The Yellow Admiral Paperback – Jul 14 2008
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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.
From Publishers Weekly
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.
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Top Customer Reviews
One can read the Holmes/Watson books in any order; the characters never change, and I don't recall references by Doyle to previous events, such as those backwards glimpses O'Brian slyly slips to us steady fans from time to time that must sail right over the heads of hit-and-run readers.
With not a molecule of discredit to her genius intended, Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot remained the same character through 25 stories, and I'm not aware of any maturation of Miss Jane Marple. Of course, Agatha Christie probably felt that her readers preferred the familiarity that the sameness of characters provided.
What gives me the feat tha! ! t The Yellow Admiral might be the final Aubrey/Maturin episode? Diana never once jumps the traces; Jack mends all his fences at home; Sir Joseph Blaine is very much back in control in his seemingly obscure but influential position with "the Committee;" and Stephen has lived through a volume without a crisis. Then, just as Jack Aubrey has gotten used to the idea of building the Chileans a navy, while on a little respite in Funchal, Madeira, with his family and almost everyone else dear to him, he receives an urgent dispatch from Lord Keith of the Admiralty, advising him that Napoleon has escaped from Elba. Writes Keith: "You are to take all His Majesty's ships and vessels at present in Funchal under your command, hoisting your broad pennant in 'Pamone,' and . . .Read more ›
is a disappointment. Just as the Napoleonic wars have gone flat in this episode, so, too, has the world Aubrey and Maturin. For the first
time I had the feeling that the author was uncertain where to take the tale. Perhaps the characters have now grown too much within themselves
and thus find very little that is fresh in their world. In any event, in this story the sheer joy of life and discovery, and the thrill of
competence that is theirs at sea, is gone, gone, gone. Sour elder middle-age seems to have taken their place.
For those who have followed this series, of course, "The Yellow Admiral" is a must read. But were it not for the long association with
these characters, I would have found the book tedious, undirected, and boring.
this series is definitely getting tired. After
the first three or four books, O'Brian started struggling
and this novel continues the long, long downhill path.
For alternatives, try the grandaddy of them all, the
Hornblower series by C.S. Forester, or the Bolitho stories
from Alexander Kent. Harder to find, try the Drinkwater
series from Richard Woodman (e.g., "An Eye of the Fleet")
or the Ramage series from Dudley Pope. On land, Bernard
Cornwell's Sharpe is pretty good too.
Most recent customer reviews
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