Master and Commander

I was looking for something to transport me to another world. I usually get his urge after reading a string of crime and spy novels, which I’ve done lately. I went in to this book wanting a Game of Thrones or Millennium Trilogy type of original escape, but I didn’t get it. It was close, but there were hurdles.

This is a twenty book series describing the life and times of British Navy Captain Jack Aubrey and his friend/cohort ship’s doctor Stephen Maturin. It is set during the Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815) and depicts many historical events. I’ve heard people rave about this series for years and it garners many favorable reviews, including a somewhat cultish following that I sense.

I liked it, but I struggled with the jargon. There’s a ton of seafaring¬†inside baseball. The author, Patrick O’Brian, makes no effort to dumb down the ships, the battles, and the setting. I struggled to follow what was going on and I found it difficult to place the battles within in the historical setting. I guess I could get up to speed on the time period, but I don’t think I’m going to spend the time. I’ll probably just move on to the second book shortly and see if I can get into it.

The relationship between Aubrey and Maturin has a lot of promise. I can see myself becoming interested in how the two distinct personalities deal with the adventures they face over the next nineteen books, but if all they’re doing is sailing around the Mediterranean fighting the French and Spanish, I’ll probably get pretty bored. I’ve done a little research, and I don’t think there is much risk of this, so I’ll certainly grab book two the next time I see it in paperback.