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  • Master and Commander

  • Aubrey-Maturin Series, Book 1
  • By: Patrick O'Brian
  • Narrated by: Ric Jerrom
  • Length: 15 hrs and 49 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (390 ratings)

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Master and Commander cover art

Master and Commander

By: Patrick O'Brian
Narrated by: Ric Jerrom
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Publisher's Summary

Master and Commander is the first of Patrick O’Brian’s now famous Aubrey-Maturin novels, regarded by many as the greatest series of historical novels ever written. It establishes the friendship between Captain Jack Aubrey RN and Stephen Maturin, who becomes his secretive ship’s surgeon and an intelligence agent. It displays the qualities which have put O’Brian far ahead of any of his competitors: his depiction of the detail of life aboard an early 19th century man-of-war, of weapons, food, conversation and ambience, of the landscape and of the sea. O’Brian’s portrayal of each of these is faultless and the sense of period throughout is acute. His power of characterisation is above all masterly. Ric Jerrom reads this classic sea story from Patrick O’Brien.

©2014 Audible, Inc.; 1970 The Estate of the late Patrick O’Brien CBE

What listeners say about Master and Commander

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • A
  • 20-07-2016

The whole series is excellent

As with all series, some stories are better than others, but if you are into Jack and Stephen you won't really care, you can't skip a book because it isn't quite up to the others. Having read them all many years ago I am now listening on the drive to work, which means I sometimes have to sit in the car waiting for an especially exciting segment to come to a climax. It is a good thing I am in the country because the excitement of the sea battles can be a little distracting. The wonderful descriptions of the life at sea, and the brief periods on land are thoroughly researched. The quieter interludes provided by the philosophical musings of Stephen would not be to everyone taste, but provide a more intellectual stimulation in contrast to the rest.They are a very humane pair, particularly Jack, who knocks an incompetent footpad on the head, then not knowing what to do about the unconscious body on land, carries him home and gives him to Stephen to nurse back to health, then, feeling a vague responsibility for him, they give him a job. I am very happy in the knowledge that I have many more of them to listen to.

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7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Capital story, and well read indeed, sir!

I started reading this series of books a few years back, and got through many but couldn't resist when I saw them on Audible. Very glad I did, as the vocal performance is really well done - accents, tone and pace all contributing to the book. This story won't suit everyone, and the dialogue is filled with archaic mannerisms and nautical terms but it's a classic sea-story that brings the Napoleonic wars to life.

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4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent in detail and drama

I enjoyed every aspect of this book, though some of the sailing details were beyond me. I had read the book previously and listening to it confirmed my opinion of its quality.

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4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Failure to communicate with the audience

Would you try another book written by Patrick O'Brian or narrated by Ric Jerrom?

I will probably listen to another by by Ric Jerrom, by another book by O'Brian is too much effort to even comprehend

What could Patrick O'Brian have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

The reviews say this book is historically accurate, but it's biggest failing of this book lies with it failure to communicate with the reader. It is more or less irrelevant how accurate the author is, if words fail to have any real meaning.
Right from the beginning, the reading in met with the bewildering array of navel terms that, of course, have little, to no, relevance to the common reader.
It's not until about a third of the way through the book that any of these terms are explained, even then, I hope you have a notebook with you. You're going to need it.
Unfortunately, the navel references are almost exclusively what is used to describe the environment and setting. So, not only is the read left feeling a bit thick, but also very lost and confused.
Authors can create entire worlds and culture in one's mind. They are rich, engaging and wonderful. This guy couldn't even create a boat. The book was more of an exercise and demonstration in linguistic and navel knowledge, than a story for enjoyment by the reader.

If you are historical navel expert or a boating enthusiast, this book is for you. For any one else don't bother, it's too much work.

What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

Performance was probably great. I was just so distracted by wildly uncomfortable story. It makes it hard to judge objectively.

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4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

The best of the series

Having read all the books in the series three times and this is the second listening I consider that this first book is amongst the best. It is such a pity that no one has written a similar account of the Navy's actions of this period as O'Brian.

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3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Book not suitable for audio

After several hours of listening to technical seamen terms - none of which make sense without a picture or google nearby - I gave up. Might be nice if you can SEE how the ship is rigged, but if you can't, listening to meaningless technical terms becomes dull very quickly. (And Ai am an engineer AND sailing enthusiast!)

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2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • S
  • 15-07-2019

great book great series. Narator not so much

20th centuries greatest series of novels. needed a better narrator to match standard of story

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1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • V
  • 20-07-2016

a must!

I LOVED it ..just as everyone said O'brian is an àmazing author, technical depth and full characters...superb narraror, rich with accents and never falted..he even sings well!.

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1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Story line

Was a good listen had me looking for more by the end of the book

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

sublime historical maritime fiction

Beautifully read and performed.
It is an absolute pleasure to share Jack and Stephen's adventures.

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