Last year I read Master and Commander, the first in a 21 (!) book series by Patrick O’Brian. I loved it.
Post Captain continues the misadventures of captain Jack Aubrey and his surgeon friend, Stephen Maturin. Picking up right after Master and Commander, it is a brief rare season of peace between England, France, and Spain. As often happens with sailors with too much time on their hands, they quickly fall into debt and love. Jack is enraptured with the young heiress Sophia Williams, and Stephen falls for the unconventional widow Diana Villiers. The first half of the book almost reads like a Jane Austen novel told from the man’s (are there any real men in those books?) perspective.
Thankfully, war breaks out and the boys leave land behind to sink, plunder, and generally harass the French enemy.
As usual Patrick O’Brian’s distinctive writing style, while taking some getting used to, takes the breath away and draws the reader in. The action was bigger, the romance greater, and the development of the often contentious relationship between Aubrey and Maturin was delightful. I also enjoyed the insights on leadership, as Jack learns to maintain discipline and good morale amongst the crew of his ship.
I can’t wait to read the next one!
“It is unjust to provoke a man and then complain he is a satyr if the provocation succeeds.”
“How helpless a man is, against direct attack by a woman.”
“The sailor, at sea (his proper element), lives in the present. There is nothing he can do about the past at all; and having regard to the uncertainty of the omnipotent ocean and the weather, very little about the future.”
“Ever since I was breeched I have pined to see a narwhal.”