The Letter of Marque

The Letter of Marque by Patrick O’Brian


Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey-Maturin tales are widely acknowledged to be the greatest series of historical novels ever written. Now, for the first time, they are available in electronic book format, so a whole new generation of readers can be swept away on the adventure of a lifetime. This is the twelfth book in the series.

Jack Aubrey is a naval officer, a post-captain of experience and capacity. When The Letter of Marque opens he has been struck off the Navy List for a crime he has not committed. With Aubrey is his friend and ship’s surgeon Stephen Maturin, who is also an unofficial British intelligence agent. Maturin has bought for Aubrey his old ship the Surprise, so that the misery of ejection from the service can be palliated by the command of what Aubrey calls a ‘private man-of-war’ – a letter of marque, a privateer. Together they sail on a voyage which, if successful, might restore Aubrey to the rank, and the raison d’etre, whose loss he so much regrets.

Around these simple, ostensibly familar elements Patrick O’Brian has written a novel of great narrative power, exploring his extraordinary world once more, in a tale full of human feeling and rarely matched in its drama.

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1 thought on “The Letter of Marque

  1. The late Patrick O’Brian was one of , if not the, best maritime story tellers of all time. His series about Captain Aubrey and the surgeon Stephen Maturin is both a fascinating education about life at the turn of the previous century, and a totally engaging story that I find hard to put down.

    I’ve read the entire series of around 20 books along with several companion books by other authors. The Letter of the Marque is one of my favourites as it brings home the reality of State sanctioned piracy, something in which my own ancestors engaged.

    The relationship between the two men, in addition to the various other characters throughout the series, is quirky, unusual and yet totally convincing. The historical accuracy, especially in all nautical matters is perfect.

    I love the sea and reading maritime stories, I think you may need to to really enjoy this book, but if you share my interest, I promise you will not be disappointed. One word of caution though, you may want to get to this book after reading the preceding volumes in the series. The first was Master & Commander.

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