Book: The Truelove by Patrick O'Brian

Fine sea-story

Patrick O'Brian
The Truelove
W. W. Norton, 1992 (published in the UK as Clarissa Oakes)
ISBN: 0-393-03109-8
256 pages

The Truelove is the 15th book in the 20-book series of Aubrey-Maturin novels by Patrick O'Brian. (Actually, there's a 21st that was left unfinished when Mr O'Brian died in 2000.) The books are all sea-stories having to do with the 19th century British navy. Jack Aubrey is a brilliant captain and his friend Stephen Maturin is his ship's physician as well as being an amateur naturalist and secret agent for the British government.

I've read all the earlier books in the Aubrey-Matruin series and they've all been splendid. This book is no exception. The book has the same sure and even tone and perfect pacing that are Mr O'Brian's hallmark. As the book begins, Captain Aubrey departs from Australia in in command of the ship Surprise, which is now a privateer or letter-of-marque. For some reason, the crew is out of sorts and then potentially difficult orders arrive. A British whaler has been captured at French instigation by a Pacific island chief. The crew's unhappiness results from an unusual problem on board. And how best to deal with unfriendly islanders isn't obvious. Captain Aubrey and Dr Maturin must sort all that out.

There are no great sea battles here, but the book is a splendid read. Really, nothing more needs to be said. If you're not familiar with the series, start at the beginning. If you are, you can be confident that The Truelove is as good as the rest.

Posted: Mon - June 18, 2007 at 06:31 PM   Main   Category: