❰Read❯ ➯ Desolation Island Author Patrick O'Brian – Uroturk.info
But I was forgetting all is grist to your grisly millPatrick O Brian, Desolation IslandI m only five books into this series, but I must declare that I love these books like I love ice water on the beach, or hot chocolate with a warm blanket on a Fall night Rarely do I find a writer that amazes and seduces me with his her technical skill, prose, poetry, and sense of humanity I ve said the same thing of John le Carr , but I really do feel that when a lot of the bones and books of our modern classics are dead, bleached, buried and forgotten, this series will be still published, read and loved Patrick O Brian captures a certain dynamic element of what it means to be alive, to love, to kill, to scheme, and to befriend The relationship between Captain Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin is one of the great friendships in literature EVER I say that after ONLY reading 1 4 of the series I can t imagine that O Brian can sustain this level of resonance, but I have said that before when I first heard Bach s Violin Concertos I had still yet to discover all the other pieces Bach had in his repertoire I am older and humbler now I am prepared to be humbled by future O Brian masterpieces. This is one of my favorites from the series It contains what I believe to be arguably the most riveting sea chase in any novel Captain Aubrey is to take the Leopard, a two deck ship of fifty guns to Botany Bay to come to the aid of William Bligh yes that William Bligh of the Bounty who is now Governor of New South Wales and seems to have yet another mutiny on his hands On route, they are chased by the Waakzaamheid, a Dutch ship of the line three decks of 74 guns into the far southern ocean where a building storm pushes waves sixty, eighty, one hundred feet high The Leapard is becalmed in the troughs between the waves while the taller Waakzaamheid is getting closer and closer Captain Aubrey orders the ship to be lightened in an attempt to escape Over the side goes stores, water, and finally the guns All but two which are placed in the stern cabin to fire at the gaining enemy ship Like a roller coaster the two vessels climb up the face of the huge waves then down into the valley between all he time firing at each other as the distance between them shrinks. After four books in the company of Captain Jack Aubrey and Doctor Stephen Maturin I have come to expect the best entertainment, the best historical and maritime instructions from each of their new voyages The fifth book is no exception, I would even venture to say it is an improvement over the fourth Jack Aubrey reached a pinnacle in his career during the Mauritius campaign, commanding the entire expeditionary force and expanding his tactical acumen to a larger playing board, with several ships and several difficult captains to keep under control Maturin played a discreet role there, and there were political considerations than plain sailing I am glad to return now to a rekindling of the friendship between the two protagonists, to a focused plot with only one ship under Aubrey s command, and to actual sailing of the high seas.Like many of the previous novels, the first chapters take place onshore in England, where Jack is enjoying most of the time the company of his expanding family twin girls and a small boy and the affluence brought by prize money There are dark clouds on his horizon though, as the amazing talents Jack demonstrates aboard ship prove to be less helpful to him on dry land, when his innocence and amiable temper is abused by crooks and profiteersI am not disloyal, Stephen, not in my least, most secret thought, but it breaks my heart to see him flinging his fortune to the winds, earned so hard, with such dreadful wounds to see his dear open confiding trustful nature imposed upon by vulgar card sharpers and horse racing men and projectors it s like deceiving a child His wife and his friends want to send him back sailing, before he throws away all his wealth Stephen is also ready for a new voyage, something to take his mind off his opium addiction and off his doomed love for the beautiful Diana Villiers, who lands him once again in trouble The Admiralty obliges and sends them both with an old ship to Australia, with a mission to investigate a new mutiny against Captain Bligh and an extra cargo of convicts, among them an American lady caught spying view spoiler and, incredible as it seems, a stowaway hide spoiler Though a second reading is less uncomfortable than the first the edge of the seat is so sharp, and bad for circulation this is still an exciting, dare I say epic installment of the adventures of Aubrey and Maturin With few sentences, O Brian lets us infer a tragic story and a driving hatred that create the climactic chase of the book One of my favorite P.O B books.Further thoughts on the fourth or fifth reading This book is a classic out of the frying pan, into the fire adventure From the sharp practices of landsmen on rich sailors to a vicious blow in the Bay of Biscay, and on and on into and pressing perils It should not be missed.More than that, I might also say that it represents a crisis in Maturin s affairs the point where it must be shown if hatred of Napoleon and love of the natural world are strong enough to maintain a man s interest in life when he has a broken heart.A crucial installment in the series by any accounting Also, of course, so well written that a professor of mine in grad school used a section of it to illustrate effective sentence construction. For me, Desolation Island is where Aubrey Maturin settle into a comfortable familiarity with their readers, and the rhythm of these books, their own fine and sonorous strings, takes their ultimate shape.There is confidence in Patrick O Brian s writing at this point, and one no longer has any sense that he is worried about whether or not the next book will happen, nor any fear over where his Captain and his Doctor are going to take him This is purely speculative on my part, of course, but I imagine this was the moment when O Brian knew he d be writing about these men for the rest of his life, and he was quite comfortable with his realization.Yet I ve never found Desolation Island to be a standout for me This was my third time through, and I was mildly surprised to realize how much of this book I had forgotten In fact, the only two parts of the story that stayed in my memory were the chase with the Dutch 74 Gun Waakzaamheid and the poor old Leopard s time in the lea of Desolation Island itself I am not sure that the gaps in my memory are actually a problem, though I don t feel O Brian needs to be criticized for my failure to remember Louisa Wogan Michael Herapath, nor the wounds some of my favourites suffer, nor the whole set up for their voyage to Australia It is than likely my fault, and those parts of the story were certainly satisfying this time through, especially the time O Brian took with Herapath There is something about that character I quite adored this time around His naivete Perhaps But I think it is rather likely that Dr Maturin s affection for the young man rubbed off on me, loving Dr Maturin as I do Dr Maturen and Capt Jack Aubrey are, after all, my good friends these days And their opinions matter to me Strange that characters on a page represented by little black symbols on white backgrounds can mean so much to me and the way I think, but it does. This was my second Aubrey Maturin book, and I chose it because this was how the plot description went Commissioned to rescue Governor Bligh of Bounty fame, Captain Jack Aubrey and his friend and surgeon Stephen Maturin sail the Leopard to Australia with a hold full of convicts Among them is a beautiful and dangerous spy and a treacherous disease that decimates the crew Holy shit, look at all that stuff Mutineers Sexy lady spies Plagues What isn t to like here First, a few corrections to the slightly misleading synopsis although we spend a lot of time discussing Admiral Bligh in the opening chapters, he s basically forgotten as soon as we get on the ship, and we never actually get to meet him the sexy lady spy doesn t do anything except have a boring affair with a crewman and write some letters which are promptly intercepted and decoded by Maturin with no effort, because Maturin is awesome and the disease is syphilis Because if the ship is going to have lady convicts on board, one of them is going to sleep with the entire crew and spread it all over the damn place Ladies, amirite Okay, to be fair, there s also a lot of scurvy related disease going around it s not a very fun ship , but people mostly complain about the venereal disease So yes, the synopsis was a bit misleading But wait yes, we don t get to meet Bligh But that s because the Leopard gets waylaid en route to Australia by a vastly larger and better armed Dutch ship, and a drawn out chase and sea battle ensues, when Jack Aubrey has to try to beat a ship with dozens guns and hundreds hands than he has And after the battle, the Leopard strikes an iceberg and springs a leak, and Aubrey has to find land in the Arctic while his supplies dwindle and his ship slowly sinks, and it gives us this great, touching scene where Aubrey writes a letter to his wife explaining their dire situation It was when he came to this that the shift between himself and the present broke down, vanished entirely It had been with him ever since that remote day of the Waakzaamheid, this sense of observing the world from a distance, and of moving, functioning, through duty than intimate concern and the moment of its breaking, of his coming wholly to life, was exquisitely painful It s a lot interesting that anything Bligh could have provided, I m pretty sure And the lady spy Louisa Wogan has a subdued, but fascinating storyline The unspoken attraction between her and Maturin is very subtly and sweetly done, and did I mention that he steals and decodes her letters Because, oh yeah, Stephen Maturin is totally a spy I knew that this was a plot point in the series, having read about it in other people s reviews, but this was the first time I got to see the adventures of Stephen Maturin, Surgeon Spy for myself It s pretty cool While not exactly edge of your seat thrilling like I said, the most exciting thing that happens is a bunch of letter writing and decoding the subtle way that Maturin manipulates events and people without their realization is really cool to watch In fact, it s so subtle that I still don t really understand the mechanics of all the spy drama, but in the same way that I can t understand a single word of ship lingo, my lack of comprehension didn t diminish my enjoyment of watching Maturin do his thing As for the trouble causing ladies spreading syphilis all over the ship, it goes over about as well as you can imagine But I suppose we can t have everything. It was not until the final words of the pursuit sequence that I realized I had been holding my breath An enormous, momentary turmoil of black hull and white water, flying spars, rigging that streamed wild for a second, and then nothing at all but the great hill of green grey with foam racing upon it My God, oh my God, he said Six hundred men. By the time any reader of O Brian s roman fleuve has made it this far, they know that the writing, the characterizations, the mix of history and fiction, humor and horror, romance and philosophy are all brilliantly handled, so no need to effuse in detail.On a fifth and beyond reading, certain patterns emerge the spy Mrs Wogan in certain regards seems a trial for another female character who will appear later At least as interesting is Maturin s troubled internal accounting for his actions in deliberately misleading people he cares for, for the sake of poisoning Bonaparte s intelligence service The fact that he believes the couple will be unharmed they are merely the messenger, without being aware of the dangerous message they carry enables the reader to sympathize.Meanwhile, Jack has to deal with the horrible old Leopard, historically accurate a badly built 50 gun war ship, whose captain in 1807 added to its many drawbacks by firing on an unprepared American vessel in order to seize sailors from it While dealing with the ship s vagaries, he is chased by an inimical Dutch captain in a well built 74, with three times the men This is one of O Brian s best sea chases, absolutely riveting.Until this book, each of the previous could be said to stand on its own, aside from the introduction of Jack and Stephen and their situations Book four, The Mauritius Command, is as near as O Brian comes to a complete tale But with this book, not one but several story arcs are launched, that are going to take a number of books to fully resolve, with only one remaining arc from earlier reaching an emotional nexus.Anyone who has come this far learns to have the next volume waiting. O Brian S Aubrey Maturin Series, Novels Of The Royal Navy In The Napoleonic Wars, Is A Masterpiece It Will Outlive Most Of Today S Putative Literary Gems As Sherlock Holmes Has Outlived Bulwer Lytton, As Mark Twain Has Outlived Charles Reade David Mamet, New York TimesCommissioned To Rescue Governor Bligh Of Bounty Fame, Captain Jack Aubrey And His Friend And Surgeon Stephen Maturin Sail The Leopard To Australia With A Hold Full Of Convicts Among Them Is A Beautiful And Dangerous Spy And A Treacherous Disease That Decimates The Crew Excellent, as always I can t say enough about this series It requires some work from the reader, or the willingness of the reader to simply not understand some of it What I mean is, writers of historical fiction have a choice to make explain every custom, odd phrase, popular dish, law anything that the contemporary reader might not know about that period Doing that, he or she has to slow the action down and explain, explain, explain.But O Brian never does that Never And we re talking parts of an 18th century warship, sailing terms, seas, winds, weather.not to mention customs, turns of phrase Point is, he plunges the reader into the Napoleonic wars, and you become immersed.His main characters are great lucky Jack Aubrey, the brilliant man at sea, somewhat lost on land Good hearted, brave And his companion, Stephen Maturin physician, naturalist and spy Between the two, you see the whole world of the time Jack s courting of his future bridepriceless Stephen s broken heart over the wily, beautiful woman also a spy.It s not just he man stuff, though I think men will enjoy it But it isn t just ships and sailing It s a whole world of places and characters.This one is about a voyage gone wrong sickness aboard, a so so crew, prisoners causing complications, weatherand then pursuit by a seemingly suicidal adversary The battle between the ships in heavy seas.the ships rising and falling on mountainous swellsis almost cinematic in vivid description and suspense Give this series a shot.