‘...riding the tremendous seas nobly, shouldering them aside with her bluff bows’
Aubrey, cast ashore and suffocated by a landlubber’s life, joins Maturin on a mission to take the French-occupied islands of Mauritius and La Réunion. Temporarily assuming a commander’s
post, Aubrey must also face down two of his own captains – one a pleasure-seeking dilettante, the other a fierce disciplinarian liable to provoke mutiny. Set during the Indian Ocean campaign
of 1810, The Mauritius Command presents a palpable image of shipboard life, here dominated by the roar of cannon fire, the panic of injured seamen and the sight of devastated ships sinking into blood-red seas.
Read more about the life and work of Patrick O'Brian
In 1991, an article appeared in The New York Times entitled ‘An Author I’d Walk the Plank For’. Like millions of readers around the world, the writer, Richard Snow, had become addicted to Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey–Maturin series. Set against the sprawling canvas of the Napoleonic Wars, O’Brian’s naval adventure novels evoke this period in history like no others. Their success is down to the vim and vigour of O’Brian’s prose, his extraordinary eye for period detail and his ear for language. In Snow’s words: ‘O’Brian summoned up with casual omniscience the workaday magic of a vanished time.’
The partnership between Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin is at the heart of Patrick O’Brian’s masterful series. Beyond the beautifully textured period setting and the thrilling skirmishes and naval battles (many based on real events), the popularity of the novels stems from these two engaging, intriguing protagonists, with Aubrey’s passionate nature providing a marvellous foil for Maturin’s more enigmatic character. Two centuries may separate us from them, but O’Brian creates an utterly compelling portrait of two men and a world at war.