Master and Commander (Aubrey & Maturin #1) (1969)

by Patrick O'Brian

Captain Jack Aubrey and Dr. Stephen Maturin begin their long friendship and association during the Napoleonic Wars, when Maturin agrees to become the physician for Aubrey's ship, even though he is greatly over-qualified for the job. 

Author Patrick O’Brian is an astonishing author.


Patrick O' Brian

There is plenty of action in this novel, but O’Brian is most interested in the psychology and emotions of his two major characters and the many individual personalities in the crew.


These are related in brilliant prose, with great humor and a talent for uncovering the telling detail that reveals O’Brian’s deep understanding of human psychology.


The novel is very immersive, delivering passages and conversations that are dense with detail about the 19th century British Navy.


Some of this is explained to the reader, via the character of Maturin, who is new to Navy life, but if this novel has a flaw, it is that I was sometimes not completely sure about just what was going on. 

However, to the author’s credit, the stakes for his characters are always very clear.


I am delighted at the thought that there are still nineteen novels in this series for me to discover.

"First Command" (Italian)

"Rider of the Wind" (Turkish)

"Sloop Commander" (Czech)

"Master and Commander" (Romanian)

"Captain of Sea and War" (Spanish)

"Course for Spain's Coast" (German)

"Raging Seas: Captains and Commanders" (Chinese)

"Master of the Seas" (Portuguese)

"Master of the Seas: Commander and Navigator" (Russian)


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