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At last! Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin are back as Patrick O'Brian provides his indomitably loyal fans with another adventure, this one by land as well as by sea. Lucky Jack Aubrey finds himself not so lucky as his troubles amount ashore, his prospects of admiralty dimmed and Sophie's affection waning. At sea, he fares little better: in the storms off Brest he captures a French privateer ladden with gold and ivory at the expense of missing a signal and deserting his post. And worst of all, in the spring of 1814, peace breaks out...
Fortunately, Maturin returns from a mission in Chile with news that may help restore Aubrey to good favor with both his beloved navy and wife. Then, off to Gibraltar: Napoleon has escaped from Elba.
The Yellow Admiral is a change of pace, a reversion to the themes of the earlier novels in the Aubrey/Maturin series. Much of the story takes place on land, giving scope to O'Brian's fascination with the landscape, physical and social, of early nineteenth-century England. In vivid glimpses of various rural pursuits, and nuanced observation of politics and domestic arrangements, O'Brian proves himself ever more surely to be the heir of Jane Austen. Not to say there aren't some rousing and bloody sea-battles! --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
As befits a popular and enduring fictional hero, Captain Jack Aubrey of the Royal Navy is besieged on all sides in the 18th installment of O'Brian's splendid 19th-century historical adventure series (The Commodore, etc.). Jack is fighting expensive, possibly ruinous, legal battles with slavers, as well as with rich landowners trying to enclose common lands around his family estate. He must also deal with a Navy superior with a financial interest in the enclosure, who is trying to wreck Jack's career. (If a captain becomes an admiral without a command he is "in the cant phrase... yellowed"). Jack, on blockade duty off Brittany, frets that the impending peace will indeed yellow him; and he's also in for some rough marital weather with his wife, Sophie. Meanwhile, the series' other hero, Irish-Catalan physician Stephen Maturin, who's Jack's best friend, connects in "the dark of the moon" with Chilean independence leaders who may hire Jack to head their own young navy. O'Brian is at the top of his elegant form here. He offers a wealth of sly humor (Navy officers' talk is "really not fit for mixed company because of its profoundly nautical character"), some splendid set pieces (a bare-knuckle boxing match, lively sea actions), characters who are palpably real and, as always, lapidary prose. This is splendid storytelling from a true master. Major ad/promo.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
I have enjoyed this series immensely, and I would recommend it to anyone interested in historical novels with excellent character development. O'Brien is a super writer. Read morePublished on Nov. 28 2000 by grafmax
My mistake. This is the first of Patrick O'Brien's series that I have read. I found it slow and somewhat puzzling. Read morePublished on Dec 3 1999 by Doug Vaughn
While a more than adequate insight into everyday life in the England of George III, this book serves the uninitiated reader of O'Brian's work poorly. Read morePublished on July 14 1999
I am an absolute devotee of Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin series. I have read all of them at least three times each. But "The Yellow Admiral" appalled me. Read morePublished on Oct. 15 1998 by email@example.com
There is an awful lot of recycling going on in this book. The research is still prodigious, but I suspect at this point O'Brian has the topography and culture of early 19th Century... Read morePublished on Dec 5 1997
Aubrey & Maturin will always be worth reading, but
this series is definitely getting tired. Read more
O'Brian is never dull, of course, but this installment is too didactic for me. Where before Maturin's naivete is a natural cue for exploration of many topics, here it's just too... Read morePublished on Aug. 2 1997