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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on May 24, 2015
tedious, and full of nautical terms. wish I had not bought Post Captain#2 and Master and Commander at the same time without fully investigating the content.
Maybe if stranded on a desert island or lost at sea, but for summer reading, and for someone with only a passing interest in sailing.....not for me
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on September 6, 2013
Though I'm not a sailor or a seaman, either would be an asset to reading this material. Though a good tail, it gets list in the "heing and sheing" that is suppose to amount to a romantic something or other.

This work spends more in long distance, mid distance, and short distance relationships then any ACTION. All gets lost in slang and jargon that, at least for this reader places the book in the realm or work rather then enjoyment.
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on September 17, 1996
2. ~Captain Jack Aubrey and his friend, ship's surgeon Stephen
Maturin, face even greater adventure, intrigue and peril in
the second of O'Brian's famed series of novels set during
the Napoleonic wars. Now, with a brief pause in the fighting, Jack and
Stephen rent a house in the country, where their friendship
meets its first serious test. ~O'Brian has found the perfect
sequel to a perfect first novel: familiarity does not breed
contempt, but enables the reader to travel comfortably and perceptively with
his companions through a world the author clearly loves but
does not render untrue. ~(If you have read the first of this
marvelous 17-part series, Master and Commander, you require no convincing
of the rewards for continuing. Likewise, you should not be deprived
of discovering on your own the particular storylines; therefore I shall
not disclose them, but in subsequent reviews only remark in the most
general and faithful terms my adoration for these books. They are quite
unlike anything I have ever read.)
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on March 20, 2002
I must begin by confessing my undying love of all things Patrick O'Brianesque. I have read and reread his books, working my way through his canon from beginning to end and taking solitary excursions via audiobooks as the fit takes me.
It is nothing for me to turn up at work after listening to a chapter or two, my words all antique, my phraseology rolling like the ocean, and my heart full of good cheer.
This second book of "the Aubreyad" is the most like Jane Austen's genteel tales of manners in the England of two centuries past. There are grand houses, elderly admirals, single young naval officers possessed of fortunes, and delightful young ladies. Romance is in the air before the book is fairly begun.
And yet there is another side, or rather sides. War and battle and financial problems interfere with the grand pursuit of love. Humour is everpresent, in the language, characters, settings and ships. The incompetent footpad who writes out an incredible recruiting poster. The scene with the bear. The verbal abuse in the middle of a battle of a sweet young lady disguised as a ship's boy.
It is also a complex maze of relationships. We do not meet Molly Harte again, but we encounter her cuckolded husband and his hatred of Jack Aubrey. The wonderful Diana Villiers makes her first appearance in these pages, eventually resulting in a severe quarrel between Captain Jack and his "particular friend" Stephen Maturin. Sir Joseph Blaine, the master of British Naval Intelligence and a rare collector of beetles plays a discreet game in the bureaucratic corridors of the Admiralty.
And there is action a-plenty at sea. Battles and chases, rigging and running, storms and ships.
Just open the book and you will be part of the crew.
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on May 2, 2001
A richer and more textured novel than Master and Commander, Post Captain relies less on the curiosities of British Naval trivia and more on personalities and human interactions. There is a wider range of characters and less focus on shipboard banter and swashbuckling. The single shortcoming I can identify is that a few characters have a wooden quality. In particular, those that O'Brian has marked as negative. This is far from fatal, merely a bit tiresome. By and large, O'Brian offers a stirring vision of maritime England during the Napoleonic Wars, one that has the aura of authenticity.
Unlike the first Aubrey/Maturin work, which concentrated almost exclusively on the sea and port life, Post Captain is better paced. When the major naval engagement takes place well over halfway through the book, the reader has been carefully set up for the dramatic change in rhythm. After hundreds of pages that dwelled increasing upon the human flaws of a declining Jack Aubrey, I found myself quite moved by the gripping depiction of heroism and personal recovery in the face of bad luck and poor judgement; a metaphor for real life. We can see in Jack Aubrey's fearless and selfless behavior under stress what we would like to believe lies hidden within ourselves, waiting for the opportunity, perhaps in a crisis situation, where we can, in flash, redeem all our past weakness and failure.
I look forward to many more in the series.
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on May 3, 2002
This second book in the Aubrey-Maturin series is, like all of the others, an absolute delight. O'Brian does his usual astonishing job of transporting us to an imagined early-19th century world, interesting in large part because it is in some basic ways quite unlike ours, yet peopled by richly-drawn characters who experience emotions intensely familiar.
For the fanatic O'Brian fan (I am one) this book is especially interesting to re-read, since several of the dimensions of the characters, especially Maturin, are slightly at odds with later versions. For example, in one diary passage, Maturin waxes eloquent (and accurate) about the specific arrangement of sails as a convoy weighs anchor -- something he would never do in the later books, when he has become hopelessly ignorant about all things nautical.
These books are in the rare category of those classics that are a page-turning excitement to read when first encountered, and remain similarly exciting if read again and again, constantly revealing new subtleties of character and incident.
One of the great things about the books is O'Brian's periodic indirect explanation of certain expressions that have passed into the vernacular, and are used in contexts far removed from their nautical roots -- for example, "the devil to pay" or "we were at loggerheads", or...I've forgotten the rest. I guess I'll have to read the books again, and so should you.
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on March 10, 2002
Read this book very carefully, especially if you are committed to reading all 20 volumes. IMHO, it is the best book of the series. In book one ("Master and Commander"), I assumed that Maturin was a minor character who would not appear again. I thought he was a gay geek, and that his mysterious, solitary, on-shore expedition was of a carnal nature; little did I realize the true nature of either Maturin or the trip.
This second book focuses on developing the Maturin character as a spy; a sophisticated man of wealth, background, and education; a lifelong drug addict; and a nerdy womanizer - sort of an 19th century cross between James Bond and Bill Gates.
Chapter 4 is the most bizarre chapter in the entire series. I am still going on the assumption that the escape-across-France-in-a-bear-costume was really just another opium vision of Maturin's.
The books that follow this one vary greatly in quality of plot; some are excellent, some seem to be virtually plotless narratives, but all are worth reading. Still, book 2 stands head and shoulders above all the rest.
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on October 4, 1997
Post Captain is a book teeming with life. You don't have to know anything about foremast, frigates, or a sailor's life to appreciate the sheer vitality and realness of the book's characters. There is Captain Aubrey, longing for marriage but unable to afford it. A Captain Aubrey who is almost sterotypically unsuited for marriage -- he is such a little boy on shore and yet a man who is absolutely convinced that the married state would be "paradise." And there is Stephen, Aubrey alter-ego and best friend who is hopelessly in love with a woman who can only hurt him and worse. A Stephen who is a boy at sea but a cunning and often ruthless English agent on land. There are the men who make up the Gunroom, that incredible self-sustaining world of the ship at sea. And, finally, there are the politics, the battles, the ships themselves and the men's relationship with those ships. For although the ships may not be alive (and at times it is difficult to assert that the ships are indeed inanimate beings) the relationships between the men and the ships are very much alive. All this life is somehow contained between two book covers. And it is this life that will keep the reader not only glued to the book until the final word but will make him/her come back to Post Captain again and again. A must read.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon March 27, 2002
I was sucked into the Aubrey/Maturin series after reading "Post Captain", discovering the virtues of O'Brian's prose and his fictional rendering of the Napoleonic wars nearly a year and a half before it became popular here in the United States. This is truly the novel where the celebrated Aubrey/Maturin friendship takes off, whereby Maturin shows that he is Sherlock Holmes to Aubrey's Doctor Watson (Or perhaps, for a more contemporary analogy, Spock as opposed to Captain Kirk.). Maturin comes across as an elegant, erudite spy, working on behalf of Sir Joseph Banks, the chief of British naval intelligence. Meanwhile Aubrey finds himself in a debtor's prison in France and escapes just as Western Europe plunges into war again. Eventually he will find himself rewarded with a promotion to Post Captain and a new ship command. Once more O'Brian's elegant, descriptive prose shows a unique side of British life not shown in prior naval fiction series; indeed, it is truly his homage to Jane Austen's fiction.
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on November 26, 2000
"Post Captain", unlike most sequels, far exceeds it's predecessor. For one thing, the character of the doctor takes shape; some of his mysterious history is revealed, and he plays a crucial part in the action. We come to respect his evident brilliance as his work behind the scenes, in love and in war, moves much of the story.
In addition, there is a lot more humor and I actually laughed out loud at some of the jokes. I understood them, a big improvement in either my reading abilities or the narrative. Jack is revealed to be a very poor punster, and some of his puns are so stupid as to be quite funny.
The friendship between the two men is much more central in this book than in the first. Like Sherlock Holmes and Watson one is smart and the other not, but the authority figure is reversed. It makes for a very interesting relationship, though not entirely unique in literature. (Stretching the point, I think that I have seen a similar relationship on Star Trek with Spock and Captain Kirk!)
I liked this book well enough to recommend it to anyone. I would give it a 3.75 on a 5-star scale.
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