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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The perfect Aubrey-Maturin companion . . ., Oct. 22 2002
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This review is from: A Sea of Words: A Lexicon and Companion to the Complete Seafaring Tales of Patrick O'Brian (Paperback)
Subtitled "A Lexicon and Companion to the Complete Seafaring Tales of Patrick O'Brian," this is an absolutely marvelous book, the Third Edition of which includes references to all twenty of the Aubrey-Maturin novels. It scores high in the first test given any alphabetically organized reference book, viz., in looking up an entry, ... There's a wide variety of nautical jargon, period medical terminology, the characters' references to natural history and music, and the foreign words and phrases that crop up in the novels. O'Brian describes a large number of real personages, too, all of whom are succinctly biographed. There's also a pretty detailed timeline for the period 1793-1818, a narrative essay on the ins and outs of the Napoleonic wars, a most illuminating discussion of naval medicine and surgery in Maturin's day, and a nice series of period illustrations of ships and boats for those who can't tell a frigate from a corvette, nor a barge from a launch. This is definitely a book to keep at hand while you work your way through the series.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You MUST have this book!, March 25 2004
This review is from: A Sea of Words: A Lexicon and Companion to the Complete Seafaring Tales of Patrick O'Brian (Paperback)
This book is absolutely indispensible for the O'Brian fan. Not only is it full of nautical terms for all us poor lubbers, but it contains much more as well. Herein are descriptions of food, wine, medical terms, natural science, a few people, places, ships, and events, and even foreign phrases lifted right out of the Aubrey/Maturin books and translated for your convenience. It also contains a meaty chapter on the Royal Navy, another on medical science of the era (scary!) and a Napoleonic war timeline. All I could ask for is more illustrations and a chapter explaining the basics of sailing.
I've had this book at my elbow constantly since HMS Surprise (3rd in the series). You'll wonder how you ever got along without it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An absolutely amazing resource, Jan. 5 2006
By 
Travis Weir (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Sea of Words: A Lexicon and Companion to the Complete Seafaring Tales of Patrick O'Brian (Paperback)
Wow, all I can say is wow. One of the finest glossaries of nautical and late 18th-early 19th century social terms that I have ever come across. The perfect compliment to the O'Brian series of books, especially if one is not familiar with naval terms of that time.
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5.0 out of 5 stars 10 Shinning Stars for this BOOK! Excellent!, June 12 2004
This review is from: A Sea of Words: A Lexicon and Companion to the Complete Seafaring Tales of Patrick O'Brian (Paperback)
When I started to read "Master and Commander", I was completely lost in the "sea of words", the nautical vocabulary. This book is an INVALUABLE resource when reading the O'Brian books.
This book has diagrams and charts and photos, explains naval medicine and other things, but it's best trait is the "a to z" dictionary of nautical terms and phrases used in the O'Brian books.
EXCELLENT!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Handy companion, May 11 2004
This review is from: A Sea of Words: A Lexicon and Companion to the Complete Seafaring Tales of Patrick O'Brian (Paperback)
A good book to have along for the ride, when all those never-seen-before terms come up. And that doesn't include just the marine ones. He put in most of the medical terms along with that historical period's vernacular. Makes reading the Aubrey and Maturin series that much more enjoyable. Buy it, you'll be glad you did.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great Companion Piece to the Series, March 18 2004
By 
John C. Mckee "cmckee6" (Spring TX) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Sea of Words: A Lexicon and Companion to the Complete Seafaring Tales of Patrick O'Brian (Paperback)
While I somewhat enjoyed the task of deciphering and tracking down the myriad of specialized, arcane and obsolete words employed by Patrick O'Brian in his majestic Aubrey-Maturin series, the discovery of this book provided a much more concise and handy way of doing this.
O'Brian's vast vocabulary and vast knowledge of seagoing nomenclature as well as late 18th and early 19th century social mores is impressive. This book allows one to appreciate the level of scholarship applied by O'Brian. However, this is much more than a simple glossary. It includes short biographies of leading personages of the day, histories of important battles, diagrams of ships and rigging and geographical references.
While one can probably get along without this book; assuming one has access to a good dictionary, encyclopedia and other reference books, this tome certainly eases the task.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful resource, Jan. 1 2004
By 
Lady Shelley (Westminster, Colorado USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: A Sea of Words: A Lexicon and Companion to the Complete Seafaring Tales of Patrick O'Brian (Paperback)
I'd actually read all of the books before finding this gem, and now I can look forward to enjoying the O'Brian books all over again.
This book is full of definitions and descriptions of all sorts of things found in the Aubrey/Maturin stories. Don't understand weather gage, this book explains it. Have you always wondered what the heck they meant by sailing at so-and-so points to the wind, this book not only has a definition, but a diagram showing it to you.
This is a wonderful resource for old O'Brian readers as well as all you new ones out there. Well worth the investment.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Reference for the Aubrey/Maturin Series, Nov. 10 2003
By 
Michael (Lake Mary, FL United States) - See all my reviews
For someone starting out in the Aubrey/Maturin (or any other sea stories, for that matter), this is an excellent companion. While I am somewhat familiar with nautical terms, I found it helpful to have a handy reference for the language of the sea and of Georgian Britain. This is a useful volume for fans of other Nelsonian heroes such as Horatio Hornblower, Richard Bolitho, and Nathaniel Drinkwater.
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5.0 out of 5 stars For God's sake buy this!, Dec 8 2002
By 
D. A Butler (Murfreesboro, tn United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Sea of Words: A Lexicon and Companion to the Complete Seafaring Tales of Patrick O'Brian (Paperback)
The reason for that review title is to alleviate the inevitable brain hemorrage that will result if you attempt to read Patrick O'brian's novels without a thorough 18th Century vocabulary lesson. I carry this guide with me anytime I read one of O'brian's books.
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5.0 out of 5 stars It's essential, Sept. 19 2002
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This review is from: A Sea of Words: A Lexicon and Companion to the Complete Seafaring Tales of Patrick O'Brian (Paperback)
The one annoyance about this book (for people like me, who came to Patrick O'Brian's stories through my own devices, at least) is that, by the time you hear tell off this book, you are several volumes into Mr O'Brian's exquisite series... by which time, you've generally muddled through (with whatever miscellaneous assortment of secondhand reference works you have inherited from elderly relatives) and figured out, by yourself, what a "futtock shroud" might be, or (through sheer perseverance) discovered what a "Greek pollacca" looks like, and much of what this gem of a book could have given you in a flash is already lost!
If you ever find yourself in the privilaged position of being able to recommend Patrick O'Brian's magnificant novels to anyone who is so benighted as to have not yet heard of them, don't leave them in the lurch - funish them with a copy of this most excellent tome, to help them on their way! After all, you will remember the number of times you felt compelled to run to your meagre collection of reference sources to find out what O'Brian writes about with such unswerving authority. Even if you cannot gain from it youself, you know that this is _the_ book to have.
I cannot write too highly of it (and I am an able to write too highly of many things when the spirit takes me :). But, To give a copy of "Master and Commander" to a new initiate of Mr O'Brian without also furishing them with a copy of this book is, quite frankly, to condemn your fellow potential Aubreyites to the same fate as yourself - Heck, even I didn't know what a Dutch Galliot looked like until I bought this book!
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A Sea of Words: A Lexicon and Companion to the Complete Seafaring Tales of Patrick O'Brian
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