephen Maturin is a great hook, but it can stand alone as a simple Naval adventure without any need for additional information about the men and women confined by its pages. This could, of course, simply be a result of its place as the first book in the series -- a series which stretches just a little over twenty books -- but there is little if any building for the future in Master and Commander, making it more in conception like O'Brian's The Catalans than the Aubrey-Maturin series. But all of that "future building," all of that stuff needed to sustain a tale over twenty books is present in Post Captain. Many, though not all, of the characters that will become important to Jack and Stephen make their first appearance here: Mrs. Williams and her daughter, Sophia (Sophie when she becomes Jack's wife), their cousin Diana Villiers and Sir Joseph Blaine. The relationships with these people will continue to define Aubrey and Maturin until the end of their adventures, and it will define their friendship with one another. We see the return of such stalwarts as Preserved Killick, William Babbington, Heneage Dundas, Barret Bonden, Joe Plaice, and Thomas Pullings -- and their stories are lovingly broadened and deepened, as though O'Brian is now committed to them for a long voyage. There is also the solidification of Aubrey's friendship with Maturin; they suffer the first and most dangerous test of their love for one another -- a test that brings them even closer to a fatal duel than their first meeting at the Governor's mansion in Port Mahon. We are introduced to Jack's ill luck with money, his penchant for saving drowning shipmates, his inveterate randiness, his father's big mouth (which causes no end of trouble for Jack) and his skill as a Captain and seaman; we are introduced to Stephen's work as an intelligence agent, his deadliness with a sword and pistol, his ideals, his hand in Jack's success, and his tendency to obsess over the unattainable. And all of these deliver plenty of foreshadowing of the challenges our heroes will face during their adventures at sea. Moreover, O'Brian delivers his first statement that the remaining Aubrey-Maturin books will be more than they first appeared; they will also be testosterone driven Regency romances -- Boy's Own Austen, if you will. Much has been made of O'Brian's debt to Jane Austen, and that debt is obvious in Post Captain. At least half of this book takes place on land, and most of that time is spent with Aubrey and Maturin chasing the women who will be their wives. While not all of the Aubrey-Maturin novels spend so much time on land, the concerns of their private lives, whether through epistles or genuine time spent in England, will never lose their importance. All of this suggests to me that Post Captain was the moment when O'Brian really knew this series was special. This was the moment it became his life's work. And it may very well be the best book in the series (although I've no doubt I'll say that again about another chapter). How amazing must it have been to be O'Brian the day he wrote the last page of Post Captain, scribbling that toast to Sophia? I wish that had been me.
Date published: 2009-12-18