H.M.S. Surprise

Version: Unabridged
Author: Patrick O'Brian
Narrator: Simon Vance
Genres: Fiction & Literature, Historical Fiction
Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks
Published In: April 2004
# of Units: 10 CDs
Length: 12 hours
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Third in the series of Aubrey-Maturin adventures, this book is set among the strange sights and smells of the Indian subcontinent and in the distant waters ploughed by the ships of the East India Company. Aubrey is on the defensive, pitting wits and seamanship against an enemy enjoying overwhelming local superiority. But somewhere in the Indian Ocean lies the prize that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams: the ships sent by Napoleon to attack the China Fleet.

Reviews (1)

HMS Surprise

Written by Chris Poulos on May 3rd, 2008

  • Book Rating: 4/5

As a big fan of Aubrey-Maturin, I've read the whole collection, and enjoyed O'Brian showing me a picture, better still allowing me to experience first or second hand as it were life in the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars. While some may tire of the authors frequent lengthy descriptive discourses, I liken it to an ocean voyage of that era...time often suspended at the whim of the winds and weather conditions. O'Brian and the actor that reads to me brings history to life in his portrayal of ultimate sea hero (Aubrey) and his particular friend the contrapunctal Maturin; spy and naturalist. While ashore, his Diana Villiers and the Aubrey's wife Sophia "flesh-out" and add historical relevance of the era. For those who listen, I would recommend the companion, "A Sea of Words", by Dean King which is a glossary and most excellent reference book describing the actual ships, people and events that make up the fiber of the fabric O'Brian weaves.

Author Details

Author Details

O'Brian, Patrick

Patrick O'Brian's acclaimed Aubrey/Maturin series of historical novels has been described as "a masterpiece" (David Mamet, New York Times), "addictively readable" (Patrick T. Reardon, Chicago Tribune), and "the best historical novels ever written" (Richard Snow, New York Times Book Review), which "should have been on those lists of the greatest novels of the 20th century" (George Will).Set in the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars, O'Brian's twenty-volume series centers on the enduring friendship between naval officer Jack Aubrey and physician (and spy) Stephen Maturin. The Far Side of the World, the tenth book in the series, was adapted into a 2003 film directed by Peter Weir and starring Russell Crowe and Paul Bettany. The film was nominated for ten Oscars, including Best Picture. The books are now available in hardcover, paperback, and e-book format.In addition to the Aubrey/Maturin novels, Patrick O'Brian wrote several books including the novels Testimonies, The Golden Ocean, and The Unknown Shore, as well as biographies of Joseph Banks and Picasso. He translated many works from French into English, among them the novels and memoirs of Simone de Beauvoir, the first volume of Jean Lacouture's biography of Charles de Gaulle, and famed fugitive Henri Cherriere's memoir Papillon. O'Brian died in January 2000.