This is the first seagoing novel written by the master, Patrick O’Brian. And it is a jolly good read. Although it lacks the sophistication of the Aubrey/Maturin series, you can see much of the evolving characters of the later series just starting to be developed. This is fascinating in itself.
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The adventure story is fairly straightforward the main character delightful and, as ever, the background thoroughly accurate (as far as I know), with authentic details. The excitement is there just as in any really good adventure story.
The writing style characterises the times and the Irishness of the main characters. Their speech patterns sound right. The wry sense of humour is never very far away. It’s a little volume to enjoy, to read and escape into the world of seagoing ships of the time.
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I loved this book – it was easy to read, thoroughly engrossing and a great introduction to Patrick O’Brian’s unique and very special style of writing. perhaps a book which teenagers might enjoy since the hero is very young himself. It makes one realise what a different life we live now, just 260 years later.
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