Patrick O’Brian


Treason’s Harbour

Aubrey/Maturin Book 9


I broke my usual habit of forcing myself to wait at least a few months before moving on to the next book in the series, but I’m only human. Again, it’s such a rare pleasure to not be disappointed by sequels – despite having high expectations.


Once again O’Brian delivers exotic locations and people, interesting twists of plot, fascinating historical perspectives, and all within an utterly satisfying frame, both of the individual novel, and part of the over-story.


I will say that, perhaps Aubrey-like, his attention doesn’t descend much beyond Lieutenant level: while we get nuanced officers, below decks we don’t move so much beyond caricatures. We can distinguish between various sailors, but they are painted in broader strokes, more likely to be merely comical, and pretty uniformly unintelligent and dissolute if not kept under a firm hand at sea.


Still, even this is a mile above the utter facelessness of the crews of most fictional fleets.


I do feel my pleasure is greater by measuring out these books rather than glutting myself … but it is difficult. I am tempted by the approach one amazon person who posted on a prior review: nah, just read them all, then go back to the start again!


July 2012