Book Report: Master and Commander by Patrick O’Brian (1970)

After I read the first book in the Sharpe series, I realized that I didn’t have the second book in that series, so I looked around for other historical fiction on my shelves, and I came to this book. I’d seen the movie Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, but apparently that is a later book in the series. This book introduces Jack Aubrey and the surgeon characters and describes Aubrey’s first command.

Meticulously researched, the book describes the technology, procedures, and military of the era as much as any Clancy novel. However, the pacing on this book is very mellow and languid. A lot of exposition, some action, more exposition, some politicking, some exposition, action, and the novel kind of ends without a real climax.

As such, it’s not as compelling as Clancy or Cornwell, but still interesting enough that I wouldn’t mind reading the next in the series.

Apparently, I’m really getting into British military history ca 1800 with the Sharpe and Aubrey/Maturin books. Reading these makes me want to do my own research so I can really be steeped in what the authors describe, so that the exposition isn’t educational but merely a reminder. Maybe I should get into Civil War fiction instead since I already have a good library on it.

Books mentioned in this review: