The Surgeon’s Mate is the seventh book in the Aubrey/Maturin series written by Patrick O’Brian. This historical fiction novel was published in 1980 and continues the adventures of Captain Jack Aubrey and his friend, ship’s surgeon Stephen Maturin, during the Napoleonic Wars.
The story begins with Captain Aubrey being relieved of his command due to a misunderstanding that led to the loss of his ship, HMS Lively. He is then sent on a diplomatic mission to Chile, where he hopes to secure supplies and support for the British war effort. Meanwhile, Dr. Maturin is dealing with personal issues as he discovers that his wife, Diana Villiers, has been unfaithful to him.
Aubrey’s journey to Chile is fraught with challenges and dangers. He faces treacherous seas, encounters hostile natives, and deals with political intrigue. Along the way, he manages to secure a new ship, HMS Surprise, which becomes his command for the remainder of the series.
In Chile, Aubrey successfully negotiates an alliance with the local authorities and secures much-needed supplies for the British navy. However, his success is short-lived as he receives news of Napoleon’s escape from Elba and the resumption of hostilities. Aubrey must now make his way back to England as quickly as possible to join the war effort.
Meanwhile, Maturin’s personal life takes a turn for the worse as he learns that Diana has left him for another man. Devastated by this betrayal, Maturin throws himself into his work as a surgeon and intelligence agent for the British government. He accompanies Aubrey on his journey back to England and continues to provide medical assistance to the crew.
During their voyage home, Aubrey and Maturin encounter various challenges including storms, battles with enemy ships, and encounters with privateers. They also face internal conflicts within their own crew, as tensions rise and personal rivalries come to the forefront.
Upon their return to England, Aubrey and Maturin find themselves embroiled in a political scandal involving corruption within the Admiralty. They must navigate these treacherous waters while also dealing with personal issues and the ongoing war with Napoleon.
The Surgeon’s Mate is a thrilling and action-packed installment in the Aubrey/Maturin series. It explores themes of loyalty, friendship, love, and duty amidst the backdrop of war and political intrigue. O’Brian’s meticulous attention to historical detail and his vivid portrayal of life at sea make this book a compelling read for fans of historical fiction and naval adventures.
The Surgeon’s Mate
- Aubrey/Maturin Series, Book 7
- Narrated by: Patrick Tull
Jack Aubrey, Captain of the British Royal Navy, was filled with happiness. Shannon’s skirmish with the American Chesapeake off the coast of New England resulted in the victory, just another win in that long streak for Aubrey, nicknamed Lucky Jack because he tends to win. big. But Jack is more uncertain by land than by sea. Trying his best to conceal from his wife Sophie the details of an undesired relationship with a child-demanding woman, and grappling with speculators trying to rob him of everything he’s ever robbed, Jack is performing poorly in civilized life.
Meanwhile, his best friend, surgeon and scientist Stephen Maturin, is enjoying unprecedented success. Possessing papers that would have left Napoleon empty-handed, Stephen supplemented his espionage activities by giving lectures at the French Institute on such rarity as Rodriguez’s extinct bird fauna, and by spending company time with fiery Diana Villiers.
I read the Aubrey-Maturin series and fell in love from the very first page. Hearing Mr. Tull read them aloud only made me happier. He doesn’t overdo his characterization of various characters and his humorous British wit is as clear as bells. Very, highly recommended!
The Surgeon’s Mate features great characters, adventure, nature research, history, and romance. This is my second reading of the series and this time it was just as good. It’s so rich in detail that I captured things that I didn’t appreciate on my first reading. I will regret it when I finish all the books a second time. I recommend it.
Great yarn. Completely absorbed in the entire series so far. Can’t seem to stop or rest. Looking forward to every opportunity to hear the next chapter!
If you’ve enjoyed the other books in the series, this one won’t disappoint. Good twists, turns and adventures. Patrick Tull deserves credit for bringing these books to life amazingly. He is one of the best readers I have met.
The readers in this series are really good. Anyone looking for stories of romance, deep friendship, action and adventure should read or listen to this series.
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