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Extended Audio Sample Master and Commander Audiobook, by Patrick O’Brian Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.99987299168096 out of 53.99987299168096 out of 53.99987299168096 out of 53.99987299168096 out of 53.99987299168096 out of 5 4.00 (31,494 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Patrick O’Brian Narrator: Patrick Tull Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Related: The Aubrey–Maturin Series Release Date: May 2001 ISBN: 9781402581441
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It is the dawn of the nineteenth century; Britain is at war with Napoleon's France. Jack Aubrey, a young lieutenant in Nelson's navy, is promoted to command of H.M.S. Sophie?, an old, slow brig unlikely to make his fortune. But Captain Aubrey is a brave and gifted seaman, his thirst for adventure and victory immense. With the aid of his friend Stephen Maturin, ship's surgeon and secret intelligence agent, Aubrey and his crew engage in one thrilling battle after another, their journey culminating in a stunning clash with a mighty Spanish frigate against whose guns and manpower the tiny Sophie is hopelessly outmatched.

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Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Vickie | 2/18/2014

    " This is one of the O'Brian books used as a basis for the movie...yet very unlike the movie. If you are into naval history or sailing, you'll probably like it, but don't expect an easy read. The naval terminology is a bit daunting at first, but somewhat explanatory via context. I'd suggest getting "A Sea of Words" by Dean King before you start with M&C...it's a concordance and background to the O'Brian series, which I'm fondly attached to at this point. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Alba | 2/16/2014

    " I'm going to try to read (in some cases reread) all the Aubrey/Maturin novels before the end of the year. This is the first, introductory one and with its exciting adventures, interesting characters and fine sense of humour it leaves you wanting for more. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Francoise | 2/13/2014

    " Wow! How in the world did Patrick O'Brian know all this? It's as if he had actually lived during this time period. Jack Aubrey's life was not an easy one, nor were those of the sailors/officers who served on the ships during the Napoleonic era. We often think that our own time period is the most difficult and complicated but anyone who reads this book can appreciate the fact that times during the early 1800's were equally difficult, but in a different way. During the vivid descriptions of the gun battles between Jack Aubrey's ships and others, we can almost smell the acrid smell of the gunpowder and be amazed there were ANY survivors with the damage that took place with the cannonballs, shot and chains, etc that were hurled between the ships. The sailors had to be very versatile as did their officers. I found myself wondering, as I read, how people of today would have fared if transported to that period. Not very well, I suspect. Those people had to be very resourceful and tough, or they wouldn't have survived. I couldn't understand how they all learned all the names of the parts of the ship, not just the sails, but the other parts of the ship, and how on earth did the cook do any cooking on those ships? When I read this book, I was completely transported outside of my own life. Great reading for anyone! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Gary Greenwald | 2/12/2014

    " The first book of the finest series written "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Edward Truitt | 2/10/2014

    " Destined to be a classic and a great foundation for the series. I, like the Jack Aubrey character, will always have a fond place in my heart for the little 14-gun brig Sophie. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Philip | 2/10/2014

    " When looking for something to read in the wee hours I have found little better than Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin novels. The other night I decided it was time to start a new voyage through the series with this the first book, published forty years ago. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Robbie | 2/3/2014

    " I've never read a book this detailed with and enamored by mizzens, half-mizzen, mastheads, and the jib. It's a cool experience, but sometimes feels like getting sucked into a yarn told by Grandpa Simpson. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Deidre | 1/25/2014

    " Probably a mistake for an obsessive, series-finishing reader like me to start this one. But it is almost summer vacation. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Nancy Mulder | 1/24/2014

    " I'm sorry, Kevin.....I just couldn't finish it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Barbara Lovejoy | 1/23/2014

    " My husband put on this movie a few times before I realized it was based on one of the 36 Back to Best Books by Marilyn Green Faulkner. When I finally realized this, I actually watched the movie on May 9, 2012 and really enjoyed it. Then I read the book--the 24th MGF book. I just couldn't ever seem to get into the book but finished it. Yet, because MGF recommended it and then one of our Esperanza board members also commented on how great it was, I think I'll read it again--at some point. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 KBev | 1/18/2014

    " I don't know much about boats or the technical terms that are used, which made the beginning of the book very confusing. But, once you get past trying to figure it all out, it was enjoyable and told a good story. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Victoria Murata | 1/16/2014

    " Ken and I are listening to tis book and it's so interesting. O'Brian's nautical history and knowledge of boats, rigging and sailing is amazing. the plot is great and the battle scenes vivid. We will definitely get the next book i n the series. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jon Larson | 1/9/2014

    " Their was too much sailing jargon and not enough compelling story for me to truly enjoy this book. I gutted it out, but not one of my favorites. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Sharon | 1/4/2014

    " Mel had this entire collection of books, but I barely made it through the first one. I just didn't like O'Brian's writing style. I've read plenty of war sagas and sea battles elsewhere, but his descriptions were just not accessible for me. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Shellee | 1/1/2014

    " If you love history and in particular have an interest in the Napoleonic wars, this is handcrafted for you. Think of a brilliant mixture of Jane Austen and Bernard Cornwell style and you have something close; though, it must be said that O'brian is in a league of his own. This whole series is grand. If you like O'brian look at C.S. Forester as well. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Renate | 12/27/2013

    " Character driven book. A good look into that time in history. Not being a nautical person, I still enjoyed the read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 John Going | 12/24/2013

    " Need to buy a boat encyclopedia if I plan to tackle another O'Brian Aubrey-Maturin book! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Morgan | 12/20/2013

    " O'Brien's books have brought me back to reading fiction. I'm learning so much from them and loving every minute of it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Angi | 12/14/2013

    " Not terrible, but not for me. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Glen Goldsmith | 12/10/2013

    " The sony ereader I'm using has a dictionary built-in. A must have if you don't know your naval terms. On an sailing ship, do you know what a yard is? A bow chaser? "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ted Knudson | 12/9/2013

    " It was a bit of a slow starter (I questioned my interest level in the first 25 pages, not a good sign). That said, it finished strong and having read over 20 books in the series, I would have to say I'm beyond hooked by this author. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Andy | 10/21/2013

    " Lovely book. Meant to read more in the series but haven't got round to it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tim Clouse | 10/21/2013

    " Excellent work, but bear in mind that you will end up reading all 20 volumes. So be prepared. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jim George | 10/1/2013

    " A great book, an honestly brutal tale of life at sea, in her majesty's time. The characters are well developed, the storyline is exciting. (I must admit, the photography in the movie was stellar.) "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Anita Williamson | 8/30/2013

    " I just don't see why these are considered better than the Horatio Hornblower series. I really struggle to get into them. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Paul Bradley | 7/23/2013

    " I enjoyed this so much that I bought four more copies from Amazon and lent all five out to my friends. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Meghann | 7/22/2013

    " It was really hard to read. It was a good book but the way it was written was hard to get into. I said it was a tedious book but I am still going to read the rest of the series. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lance Caselman | 7/20/2013

    " This is an excellent book and not at all what I expected. Patrick O'Brian wasn't merely a good storyteller, he was a great writer. The only problem is that he devotes too much attention explaining how to maneuver a frigate. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ellen Librarian | 4/30/2013

    " An excellent, well-written book and it gives a great feeling for going to sea in the 19th Century. But I had a hard time understanding so much of the nautical terminology that I had difficulty following the plot. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jen | 4/14/2013

    " A more gritty Royal Navy series that Horatio Hornblower, but I am enjoying the Aubrey/Maturin series, as well. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ericmgb1974 | 2/21/2013

    " Not a bad book, but I was a little disappointed considering the reputation of the series. The characters are somewhat wooden and one dimensional and the writing could seem stilted at times. It was good enough that I will read on to the next book, but I do hope it gets better. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ellen Broadhurst | 11/24/2012

    " I am giving this four stars despite the fact that I gave up half way through. I think it is wonderfully researched and written, but just "not for me." I can give the author kudos for a job well done, but walk away without knowing (or frankly caring) what happened next. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nate | 10/24/2012

    " Great book, Aubrey and Maturin are such a great character pairing. It's a bit confusing with the ship lingo but it has a great pace. Aubrey (captain) and Maturin (doctor) would be fantastic characters by themselves but their interaction makes them both much better. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sydney Young | 8/31/2012

    " I'm just not the sea faring man type, otherwise I'm sure its a great book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dan Casey | 6/11/2012

    " The entire series is amazing. O'Brian's writing is a delight to read and while I could quibble over 4.5 stars or 5 per each volume I'm rating it across their totality. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Phil Griffin | 5/29/2012

    " Fun, great details of life in another time, boy is is all things nautical. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Wayne | 2/3/2012

    " First in a series of novels about the British navy during the late 1700s/early 1800s. It was an interesting glimpse into life at sea. The tale was fun to follow but there was so much technical information about sailing the ship that was impossible to follow. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Adam Heine | 1/19/2012

    " It felt a bit weak in story, especially the ending, but I LOVED this books jargon and historicity. Almost makes me want to be a privateer. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Peter Meredith | 12/5/2011

    " This series picked me up and carried me away to another time. Every little detail, every nuance, every quirk of personality made me think I was on that ship. This series isn't for every one, but I loved it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Peter Meredith | 11/9/2011

    " This series picked me up and carried me away to another time. Every little detail, every nuance, every quirk of personality made me think I was on that ship. This series isn't for every one, but I loved it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Stu Webbb | 10/19/2011

    " This is the first of a marvelous series of 12 books of a couple of central characters in the naval aspects of Napoleon wars. It's remarkable how the author weaves is plots with a wonderful feel for that time in history. I've read the entire series 3 or 4 times. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Bo | 9/28/2011

    " Very detailed, accurate descriptions of life in the Napoleonic-era British Royal Navy. I found it pretty boring. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Aaron | 9/21/2011

    " Cool. Started the second one. Aubrey is kind of a doofus in a lot of ways. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Squeaky | 8/27/2011

    " One needs the internet at hand to look up all the words! Do not read in the paperback edition if you have bad eyes! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 James | 5/24/2011

    " Great series of books. I've read them all and the relationship between Maturin and Aubrey is subtle and acute. If you like tall ships, adventure, travel, romance and everything in between read these books. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tom | 5/18/2011

    " Awesome, although I needed a dictionary of naval terminology to fully appreciate all the technical stuff. Great story. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Netts | 5/14/2011

    " not bad for an adventure novel and the characters are well written but it would desperately need a sailing term glossary to make proper sense "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Horton | 5/8/2011

    " Up helm, stu'n'sails alo and aloft! Beat to quarters!
    A bit difficult if you don't pick up the salty jargon, but I got totally lost amongst the images in this one, not to mention getting hooked in the process. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Susan | 5/6/2011

    " I love all of the Jack Aubrey series. I must admit I tend to skim the battle scenes but the characters and dialogue are brilliant, often laugh out loud funny. I love the sense of being immersed in a historical era, and Patrick O'Brian does that superbly well. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jillian | 5/4/2011

    " A new addiction has begun.... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 John | 4/28/2011

    " Good story, but I will admit a bit hard to read. Lots of long sentences. Having the visuals from the movie in my mind did help. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Daryoung | 4/24/2011

    " I listened to this on audio and it was delightful, perfect for audio. I'll read the others when I can. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Spencer | 4/14/2011

    " A good, fun story. Sometimes you feel you're right in a ship's cabin with the waves and cannon shot close by. Can't see my wife enjoying it, but then, I wouldn't enjoy the potato peel society. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Barry | 4/12/2011

    " I can't do this one - I'm sure if you had a visual maritime archival vocabulary you'd love it. I'm just not a boat nerd. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Elizabeth | 4/9/2011

    " If I had a grasp of the technical terms, the nautical lingo or even understood half of the English I might have enjoyed this book. "

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About the Author
Author Patrick O’Brian

Patrick O’Brian (1914–2000) was born Richard Patrick Russ in England. During the Second World War, he and his wife were involved in British secret service activities. After the war, he changed his name to Patrick O’Brian and began his career as a novelist, biographer, and translator. He is the author of the acclaimed Aubrey-Maturin tales and the biographer of Joseph Banks and Picasso. In 1995 he was the first recipient of the Heywood Hill Prize for a lifetime’s contribution to literature. In the same year he was awarded the CBE. In 1997 he received an honorary doctorate of letters from Trinity College, Dublin. 

About the Narrator

Patrick Tull (1941–2006), born in the United Kingdom, was a multitalented actor of the stage, screen, and television, as well as an award-winning audiobook narrator. He acted in numerous American television shows from 1962 to 1996, including Crossroads, and he had roles in six Broadway plays between 1967 and 1992, including Amadeus. His film credits from 1969 to 1996 included roles as Cecil in Parting Glances and Jerry the bartender in Sleepers. He served as narrator for the television series Sea Tales. He narrated nearly forty audiobooks, and his readings of The Canterbury Tales, The Letter of Marque, Monk’s Hood, The Vicar of Wakefield, and How Green Was My Valley each earned him an AudioFile Earphones Award. His narration of Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey/Maturin novels was praised by novelist Stephen King as among his ten favorite audiobooks of 2006.