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I just finished reading this series of 20 novels and a published unfinished manuscript.

 

I'm saddened, despondent. depressed, in the doldrums, and heartbroken that this was the end of the series, that Mr. O'Brian passed before finishing the one, and that the series won't continue indefinitely.

 

Wonderful writing, characters you get to know in depth, some of which you emphasize with and even become concerned about their outcomes. Outstanding reading even if you're not a fan of historical novels, the Napoleonic era, or seagoing life.

 

Oh! Ship-modelling content! You'll find a wealth of information on ship handling, life on a sea-going vessel, and such that could be of use to detailng a model to make it come alive and add more character.

 

Your humble and obedient..........

 

Brian

"Give you joy!"

 

Current Build: RATTLESNAKE 1:64 POB (Mamoli)

 

Kits on hand: "Lexington", Mamoli: "Robert E. Lee", Scientific

Scratch to do: "Fannie Dugan", 1870s Sidewheeler Steamboat

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Brian,

 

I think you'll find yourself in good company on this one. I know that a lot of folks here at MSW have read and enjoyed the series - twice in my own case.

Edited by gjdale
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It took me awhile to get the language. But once I did I was hooked. completed that one and Hornblower as well. Currently working my way thru Dewey Lambdin's Alan Lewrie series.

Current Builds - 18th Century Longboat, MS Syren

Completed Builds - MS Bluenose, Panart BatteStation Cross section, Endevour J Boat Half Hull, Windego Half Hull, R/C T37 Breezing Along, R/C Victoria 32, SolCat 18

On the shelf - Panart San Felipe, Euromodel Ajax, C.Mamoli America, 

 

Its a sailor's Life for me! :10_1_10:

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It's well worth reading the biography of Patrick O'Brian/ Patrick Russ by his stepson Nikolai Tolstoy. It's called Patrick O'Brian: The Making of the Novelist, and you can pick up used copies on Amazon very cheaply.

 

It puts a lot of his writing into perspective, as well as explaining how he derived his characters. Very interesting, really, as he hardly ever put to sea in his life -- and when he did he was thoroughly frightened.

 

None of that takes away from the brilliance of character, plot, historical detail, language and writing. It just makes you realise that he was projecting his imagination of himself onto his two main characters.

 

Tony

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David,

You'll enjoy it!

 

Brian,

I just feel like you: I already read them twice in French and I'm nearnly finished reading them in English... and there will be a twice soon! He is the Jane Austen of the sea and indeed it is sad that he passed away so soon... But there is always something to be gained in re-reading the series, and the more you make models, the more you actually understand the nautical terms, well... a bit more than Stephen hopefully!

Padeen (Adeline)

"When there is a will, there is a way"

Completed build: Le Camaret - Constructo - static wood 1:35  (build log, gallery)

Current build (very limited modelling time at the moment...): HMS Fly - Amati/Victory Models - static wood 1:64 (build log)

Projected build: HMS Victory - Chris Watton's design - static wood 1:64 (when available..., no rush!)

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O'Brian. What a writer. People that haven't read him may mistake him for being less of a writer since he's known as a writer of sea stories, genre fiction.  But I often tell people that his work can be judged alongside any literature, not as mere sea stories but as really well written novels with amazing characters. His vocabulary, his knowledge of ships and the sea and the England of the day are astonishing. I never came across a nautical detail in any of his books that didn't ring true. Except for maybe the H.M.S. Polychrest but that ship was worth what little suspension of disbelief was called for.I never read the last three novels, I didn't want the narrative to end. I have gone back and re-read them again and again though, the ones I have read. Toward the end of the narrative I think the stories were getting weaker, he was publishing them one a year by then and they were getting just a bit far-fetched but I love them anyway.

  

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River Rat, I know how you feel. For years, I hoarded the Recorded Books unabridged readings of the O'Brien books by Patrick Tull. First I did two or three per year, then, as the supply dwindled, one or two. Eventually, though, I had listened to them all.

Then I began to read them.

I would recommend you do the same thing, only backwards. Now that you have read them, go to your library and see if  they carry the recorded books version. Patrick Tull is a master and really brings the characters to life. I think listening to them will open up new avenues of appreciation for you. I remember back, many many years ago, I tried to get into the series with "Letter of Marque," but I couldn't really appreciate it. Then I listened to Tull read "Master and Commander" and I was hooked.

As I said, I'm reading my way through the series now. But in the back of my mind, I still hear Tull narrating.

Under construction: Mamoli Roter Lowe

Completed builds: Constructo Enterprise, AL Le Renard

Up next: Panart Lynx, MS Harriet Lane

In need of attention: 14-foot Pintail in the driveway

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I'm a big fan of C. S. Forester's Hornblower stories and consider them to be far superior to Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin series.

 

I found Hornblower to be a much more rounded and believable character with his shyness and personal struggle with his self-perceived shortcomings compared to the two dimensional Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin. I thought while reading O'Brian that he could have used elements of those two characters and combined them into one much more three dimensional, and more interesting, protagonist. I don't believe that O'Brian had the ability to do that and developed the two characters to make up for that shortcoming. I thought Stephen Maturin to be a more complete character than the cardboard cut-out that was "Lucky" Jack Aubrey.

 

After reading several of the Aubrey/Maturin novels I found each more formulaic than the preceding. In several, O'Brian takes the reader to the beginning of a sea battle then just skips ahead to the outcome. In others, I got the strong feeling that I had already read that battle even though it was my first reading of that particular book. It seemed to me that O'Brian couldn't come up with very many different ways for battles to proceed. My second reading of the series reinforced these first impressions.

 

Hornblower stories are set in a sound historical context. One of his exploits, his first as a post captain, involves him in a clandestine operation that partially brings about the chain of events leading to Nelson's victory at Trafalgar. He then is given the duty to organize and carry out Nelson's funeral procession on the Thames during which he prevents Nelson's funeral barge from sinking. Later, Hornblower gets caught in a serious dilemma after carrying out orders to secretly sail into the Pacific and aid a megalomaniac rebel overthrow Spanish rule. He captures the one Spanish ship in the region and turns it over to the madman, El Supremo, then learns that during his long voyage to the Pacific, Spain switched sides to become a British ally. He is forced to find and re-capture or destroy that ship. Later in the series, Hornblower is influential in Tsar Alexander I of Russia's decision to resist Napolean's advance into Russia and then assists in the defense against the siege of the city of Riga. The Hornblower stories are so solidly set in an historical context that the fictional "biography" of Hornblower by C. Northcote Parkinson has frequently been taken as the biography of a real Horatio Hornblower. C. S. Forester is also noted as a naval historian, particularly for The Naval War of 1812 (published as The Age of Fighting Sail in the US) and Hunting the Bismarck (adapted for the 1960 film Sink the Bismarck!) as well as his other historical fiction novels.

 

The first six books of the Aubrey/Maturin series covers the entire span of the Napoleonic Wars with reference to historical events in that time period, from 1800 up to 1 June 1813 with specific mention of the Shannon vs Chesapeake. The next twelve novels enter a fantasy period from June to November 1813 with a series of exploits that would require the passage of six or more years to occur. In The Yellow Admiral, the Duke of Wellington's invasion of France from Spain, which occurred in November 1813, is mentioned followed by Aubrey's exploits lasting several months and then the coming of Christmas 1813. The series then returns to an approximate, but distorted, context inside the scope of historical events. Patrick O'Brian readily admitted to these distortions and his creation of a fantasy time to accommodate his stories.

 

I'm not saying I don't enjoy Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin novels, particularly the puns and fractured metaphors. I've read the entire series twice, but I found them to be just a substitute for the "real thing" so to speak, of Forester's Hornblower. Kind of like a heroine junkie getting by on methadone.

 

I enjoyed the movie "Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World," but if it was playing opposite "Captain Horatio Hornblower," (from a screenplay written by C. S. Forester) on TV I'd choose Hornblower in a heart beat.

 

Ernest Hemingway has been quoted as saying, "I recommend Forester to everyone literate I know." Winston Churchill stated, "I find Hornblower admirable."

 

I used the Wikipedia articles "Horatio Hornblower" and "Aubrey/Maturin Series" as references for the historical context portion of this monologue to supplement and verify my own memory of the respective series. The two quotes directly above are quoted in the Wikipedia Hornblower article.

 

Edited for typos. 

Edited by DFellingham

post-70-0-74663700-1362476559.jpg


Current Builds:  ESMERALDA Chilean Navy School Ship, 1/640 in a bottle


insanity Dan Clapp's hard water race boat in a bottle


Completed Build:  Prairie Schooner OGALLALA 1/96 in a bottle


Research Project:  Cruizer-class Brig-Sloops


 


 


"Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." - Benjamin Franklin

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Forester is good, O'Brian is better. More realistic, more rounded, more historical, more interesting.

 

 

I enjoy both but each to his own and it is all subjective to the reader in the end.

 

Let us try and keep the thread on O'Brian and not turn it into a mud-slinging attempt to praise whichever author you randomly prefer.

 

Joss

...

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  • 2 weeks later...

Add me to the list of those on their second read.

 

I wonder if others, like me, have found the second reading more enjoyable than the first?

I am finding more detail than before and being in no hurry to turn the page I can dwell on any aspect of a story that takes my fancy.

 

The canon has been my constant companion for the last two years and I cannot imagine I shall ever tire of it.

 

I give you joy,

 

Mike.

Previous Build: LA gun deck cross section.
Previous Build: Lancia Armata. Panart 1:16
Previous Build: HMS Pickle. Jotika Build.

HMS Triton cross section 1:32.

Shelved awaiting improved skills:

Chuck"s Cheerful.

Current build.

Tender Avos.

HM cutter Alert.

 

 

:

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BareHook pointed out another series by Alexander Kent that was around Richard Bolitho in which he grows from midshipmen to Admiral.

See following link

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Bolitho

 

A great series that I have read many times.

 

I have tried to read the Hornblower stories and the O'Brien series and found that I've always enjoy the Bolitho series far more.

 

To each their own. Enjoy.

 

Later 42rocker

Current Build -- Finishing a 1:1 House that I've been building for a while

Current Build -- Triton Cross Section

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LOL!!! where do I find this book?

Current Builds - 18th Century Longboat, MS Syren

Completed Builds - MS Bluenose, Panart BatteStation Cross section, Endevour J Boat Half Hull, Windego Half Hull, R/C T37 Breezing Along, R/C Victoria 32, SolCat 18

On the shelf - Panart San Felipe, Euromodel Ajax, C.Mamoli America, 

 

Its a sailor's Life for me! :10_1_10:

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Two English fans loved the books so much, and love cooking too, to the extent that they researched all the meals and foods mentioned in the O'Brian novels and wrote a cookbook! It's called Lobscouse & Spotted Dog and contains instructions and comments on such fair as: 

Skillygalee, Pig's Fry, Shrewsburry Cakes, Haggis, Turtle Soup, Pig's Trotters, Figgy-Dowdy, Drowned Baby, Dog's Nose, and also of course Lobscouse and Spotted Dog.

 

 

 

Here is the recipe for Soused Hogs Face.

 

 From the book Lobscouse & Spotted Dog by Anne Chotzinoff Grossman and Lisa Grossman Thomas

 

1 pig’s head, about 10 pounds, cleaned but not skinned

 

2 pounds (6 cups) white cornmeal

 

3 cups white wine

 

1 cup water

 

2 bay leaves

 

1 tablespoon salt

 

12 peppercorns

 

1 knob fresh ginger, sliced

 

1 nutmeg cut in half

 

Place the head in a large bucket with half the cornmeal and cold water. Soak 2 hours or longer.

 

Remove the head from the water, rinse well, and place in a large pot with the remaining cornmeal and water to cover. Bring to a boil, covered, and simmer 3 hours. Remove from pot. When it is just cool enough to handle, pick all meat from the bones. Reserve the tongue and ears.

 

Wring out a cloth in warm water. Put all the meat into the cloth and tie up as tightly as possible. Chill until firm.

 

Combine the wine, vinegar, 1 cup water, and the spices. Untie the cloth and pack the meat into a crock. Add the tongue and ears. Pour the wine mixture over the meat. Weight the meat to keep it submerged. Seal the crock and store in a cool dark place for up to 2 weeks before serving.

 

Serves 6

  

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 Niagara USS Constitution 

 

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I also have the Lobscouse & Spotted Dog cookbook.

I made the Figgy-Dowdy and it turned out great! Not for those on a diet, however :)

 

While reading the POB series I also found these references great companions during my read: A sea of words, Harbors and High Seas, and my favorite The Patrick O'Brian Muster Book!

-Doug

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  • 4 weeks later...

K, I am now deleting any posts which try and change the topic to point towards another author. This thread is for comments concerning Patrick O'Brian only and not any deep abiding loves for the Twilight series or Bolitho or bodice rippers or Janet and John or whatever.

 

Keep on topic please.

...

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I nhave just finnished "Desolation Island". Not sure what number it is in the series.

I have to say that I personly find this style of writing hard to read, and at times I lost interest.

But in saying that overall an enjoyable story.

Now I know why lots of people are interested in the 50 gun frigate "Leopard"

Cheers

Greg

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I found O'Brian's works masterful; there are few authors in English literature that can match his facility with the language, particularly the language of the 18th-19th centuries. O'Brian is a slow read for most Americans because complex, complete sentences can consume a full page! There are many examples of this writing style throughout the Aubrey/Maturin Series. I found his characters multi-dimensional and the situations and challenges they faced, complex - like real life. I have only read the series once but I may re-read them in future.

 

In the interim, I'm reading Hornblower and I'm up to the 5th book (in chronological character story sequence) and I'm enjoying them immensely. But Forester is not an English language acrobat like O'Brian. Forester is highly-regarded for his simple, straightforward writing and easy, fun reading. This said, I'm having more fun now with the Bolitho (Alexander Kent) Series. I am liking his writing and stories as much as C.S. Forester's.

 

There are other writers of nautical fiction but these three are at the top of the list; there are many, many hours of enjoyable, exciting reading between these three masters of the genre.

 

Ron

Ron

Director, Nautical Research Guild

Secretary/Newsletter Editor, Philadelphia Ship Model Society

Former Member/Secretary for the Connecticut Marine Model Society

 

Current Build: Godspeed 2, (Wyoming, 6-masted Schooner)

Completed Builds: HMS Grecian, HMS Sphinx (as HMS CamillaOngakuka Maru, (Higaki Kaisen, It Takes A Village), Le Tigre Privateer, HMS Swan, HMS Godspeed, HMS Ardent, HMS Diana, Russian brig Mercury, Elizabethan Warship Revenge, Xebec Syf'Allah, USF Confederacy, HMS Granado, USS Brig Syren

 

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  • 1 month later...

I have begun reading the Aubrey / Maturin series and am currently nearing the end of the second book (Post Captain) and have the next two books (H.M.S. Surprise and The Mauritius Command) reserved at my local library. I am kind of puzzled on Aubrey's ship the Polycrest can anyone shed some light on what it might have looked like? I have not been able to find any ships that are even close to his descriptions, in the first book he gave such detailed descriptions and measurements of the Sophie that I was able to get a clear picture in my mind of what it looked like but there's hardly any information on the Polycrest.

Thank you for your help.

 

Lextin.

"I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious." - Albert Einstein.

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Lextin,

 

This link might shed light on what you seek:  http://www.ctbasses.com/misc/BruceTrinque/  :)  :) :)  

 

There's a list here, but no pictures: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Aubrey

Mark
"The shipwright is slow, but the wood is patient." - me

Current Build:                                                                                             
Past Builds:
 La Belle Poule 1765 - French Frigate from ANCRE plans                             Triton Cross-Section   

                                                                                                                       USS Constellaton (kit bashed to 1854 Sloop of War  _(Gallery) Build Log

                                                                                Wasa (Gallery)

                                                                                                                        HMS Sphinx 1775 - Vanguard Models - 1:64               

 

Non-Ship Model:                                                                                         On hold, maybe forever:           

CH-53 Sikorsky - 1:48 - Revell - Completed                                                   Licorne - 1755 from Hahn Plans (Scratch) Version 2.0 (Abandoned)         

         

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

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I am kind of puzzled on Aubrey's ship the Polycrest can anyone shed some light on what it might have looked like?

 

Polychrest is very similar to the two Dart-class sloops, Dart and Arrow. More information here:

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Polychrest

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Arrow_(1796)

 

Here's an oil painting by Francis Sartorius, dated 1805, of Arrow and Acheron in action against the French frigates Hortense and Incorruptible, 4 February 1805, from the NMM collection.

 

post-70-0-39525000-1376814317_thumb.jpg

 

And a close-up of Arrow.

 

post-70-0-94764800-1376814319_thumb.jpg

 

NMM also has the original plans for Arrow and Darthttp://collections.rmg.co.uk/collections.html#!csearch;authority=subject-90660;collectionReference=subject-90660;innerSearchTerm=arrow+1796

Edited by DFellingham

post-70-0-74663700-1362476559.jpg


Current Builds:  ESMERALDA Chilean Navy School Ship, 1/640 in a bottle


insanity Dan Clapp's hard water race boat in a bottle


Completed Build:  Prairie Schooner OGALLALA 1/96 in a bottle


Research Project:  Cruizer-class Brig-Sloops


 


 


"Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." - Benjamin Franklin

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I nhave just finnished "Desolation Island". Not sure what number it is in the series.

I have to say that I personly find this style of writing hard to read, and at times I lost interest.

But in saying that overall an enjoyable story.

Now I know why lots of people are interested in the 50 gun frigate "Leopard"

Cheers

Greg

 

Greg Desolation Island is the fifth in the series,you need to start with no.1 "Master and Commander" 

The following two companion books add much to the 18 book series

Harbors and High Seas ...An Atlas and Geographical Guide to the Complete Aubrey-Maturin Novels of Patrick O'Brian

A sea of Words...ALexicon and Companion to the Complete Seafaring Tales of Patrick O'Brian

 

nunc et in hora mortis nostrae

Edited by mischief
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