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Old 09-22-2016, 05:33 PM   #1
CRussel
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Discussion: Post Captain (Aubrey/Maturin #2)

Discussion: Post Captain (Aubrey/Maturin #2)
The second book in Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin series finds our two protagonists headed home from the Mediterranean to find peace has arrived in England following the Treaty of Amiens. Without a ship, he and Stephen begin to live the lives of country gentlemen, hunting, entertaining and enjoying more amorous adventures.

Their comfortable existence, however, is cut short when Jack is overnight reduced to a pauper with enough debts to keep him in prison for life. He flees to the continent to seek refuge: instead he finds himself a hunted fugitive as Napoleon has ordered the internment of all Englishmen in France. Dr Stephen Maturin, spy and surgeon, leads Jack to the his Spanish castle. When they finally manage to escape, a jealous cuckold assigns Jack to an experimental and poorly-built ship on poorly-conceived mission.

The escape through France to Stephen's ruined castle is one of the few bits of absolute slapstick in the books, but it IS funny.

From the Amazon description:
Quote:
Amazon Review
The year is 1803, and that scalawag Napoleon Bonaparte has gone to war again. For Captain Jack Aubrey, who has fled to France to escape his creditors, this is doubly alarming news. In short order the captain is interned, makes his escape across the French countryside, and leads a ship into battle. And again, his adventures are cleverly counterpointed by those of his alter ego Stephen Maturin.
Review
“The best historical novels ever written.” (New York Times)

“They're funny, they're exciting, they're informative.... There are legions of us who would gladly ship out time and time again under Captain Aubrey.” (The New Yorker)

“The best thing afloat since Horatio Hornblower.” (Observer)

“Aubrey and Maturin compose one of those complex and fascinating pairs of characters which have inspired thrilling stories of all kinds since the Iliad.” (Iris Murdoch and John Bayley)
Please use this thread to discuss Post Captain as you read it. Rather than wait to open the discussion until everyone has had an opportunity to read the entire book, we'll open the thread early so you can comment as you go on. Please exercise appropriate discretion to avoid spoiling too much too quickly, of course, but honestly, we want to hear what you think. Whether it's about the actual book, or the specifics of a particular version of the book. (Some of us are listening to audio versions, of which there are at least four that I'm aware of.)
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Last edited by CRussel; 09-22-2016 at 06:18 PM. Reason: Added Cover
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Old 09-22-2016, 05:48 PM   #2
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The bear still makes me laugh.

I don't think I'm spoiling anything by saying that it's with this book that the series starts to take shape. Sophie and Diana become major characters, Stephen's role as a spy is more than implied, Jack will continue to have money problems. And the bits where Jack avoids getting nobbled for his debts are every bit as funny as the bear.
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Old 09-22-2016, 06:01 PM   #3
CRussel
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Post Captain is 492 pages long, and is available at the following locations:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Audible US (Patrick Tull narration, my personal favourite)

Audible UK (Ric Jerrom Narration)

OverDrive Audio
(Simon Vance narration, issybird's favourite)

Kobo UK

I'll be reading this and listening to the Patrick Tull narration, primarily.
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Old 09-22-2016, 06:15 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by issybird View Post
The bear still makes me laugh.

I don't think I'm spoiling anything by saying that it's with this book that the series starts to take shape. Sophie and Diana become major characters, Stephen's role as a spy is more than implied, Jack will continue to have money problems. And the bits where Jack avoids getting nobbled for his debts are every bit as funny as the bear.
Indeed, this book introduces critical characters, and a great deal about the difference between Jack ashore and Jack at sea. We've still a couple of important characters to find their way to us, but this book is, in many ways, the first book in the series, with Master and Commander almost a prequel.

It also starts in on giving us a feel for the England of the time. The whole question of debtor's prison being something that North American's don't quite get.
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Old 09-23-2016, 08:04 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CRussel View Post
Indeed, this book introduces critical characters, and a great deal about the difference between Jack ashore and Jack at sea. We've still a couple of important characters to find their way to us, but this book is, in many ways, the first book in the series, with Master and Commander almost a prequel.

It also starts in on giving us a feel for the England of the time. The whole question of debtor's prison being something that North American's don't quite get.
As an American I must admit I don't quite get it. How could you make any money to repay your debts if you were in prison? I heard a story on NPR a while back about places in the modern US where people get sentenced to jail because they couldn't pay a court-ordered fee for some minor offense - again, how will they ever be able to pay if they're in jail?
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Old 09-23-2016, 08:17 PM   #6
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The first time I read this book, I mostly didn't like it. It seemed to drag with no direction. On a reread after getting to book 9, I find I really like it for all the introductions to characters that inhabit the books that follow. If it's your first time through, persevere. You'll appreciate it in the end.
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Old Yesterday, 12:40 AM   #7
CRussel
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4691mls View Post
As an American I must admit I don't quite get it. How could you make any money to repay your debts if you were in prison?
The idea, I believe, is to force your friends and relatives to come up with the money. Since you'd obviously shown you couldn't.
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