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The Hundred Days Paperback – Oct 7 1999

3.2 out of 5 stars 50 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: UK General Books (Oct. 7 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0006512119
  • ISBN-13: 978-0006512110
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.3 x 19.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 41 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars 50 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #18,706 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Amazon

In this, actor Robert Hardy's fourth reading from Patrick O'Brian's celebrated historical novels, series heroes Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin are in very different circumstances from when we first meet them. In Master and Commander, the first of the series, Aubrey is young and full of himself, and through Hardy's performance we can practically hear Aubrey's puffed-out chest. But in The Hundred Days, Aubrey is a commodore, famous throughout the British Empire for his naval exploits, and Hardy reflects the confidence that comes with those accomplishments. Meanwhile, his best friend, surgeon-spy Stephen Maturin, is wasting away as the audiocassette opens, in deep mourning for his recently deceased wife. But soon enough, both are pulled into great adventure again--in this case, Napoleon's final campaign--and the fate of the Empire rests on their ability to stop the fitting out of a new French fleet and to keep a shipment of gold from reaching a mercenary army. (Running time: three hours, two cassettes) --Lou Schuler --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

The Aubrey-Maturin series (The Commodore, etc.) nears the two dozen mark the way it began, with colorful historical background, smooth plotting, marvelous characters and great style. The title refers to Napoleon's escape from Elba and brief return to power. Capt. Jack Aubrey must stop a Moorish galley, loaded with gold for Napoleon's mercenaries, from making its delivery. The action takes us into two seas and one ocean and continues nearly nonstop until the climax in the Atlantic. We're quickly reacquainted with the two heroes: handsome sea dog Jack Aubrey, by now a national hero, and Dr. Stephen Maturin, Basque-Irish ship's doctor, naturalist, English spy and hopelessly incompetent seaman. Nothing stays the same, alas: Jack has gained weight almost to obesity, and Stephen is desolated by the death of his dashing, beautiful wife?but they're still the best of friends, each often knowing what the other is thinking. The prose moves between the maritime sublime and the Austenish bon mot ("a man generally disliked is hardly apt to lavish good food and wine on those who despise him, and Ward's dinners were execrable"). There are some favorite old characters, notably Aubrey's steward, Preserved Killick: "ill-faced, ill-tempered, meagre, atrabilious, shrewish" and thoroughly amusing. Chief among entertaining newcomers is Dr. Amos Jacob, a Cainite Jew ("they derive their descent from the Kenites, who themselves have Abel's brother Cain as their common ancestor"), who comes from a family of jewel merchants and has an encyclopedic grasp of Hebrew, Arabic and Turkish languages (and politics). Jacob is as expert as Stephen at spying and even more of a landlubber. O'Brian continues to unroll a splendid Turkish rug of a saga, and if it seems unlikely that the sedentary Stephen would hunt lions in the Atlas mountains (with the Dey of Algiers!), O'Brian brings off even this narrative feat with aplomb.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I confess I peeked at the reviews of this book before settling in to read it and was a bit worried by the rather harsh remarks by a number of readers. Shouldn't have been. This is a novel of real power. Witty (often darkly humorous), intelligent and beautifully written it is completely at a piece with rest of the series. Still puzzled by those reviewers who claim this was ghosted and a bit troubled by one writer who complained Villier's death was a problem because she was such a strong female character. Well yes, but this isn't Oprah nor is this about consciousness raising as we know it at the end of the twentieth century. Rather, this work is a fantistically imagined glimpse into the very early nineteenth century-a time quite different from our own. I had heard of O'Brian first in the mid-1970's but couldn't rally much interest. Napoleonic Wars? Royal Navy? So? Then, for some reason or another, I picked up 'Master and Commander' over the New Year's Holiday. Three months later, I had read each of the nineteen novels in sequence. One of the great reading experiences of my life. 'The Hundred Days' is an altogether tougher work than those which preceed it. Aubrey and Maturin have been at this for a great long while. The war with Napoleon drags on and on. Fortunes are made and lost. Friends and family die. There indeed is very little of the joy to be found in the earlier books. Choices available to a person were far fewer in number in the early 1800's. Societal constraints, class strictures, duty-any number of factors conspired to grind a person down. By the end of 'The Hundred Days' Aubrey seems tired and spiritless. And why not? Good friends killed. Endless political intrigue.Read more ›
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By A Customer on Feb. 3 1999
Format: Hardcover
I cannot agree that this book is flat, lifeless, and lacking in the drama of the previous Aubrey-Maturin novels. In The Hundred Days, O'Brian creates and explores a different topography of the heart and spirit. The deaths of Diana and Barrett Bonden are shocking, because there's no preparation, but as some other reviewers have said, there's never adequate preparation in life for such losses. No amount of verbal handwringing can make it right, in life and in this novel, and O'Brian does not indulge in even the attempt to cater to the wish for it. How would any of us attempt to depict Maturin, that reserved, disciplined man so profoundly in love, fresh on the news of Diana's death? The term "unimaginable grief" could suggest that O'Brian quite properly does not describe what can't be delineated, except in the heart of each reader who confronts his or her own losses in reading about Maturin's. As for Bonden, his death no doubt reverberates through the lives of Aubrey, Sophie, Maturin, and all his recent and former shipmates--again, O'Brian demands that we do a little imaginative work once we've caught our breath, just as Aubrey and the others will have to catch theirs after the shock. It takes time to absorb a loss, time O'Brian has not created for his other characters with respect to the death of Bonden, at least in this novel. And that's a final point. Patrick O'Brian is an older man, and each novel is a gift, likely to him, certainly to his readers. Blithe suggestions regarding what he ought to do in the next novel, or in future novels in the series, take no account of the facts of his life. I'd love another dozen books in this series, which has given me some of the best company I've enjoyed in the past few years. But I'd be immensely grateful to have just one more. To Patrick O'Brian--amazed gratitude and deepest respect!
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Format: Hardcover
A couple of years later and I stroll in and see such a weird collection of remarks! It seems that people either love this installment or absolutely loathe it. By my rating, you can see that I enjoyed it immensely. I think that O'Brian lived up to his reputation as a sophisticated storyteller. Yes, Diana's death is a mere mention - but the author creates such a deeply painful upset that feels very real - we grieve with Stephen from the shock - and if we are open to it, we appreciate the story even more. And yes, Bonden's demise is equally jarring, but that's life at sea (especially during that time). My one critique of O'Brian - there should have been more death among Aubrey's and Maturin's closest friends and followers - that is, if history were followed more closely. So - to the naysayers I say -"you are heard, but you do not speak for everybody." I love this book as I love the entire series.
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Format: Paperback
I, as countless others, noticed within pages that this book did not have the heft, color, culture or beauty of the past entries. It felt like the OUTLINE of a possible book, with none of the nuances and flourishes filled in. A pale watercolor against the previous Rembrandts. And let's lose a vital character like Diana OFFSTAGE, as if she were a minor character, a footnote when really she balanced and made whole the Maturin we came to know. His tempestuous love affair made an otherwise dour, eccentric character come into his own; a character arc that paid off handsomely. Aubrey and the good doctor go through the motions as if ghosts of voyages past. They play music, engage in intrigue, visit (in a glancing manner) foreign exotic ports, and eat their toasted cheese -- but it's a vessel that's altogether too unseaworthy for the journey. Either the prolific author's powers have waned at this late stage, or he was trying to beat the deadline (he's 85 after all) and finish the saga with a round number; 20 (Blue Mizzen's out now). That's a cruel assessment, but his fault entirely for writing so beautifully of a time past that we came to expect that level of excellence, or more to the point, crave and need it like a good serving of plum duff and spotted dog. May his high standards unfurl and send us sailing at 12 knots and above on the next peregrination. For now, I'll take a bolus and bit of laudanum to ease the pain and curl up in my hammock while awaiting another installment.
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