Sunday, September 02, 2007

The end of an era

This morning I finished reading "Blue at the Mizzen" the 20th book in Patrick O'Brien's Aubrey/Maturin series. This is the last complete book in the series (there is a partial unfinished work that has also been published) and I read it really slowly to spin it out.

These books are rip-roaring accounts of Napoleonic seafaring and fighting, based on the life and activities of the fictional Jack Aubrey, the sea captain, and Steven Maturin the surgeon/spy.

For the last several years since I discovered this series they have been such a treat for me. I have not rushed through the series (as I sometimes do) but have saved them for vacations and business trips when I can really enjoy the narrative and the language of these stories. Mostly I have been getting the books out of the library, but have a few in the series that I particularly enjoyed.

The Patrick O'Brien books were the basis for the Russell Crowe film "Master and Commander" which is a combination of stories and characters from multiple books. I did enjoy the movie too, it was pretty close to the books and I liked the casting (although suspect Russell Crowe is maybe too good looking to be a true Jack the books he is decribed as florid and overweight, but I liked to think that he might be handsome).

Sometimes reading fiction can open up a world of information, and these novels sent me reading other non-fiction works about Napoleonic sea life, and also to HMS Victory when we were last in the UK. It's great when the boys ask me questions about pirates, because I can answer a lot of the questions...

I'm told (Diane) that these are 'men's books' but I can recommend them to anyone of either sex who likes a good story, with a strong narrative, lots of excitement, and some interesting characters! I'm sorry that I have finished the series, but maybe now I can look forward to re-reading them.

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