Read Clarissa Oakes - Folio Society Edition by Patrick O'Brian Online

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Pullings held up the lantern and said in a neutral voice, ‘It is a young woman I believe, sir.’After a stay in New South Wales, which the crew found more harrowing than a fleet action, the Surprise has set her course for Easter Island. On board ship are two escaped convicts: Padeen, Stephen’s Irish servant, and a very unusual young woman – Clarissa Oakes. Her presence putsPullings held up the lantern and said in a neutral voice, ‘It is a young woman I believe, sir.’After a stay in New South Wales, which the crew found more harrowing than a fleet action, the Surprise has set her course for Easter Island. On board ship are two escaped convicts: Padeen, Stephen’s Irish servant, and a very unusual young woman – Clarissa Oakes. Her presence puts Jack in an awkward position, and his long-held disapproval of women on board (troublesome, unlucky creatures, capable of using fresh water to wash their clothes) is proved well founded when rivalry for her favours causes intense ill-feeling between the officers. Clarissa herself holds the clue to a problem that has obsessed Stephen for several years – the identity of a highly placed traitor. Yet eager as he is to use this information, first the Surprise must intervene in a war on the island of Moahu.A broad selection of prints, sketches and paintings have been selected to illustrate this book, many of them sourced from libraries in Australia and New Zealand and showing not only the near-at-hand Norfolk Island, but also the Sandwich and Friendly Islands, with scenes of early contact between French or English ships and indigenous peoples....

Title : Clarissa Oakes - Folio Society Edition
Author :
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ISBN : 16153931
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 256 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Clarissa Oakes - Folio Society Edition Reviews

  • Darwin8u
    2019-03-04 05:56

    “I am in favour of leaving people alone, however imperfect their polity may seem. It appears to me that you must not tell other nations how to set their house in order; nor must you compel them to be happy.”- Patrick O'Brian, the TrueloveWhen originally published, O'Brian's 15th installment in his Aubrey-Maturin series was originally titled Clarissa Oakes. I'm not sure why the title was changed, but perhaps it is because the focus of this novel is less about Clarissa (Harvill) Oakes (the convict stowaway from New South Wales who marries Oakes, one of Captain Aubrey's Midshipman) than the events that surround her introduction onto the Surprise. Clarissa on the Surprise allows O'Brian to wax on a bit about sexual mores in the Navy and in England in the early 19th century. She also carries forward the series plot a bit.It isn't the most exciting book in the series, but it is fascinating to watch the discipline aboard the Surprise deteriorate and Captain Aubrey's efforts to regain control. It is also provides O'Brian the space, with the introduction of Clarissa Oakes, to discuss sex (both gender and the act) in the early 19th century.

  • Jamie Collins
    2019-03-22 11:37

    This entry in the Aubrey-Maturin series (which is essentially one very long novel) is mostly a character study as the officers of the Surprise cope with the presence on board of a desirable and not completely inaccessible young woman, surreptitiously rescued from the penal colony at New South Wales and possessing an enigmatic past.Some of my favorite scenes in these books are the dinner parties at sea: the obsessive polishing of silver (Killick's joy); the donning of formal dress no matter how great the heat; the host's anxiety over the variable quality of the food; the feat of timing the courses ("Sir, cook says if we don't eat our swordfish steaks this selfsame minute he will hang himself"); the prepared anecdotes to prevent a dreaded silence from falling over the table; the vast quantities of alcohol consumed ("The bottle stands by you, sir").ETA 2014 after my third pass, listening to the audiobook this time:Clarissa Oakes reminds me of one of my college roommates, who slept with several members of a single fraternity and then was bewildered to find that none of them liked or esteemed her. While I can understand that Clarissa herself would be immune to jealousy and indifferent to sex, it’s harder to believe she would be so ignorant of the more typical reactions.

  • Ron
    2019-03-10 09:47

    All but the most dedicated Aubrey-Maturin will want to skip this one. A lot of running in place--or, rather, dog paddling--with very little forward motion. It's as if the series became becalmed in the South Pacific. It's fun to read only if it isn't the same stuff we've read in the last fourteen novels.For example, instead of peppering back story review over the first few chapters, O'Brian dumps twelve--no twenty--pages of narrative on us in the opening scene of the book, semi-disguised as Aubrey's musings over the taffrail of Surprise. Not a single ship-to-ship engagement, and the land battle is "off scene".Read the summary in Wikipedia and get on with your life.

  • Robert
    2019-03-11 08:59

    I've mentioned before that a series of naval tales stuck in a perpetual 1812 and following the exploits of two individuals that is staggering on past double figures in terms of volumes must run in to problems of repetition and consequently risk dullness. THIS REVIEW HAS BEEN CURTAILED IN PROTEST AT GOODREADS' CENSORSHIP POLICYSee the complete review here:http://arbieroo.booklikes.com/post/33...

  • Mark
    2019-03-19 08:34

    I’ve been rereading Patrick O’Brien’s novels in the last few months and a few novels ago (I think it happens around number 12 or 13 in the Aubrey Maturin series) I reached the point at which “novel” stopped actually being a reasonable description of the books. I really enjoy these books, so don’t get the impression that I’m putting them down when I say this. It’s simply that all pretense of being individual, novel length, plots is, by the point, firmly abandoned. The book starts where the previous one left off, and ends where the succeeding one begins (roughly). Actually the whole effect is charming – something like reading a really, really long novel or watching a television series. Aside from this I’m not sure what exactly to say about it – the normal odd features that are in most of these books are here as well. Patrick O’Brien has an odd aversion to significant plot events, which is not to say that they don’t *happen* (the books aren’t boring), but that as often as not they happen either as quickly as possible or, often, while the narrative is off somewhere else. For example, the battle at the end of the novel, ostensibly the point of the mission that Cpt Aubrey is on, is described from the perspective of someone half a mile away, and in the space of, roughly, a paragraph. (It sounds like a brief succession of bangs.)* The details are filled in by what all the characters have to say to each other, later on. Once you get used to this feature it can be perfectly reasonable – though I admit the first time I read some of the earlier novels he wrote I was left entirely in the dark about what had happened (this is a mild example – sometimes the narrative simply jumps forward a few days to the aftermath of whatever-it-is). *Seriously – here it is. “He” is Stephen Maturin, the doctor, who is sitting at the medical outpost waiting for what casualties might show up, and trying not to imagine the battle.“In his harsh unmusical voice he chanted plainsong, which had a better covering effect: he had reached a Benedictus in the Dorian mode and he was straining for a high qui venit when the clear sharp voice of gunfire – carronade-fire – cut him short. Four almost at once, it seemed to him, and then two; but the echoes confused everything. Then four quick hammer-strokes again. The silence.Padeen and he stood staring up at the mountain. They could make out a vague roaring, but nothing more; and the birds that had started from the trees below all settled again. Perhaps battle had been joined: perhaps the carronades had been overrun.Time passed, though less slowly now, and presently steps could be heard on the path. A young long-legged man raced down past them, a messenger of good news, his whole face alive with joy. He shouted something as he passed: victory, no doubt at all.”

  • Renee M
    2019-02-21 07:38

    The one with Clarissa Oakes and the Polynesian Queen. I'm still deciding what I think about the deeply pragmatic Clarissa Oakes, which is somewhat surprising given her pronounced position aboard Jack's ship and in a large portion of the story. I am hoping that there will be some closure in the next installment of the series.

  • Judith Johnson
    2019-02-28 08:43

    As always, I love reading the further adventures of Jack, Stephen, Killick, Bonden,Pullings etc, but like Captain Roddy, I'll give this one 4 and a half stars - not quite as thrilling as some. Now I am with child to find out what's happening back at the ranch with Diana, but I'll have to wait - only 5 books left, and I'll have to eke them out! (though there's always re-reading. I'm not a habitual re-reader, but I have read these books several times, and no doubt, should I reach old age, I shall do so again!).Reader, if you've not read these wonderful books, I wish you joy of them!

  • John Jr.
    2019-03-14 08:49

    This volume in Patrick O’Brian’s series of historical novels may seem at first to be a study of the influence of a woman’s presence on a sailing ship full of men. It is that, but it proves to be more.Relatively early, Clarissa Harvill is found to have been smuggled aboard when the ship was in Sydney, thus violating Captain Aubrey’s well-known prohibition against women; what’s more, she’s an escaped convict from the British penal colony there (not a pretty place as depicted by O’Brian). So there’s a mystery about her past as well as a question about her present and future: what did she do back in England to get transported, and what will Aubrey do with her and the sailor who brought her aboard? The situation is complicated by many things; on the one hand, Aubrey has made an exception to his rule before (and will do so later in the series), while on the other, Clarissa’s presence becomes disruptive.Suffice it to say that she proves to be another of O’Brian’s many well-developed supporting characters. She’s central not only to this novel, whose plot mainly concerns the pursuit of a French frigate and the forging of a new diplomatic alliance near the Hawaiian islands, but also to a longer thread running through other tales in the series. Clarissa’s developing friendship with Maturin, the ship’s doctor, may conform to the conventional use of doctors in narratives, as a confidant, but it goes far beyond convention.

  • Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.)
    2019-03-24 10:32

    Following on the heels of the "five-star" "The Nutmeg of Consolation," I am giving this, the 15th volume in the Aubrey-Maturin series, a solid 4.5 stars. This 'chapter' of the canon continues the voyage of HMS Surprise in the Pacific Ocean following her departure from New South Wales, Australia. We meet the beautiful and mysterious Clarissa Harvill, and become aware of the influence and affects that her presence aboard the ship have on her crew. Miss Harvill helps Stephen Maturin clear up a mystery that has played such an important role in the preceding four or five volumes too. Finally, the reader accompanies Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin as they visit the Hawaiian Islands to deal with French and American intrigues. A wonderful, erudite, and eminently readable addition from the pen of Patrick O'Brian.

  • Susan
    2019-03-21 11:00

    This book kept me interested but all in all I'm afraid that not much really happened in the story. This book is different from others in the cannon I've read so far in that there is a woman on board ship. While this was a new element to introduce, I really couldn't get a grasp on why she was the 'main' character of the story (one edition - don't know if it was American or British - called this book the Clarissa Oakes). Through it all, I got to see the continuing good relationship between Jack and Stephen which is always a treat. And noticed some dialogue and situations were incorporated into the Master & Commander movie.Once again, any time spent with Jack and Stephen is never time wasted, IMHO. Love those guys!

  • Ben
    2019-03-11 12:53

    Patrick O’Brian continues the brilliant career of Captain Jack Aubrey and Steven Maturin in The Truelove (Clarissa Oaks in the United Kingdom). Minor Spoilers Below. Some of the Plot:The book begins with the HMHV Surprise on its way back to England after the completion of the mission it set out on in The Thirteen-Gun Salute and The Nutmeg of Consolation. Jack is unhappy the crew managed to sneak a convicted felon and former crewmate, Padeen Colman, aboard during the ship’s visit to New South Wales. Unbeknownst to Jack, Midshipman Oaks also has hidden away a young woman and escaped convict named Clarissa Harvill. Jack discovers her and threatens to maroon both Clarissa and her lover but thinks better of it and when Midshipman Oaks marries Clarissa under the authority of Parson Martin.Jack spots a cutter named the Éclair pursuing the Surprise from New South Wales and, believing the cutter is seeking to reclaim escaped prisoners, he seeks to evade it. Unable to do escape, he finds that the cutter instead has new orders for him. He is to proceed to one of the Sandwich Islands where he is to assist one of two Polynesian factions contending for control of the island of Moahu. The Surprise embarks on this mission and finds itself again in the throes of the machinations of the Napoleonic French, but this time in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.In the meantime, harmony aboard the Surprise begins to fall apart as Clarissa Oaks carries on liaisons with several of the crew’s officers. As the Surprise nears the island of Moahu and prepares to engage French privateer captained by a fanatic utopian captain, it faces its greatest danger not from without, but from within.Recommendation: While I cannot recommend this book for newcomers to the Aubrey-Maturin series, anyone who has enjoyed its previous 14 entries should enjoy this one. In particular, O’Brian finds a clever mechanism for disrupting his typical storytelling in the person of Clarissa Oaks. By the end of the book, I could tell why Captain Aubrey has rules against women on the ship: her liaisons almost destroy the Surprise’s ability to function. On the other hand, Clarissa herself is an engaging character who earns readers’ sympathy quickly. Her morals may be suspect even in the 21st century, but her background makes her nonchalant attitudes about sex and intimacy understandable, if not commendable. For a dose of O’Brian’s classic sea-faring style mixed with a fascinating female character, fans of the Aubrey-Maturin series cannot go wrong with The Truelove.

  • Randy
    2019-03-04 10:48

    I'm on my third time through the multi-book Patrick O'Brian series about the friendship of a Royal Navy captain (Jack Aubrey) and his ship's surgeon/intelligence agent (Stephen Maturin).If I have to choose one set of books to keep, this is the one. I'm pretty certain I will read them many more times if I live so long. The Truelove is special because of the female character Clarissa Oakes. The nineteenth century Royal Navy was a man's world and most of the yarns involve men. But O'Brian also develops great female characters when the opportunity arises. In this case, Clarissa Oakes who was shipped off to Botany Bay for murder and is snuck aboard the Surprise, Aubrey's frigate, by her midshipman husband. Clarissa is what one might call a sexual philanthropist and her donations to various crewmen in addition to her husband create turmoil among the various factions of the crew. Stephen smokes out her story over the course of this cruise. Jack is slow to get why morale has sunk so low. But when he figures out what is going on we get to see his management style in action as he whips his men back into shape. Aubrey is one of the great characters in fiction: naive and inept on land; a master of his domain at sea. Maturin is a complex character who is a top notch physician and surgeon, whose powers to heal are held in great esteem by the crew and whose inability to learn the essentials of sailing and seamanship after many years at sea cause Aubrey great amusement and sometimes distress. This chapter of O'Brian's epic ends on a South Sea Island where we are introduced briefly to another strong female character—a Polynesian queen. When Jack leads her warriors in an overwhelming land action against her enemy and French mercenaries, he is treated to a lavish feast and a handsome reward.

  • Nente
    2019-03-08 05:34

    This book is perhaps the point where the series starts going downhill. Sure, the installments started running into each other way earlier: the last book that can be read on its own is perhaps The Fortune of War. But we enjoyed that, didn't we, dear fellow readers? Why shouldn't a good book be endless, or seemingly endless? - so are the periods of sweet sailing, repeatedly described by O'Brian as taken out of time, self-sufficient and fulfilling.However, while this book is perhaps as rich in tension as many of the earlier ones, I found both the set-up and the resolution almost incoherent. Maybe the problem is my failure to understand the titular Clarissa? She seems to me very nearly sociopathic, and childhood abuse isn't actually a trump card that would explain anything and everything. (view spoiler)[Okay, she doesn't like sex though doesn't mind it; but surely she did know what marriage was, and that by default it entailed sexual fidelity to her husband? At one point she talks to Stephen about it, questioning the social norms, so she did know enough to be able to discuss it. And there she is, actually surprised that her husband resents her promiscuity, her other lovers fight, and the bystanders dislike her. And all she wants is to be liked. Oh-kay. (hide spoiler)] In any case, I don't find her character realistic the way it's written, and as the whole plot turns on her, there's nothing for it but label this just OK.

  • Christopher Taylor
    2019-02-28 10:37

    I recently have read this book for the second time, as I am revisiting the Aubrey-Maturin sea novels. Each time I open one of these books, it is like coming home to a warm comfortable chair; welcoming and relaxing.Truelove is a single voyage, covering a trip along the Pacific Ocean from Australia to Hawaii, and this single narrative moves long with the same continuous pace with a few gentle pauses and frantic moments as a sailing ship would through the ocean. O'Brian's writing style is less about the typical arc of fiction or literature than a sense of a diary, with connected but natural events taking place in a natural flow rather than a forced four-point arc of systematic storytelling.The presence of a beautiful woman stowed away aboard the Surprise causes some troubles as she tries to flee the rather sordid and corrupt Australian colonies at the time. As the story progresses, a significant intelligence coup is uncovered and the ship makes its way to Hawaii to establish England's dominance over an island the Americans and French are trying to control.Overall this is a lesser book in the series, which is like saying a less tasty slice of bacon - excellent literature and wonderful reading, but not as mangnificent as some of the series. Because the characters and world is so established, there are few true surprises and revelations left for the reader, but The Truelove (Nutmeg of Consolation in some versions) is still a pleasing, engaging, and wonderfully written work.

  • Richard Burke
    2019-03-20 10:48

    Series Overview.I fell in love with the series from the opening scene of Master and Commander, and went on to read all 20 Aubrey-Maturin novels. The characters of Jack Aubrey and Dr. Stephen Maturin were initialized in that opening scene, and grew through the entire series. This is the best historical fiction I have read. In the series, I learned about British, French, Dutch, and Spanish naval operations during the Napoleonic wars. I also first learned of Napoleon's command and espionage structure and methods. Moreover, I gained insight into the structure of English society and government at all social levels. But, most importantly, I came to feel like the silent man in the gun room, on the fantail, aboard the boats carrying a tactical detachment of Marines and sailors ashore, in Aubrey's parlor with his family around me...and shared both angst and joy with Aubrey and Maturin, their families, and the crewmen. This series is well researched and written, fast paced, complex, and thoroughly absorbing. I read the first dozen or so back-to-back, and endured withdrawal pains while awaiting each subsequent book in the series to be released. The writing quality was maintained through all twenty novels, and the story builds sequentially--so it's best to start at the beginning. Rare for any fiction, I still feel I'm at sea aboard HMS Surprise after reading the 20th novel some dozen years ago.

  • Karla
    2019-02-27 07:00

    The last couple books in the Aubrey/Maturin series hadn't had the same pizzaz as the earlier ones, but this one recaptured the old magic - and in a surprising direction.O'Brian doesn't often have female characters in a large role, but he pulled it off well here with the character of Clarissa Oakes, a prostitute convicted for murder and sent to New South Wales. She is smuggled aboard by one of the officers and the discovery of her presence forces a marriage. Even in her new married state, sexual tensions run absolute riot aboard ship and her attitude towards sex (created by abuse in her past) doesn't help matters. She was a very sympathetic character and her long scenes with Stephen were among my most favorite parts of the book.It's definitely the most psychological and character-oriented book in the series so far, and a nice change of pace from the usual O'Brian formula of ships chasing each other across oceans and sometimes engaging in combat, and Stephen up to his usual spy stuff.

  • John Condliffe
    2019-03-21 10:49

    Finished the series, 21 books in all . I must say they were really good especially the first ten after that they got a bit repetitive. There is only so much you can take of Maturin describing some exotic animal or a description of how guns are fired. I think he repeated the formula to often. But having said that Patrick O' Brien is a brilliant writer of scenes and battle. Very crisp and informative at the same time. His mastery of history and detail is superb. I loved reading this series.

  • Deanne
    2019-02-23 06:38

    Most of the series are about men, but it is about sailors in the 1800's, were women on board but not often.Clarissa Oakes isn't your normal female from the 1800's, but she's not had an easy time of it. O'Brian uses the introduction of a female character to add some tension to the story.

  • Wealhtheow
    2019-03-23 06:30

    Stephen and Captain Aubrey continue their adventures on the high seas. This book is, like all the rest, full of beautifully understated but rich character moments.

  • Paul
    2019-03-13 06:59

    Interesting details on sailing ships. Odd focus on a female stowaway.

  • Conrad Keely
    2019-03-12 12:56

    I prefer "Clarissa Oakes" for the title. She is a character worthy of a title.

  • Gilly McGillicuddy
    2019-02-27 07:50

    What I wrote in my LJ when I was reading this book:I'll talk about the first fifty pages of "Clarissa Oakes". It starts naturally with the inevitable recap of the events of the last book(s). Yes, yes, Australia is horrible, we have girls on board, Jack is jealous and Stephen got bitten. We know. Let's move on, please.But Jack doesn't really want to move on. He's feeling mopy and just generally complains about everything. Most of the recapping is just Jack trying to figure out what's making him mopy, and still not figuring it out. It might be that he hasn't had any in .. AGES. A girl blew him off in Australia (not in the good way) and he's still angsting about it. He cannot be losing his mojo! Say it isn't so!Of course to make matters a bit worse Stephen starts going on about how old Jack is getting and how ugly and how his hair is turning grey. Poor Jack. But it does trigger my first favourite line:"My hair is not grey. It is a very becoming buttercup yellow."Bless you, Jack, you're too adorable for words. Buttercup yellow! Very becoming! Oh, heart, stop going pitty-pat. Stop it, heart. And then later:"Will I tell you something more cheerful?" asked Stephen."Please do," said Jack, looking up from his queue with that singularly sweet smile Stephen had known from their earliest acquaintance.That... just... couldn't you just imagine it? Apparently Jack's got a soft spot for Reade, too. Well, I can't blame him. Everyone does. I do! It's still cute.But not now. Because now Jack is still mopy, and it doesn't help that the entire ship has an in-joke that he's left out of. Poor Jack.So he announces muster at five bells. Everyone's still sniggering and whatnot. Jack's not amused. He passes by the sickberth, Stephen complains that the Surprise still smells of rotting French corpses, Jack shakes his head at Pullings.So they get to the cable tier. Like cable tiers weren't already irrevocably linked to absconded women, he had to go find another one. A Ms. Clarissa something. She's dressed as a boy, so that throws Jack off for a bit.I'll talk about the first fifty pages of "Clarissa Oakes". It starts naturally with the inevitable recap of the events of the last book(s). Yes, yes, Australia is horrible, we have girls on board, Jack is jealous and Stephen got bitten. We know. Let's move on, please.But Jack doesn't really want to move on. He's feeling mopey and just generally complains about everything. Most of the recapping is just Jack trying to figure out what's making him mopey, and still not figuring it out. It might be that he hasn't had any in .. AGES. A girl blew him off in Australia and he's still angsting about it. He cannot be losing his mojo! Say it isn't so!Of course to make matters a bit worse Stephen starts going on about how old Jack is getting and how ugly and how his hair is turning grey. Poor Jack. But it does trigger my first favourite line:"My hair is not grey. It is a very becoming buttercup yellow."Bless you, Jack, you're too adorable for words. Buttercup yellow! Very becoming! Oh, heart, stop going pitty-pat. Stop it, heart. And then later:"Will I tell you something more cheerful?" asked Stephen."Please do," said Jack, looking up from his queue with that singularly sweet smile Stephen had known from their earliest acquaintance.That... just... couldn't you just imagine it? Apparantly Jack's got a soft spot for Reade, too. Well, I can't blame him. Everyone does. I do! It's still cute.But not now. Because now Jack is still mopey, and it doesn't help that the entire ship has an in-joke that he's left out of. Poor Jack.So he announces muster at five bells. Everyone's still sniggering and whatnot. Jack's not amused. He passes by the sickberth, Stephen complains that the Surprise still smells of rotting French corpses, Jack shakes his head at Pullings.So they get to the cable tier. Like cable tiers weren't already irrevocably linked to absconced women, he had to go find another one. A Ms. Clarissa something. She's dressed as a boy, so that throws Jack off for a bit.Lala, Jack's angry at Oakes (the mid who hid the girl), but allows for them to marry and make Clarissa a free woman. He even sacrifices the red silk he bought for Sophie to make her a wedding dress and do it properly.Interestingly Martin seems to prefer the girl when she's dressed in a midshipman's uniform. "She was still wearing the clothes she had come aboard in, and I must say that although she looked very well as a bride, she looked far better as a boy. Her slight but not unattractive form gave me if not an understanding of paederasty then something not unlike it."Even Martin. I swear no one's safe from the slash machine that is Patrick O'Brian.I found the little moment between Jack and Bonden quite interesting, though. See, Jack was thinking about dropping the two lovebirds on some island.The actual text goes:'Bonden, take the jolly-boat into the bay between the cape and the small island with the trees on it and see whether it is possible to land through the surf.''Aye aye, sir.''You had better pull in, but you may sail back.''Aye aye, sir: pull in and sail back it is.'What I read was:'Go to the island. Pretend to look for a landing place - make a good show of it, I don't want to look like an idiot - and come back empty handed. Or possibly more specific:If the general desire of the crew is to have them stay then you may return to the ship and claim to have found nothing.Of course Bonden did come back empty-handed even though even Martin could see there were plenty of perfectly good landing places. Also, Martin is starting to annoy Stephen... and Stephen is quite good at a certain kind of jig. Hee. Somehow a dancing Stephen just refuses to register in my mind._____You know? Pausing with the Aubreyad for a while is doing wonders to make me appreciate all the things I've read so far instead of rushing on ahead.Thought of the day:Pullings's seating arrangement angst. He's ALWAYS so delightfully anxious whenever he has to preside over a gunroom dinner. The poor man must have eaten himself up with worry with the Oakses and West and Davidge and omg wee Reade. I'm imagining this unending flow of inner monologue.Oh God I hope this will go well I don't even have a fucking clue who I'm going to seat where I should put West and Dav together but they'll fucking maul each other if I do and oh no now I'm swearing again I hope I won't in front of the captain and won't that be the nicest clue that things are this close to falling apart is that dinner I smell that's got to be too early they're making it too early there's still so much to do before dinner starts what if they burn it or what if it's cold oh lord I hope the pudding will turn out decent this time I think I'll seat Clarissa between myself and Oakes dear God Tom what the hell are you thinking do you want to get mauled yourself argh fuck fu I mean christ I hope it won't go too badly at least martin and stephen will be able to keep up a conversation on their end of the table though hasn't Martin been acting a bit odd lately I hope the doctor doesn't start talking about his dissections again now I know I smell dinner that can't be good I'm missing a knife I'm missing a knife what kind of a first lieutenant can't even throw a simple dinner party god and I want to have a ship of my own maybe captain Aubrey will tell me how he manages the stress stress stress stress stress stress stress stress stress stressHee, I like him.

  • Andreas Schmidt
    2019-03-20 11:41

    Il meno utile dell'intera collana...Questo romanzo è il più corto dell'intera collana e mi sembra il meno coerente di quelli letti finora. Appare Clarissa che fa innamorare l'allievo ufficiale forse più idiota della nave, appaiono apparenti problemi in famiglia per i protagonisti, appare il gatto a nove code e un espediente messo lì soltanto per dare un senso compiuto al romanzo che in realtà non avrebbe, l'isola polinesiana spaccata in due da una guerra civile. Con il solito stile e con il solito tono, la storia è pressappoco questa: appare una donna a bordo caricata come clandestina, Oakes se ne innamora e la sposa (cosa appena appena verosimile, visto che è una deportata). Molto poco verosimilmente l'equipaggio si spacca in fazioni. Non lo trovo verosimile giacché è un equipaggio a dir poco leggendario. Benché stupidi come la latrina di bordo, in genere i marinai che hanno servito per anni sotto Aubrey lo conoscono. Sanno quali siano le sue regole. Sanno che non usa il gatto a nove code se non strettamente necessario. L'autore per una intera collana di romanzi ha costruito l'immagine dell'equipaggio della surprise come un equipaggio che capisce quando non si deve passare il segno. Pertanto mi pare ridicolo che appena sale a bordo una clandestina che non è una Elena di Troia, l'intero equipaggio si divida in fazioni, che rischiano di portare addirittura all'ammutinamento. Posso capire il divertimento dell'autore, secondo il quale gli uomini possono perdere la testa per una donna qualunque, ma così è eccessivo. Il resto è messo lì soltanto per dare uno scopo: si dirigono verso la solita isola, combattono come al solito e come al solito vincono, prendono la solita preda e vissero tutti sbronzi e contenti. E mi sembra anche improbabile che appunto per una Clarissa Oakes, che comunque non è come dico sopra, Elena di Troia, un equipaggio che sa manovrare la Surprise al meglio delle capacità, sbagli deliberatamente manovre per malumore e peggio ancora raggiunga l'insubordinazione. L'autore ha calcato la mano sulla "clandestina" ed è del tutto fuori contesto, persino con le punizioni del gatto a nove code (che non si è praticamente mai visto negli altri romanzi).

  • Jonathan Walker
    2019-02-21 05:50

    One of the best in the series, because it has a clear plot, and this plot is all the more effective because it concerns psychological conflict rather than open warfare. The catalyst is the introduction of an outsider into an all-male, celibate community: the titular Clarissa Oakes. She affects the whole ship's community, causing deep divisions and conflicts between the officers, for reasons that are initially unclear to us (and remain unclear to Clarissa, until Stephen explains to her). The story unfolds as a kind of mystery, which first Jack (with regard to her presence) and then Stephen (with regard to the effect she has on the ship's company) need to solve. And when the solution finally comes, in the form of a revelation about her background, it has an Aristotelian economy: it is surprising, but it makes perfect sense. The long monologue by Clarissa to Stephen, over several pages about 2/3 of the way through the book, is a masterpiece of exposition. Interestingly, the book remains somewhat vague on the actual crime that led to her transportation to Australia, from where she stowed away. O'Brian seems to be implying that it's less important than everything that happened to her before. In all this, the book has something in common with the first in the series, where the presence of James Dillon, and his secrets, also served as a catalyst.

  • Dave Mills
    2019-03-20 08:32

    A bit less excitement, a bit more reflection, but still quite good. Two gems: (1) Jack and Stephen catch Killick with a young girl. "'Killick, come aboard at once,' said Jack . . . 'Come in by the sash-light.' Killick . . . attempted it, fell back into the sea . . . tried again and this time grasped the sill. But he hung there gasping, and it was not until the young woman, with a shriek of laughter, had shoved him from behind, that he came inboard, sodden, resentful, and sadly out of countenance, going straight through the door with a bowed head, a mumble and a gesture towards his forelock [his feeble salute to Aubrey]. They [Aubrey and Maturin] sat back, each secretly pleased with having acquired a moral advantage over Killick at last . . ." (2) and this, about old age, by Maturin, "Pudding. Sure, it starts with pudding or marchpane; then it is the toss of a coin which fails first, your hair or your teeth, your eyes or your ears; then comes impotence, for age gelds a man without hope or reprieve, saving him a mort of anguish." Oh, O'Brian, what a well-inked pen you have.

  • Rupert Fenton
    2019-02-21 11:59

    After over 4,000 pages and over 200 hours of reading the crew of the HMS Surprise feel like family. There is comfortable joy in just spending time on what feels like a living breathing ship. Like a real family, there is real tension and humour in even minor domestic drama I am invested in the crew and care about their careers, financial wellbeing and marriages. In previous books, I have felt the dread reading of debtors prison and damaged reputations.In most of the books, the mundanity of everyday life is cut through with naval action. This book is almost action free, the arrival of a woman upends the onboard balance of life and smooth running of the ship. This homely plot has mystery, tension and drama. Another book passes, and I next will read the last five of fifteen books. What to do when I am finished? I already know the answer start again.

  • Joshua Drummond
    2019-02-23 06:40

    This is not the usual Aubrey-Maturin novel; it's a slow, careful character study for which naval journeys and battles are reduced mostly to backdrop. As a standalone story, this could prove unsatisfying, but read as a psychological insight into shipboard life it's remarkable - and it's all the more so for Clarissa Oakes, a fantastic, nuanced character who proves to be much more than the victim of her tragic past.

  • Kenneth
    2019-03-15 12:37

    The book mainly focuses on the collapse of the esprit de corps on board the Surprise when various members of the crew fall for the wife of one of the officers who is a rescued convict from New South Wales. This vindicates something that Aubrey has been saying in many previous novels. I for one, do not read the Aubrey Maturin series for its views on gender relations so I was fairly disappointed in the novel.

  • Lorne
    2019-03-24 07:40

    This is the first O'Brian since maybe H.M.S. Surprise that I didn't immediately love. I think there might have been too much circling back to familiar arguments and scenes among the characters. However, this is still possibly the greatest series of books of the 20th century, and even a middling O'Brian novel is better than 80% of everything I've ever read. There's plenty of stunning writing to be found here. It's just couched in too familiar plotting and character interactions.

  • Terri
    2019-03-16 07:52

    Beginning at the penal colony in New South Wales, the Surprise crosses the South Pacific. In the process they help an Island queen to defeat her rival and expel the French and Americans in a bloody massacre. Aubrey must also deal with a beautiful stow-away who causes jealous contention among his crew and causes the Reverend Martin to believe himself forever damned by sin.