The Surgeon's Mate (Aubrey/Maturin Novels #7) (Paperback)
"Vividly detailed 19th-century settings and dramatic tension punctuated with flashes of wry humor make O'Brian's nautical adventure a splendid treat." —Publishers Weekly
Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin are ordered home by dispatch vessel to bring the news of their latest victory to the government. But Maturin is a marked man for the havoc he has wrought in the French intelligence network in the New World, and the attention of two privateers soon becomes menacing. The chase that follows through the fogs and shallows of the Grand Banks is as tense, and as unexpected in its culmination, as anything Patrick O'Brian has written.
— E. O. Wilson - Boston Globe
The high seas are his home place—as they were for Melville and Conrad. And his time, the age and era of the great Nelson, is the altogether gracefully resurrected past, in large and small and always in a wealth of shining details. But Patrick O'Brian is a novelist for here and now, someone who shares his splendid vision, his wonderful sense of character, with a growing number of lucky contemporary readers who have found his works.
— George Garrett
The best historical novels ever written… On every page Mr. O’Brian reminds us with subtle artistry of the most important of all historical lessons: that times change but people don’t, that the griefs and follies and victories of the men and women who were here before us are in fact the maps of our own lives.
— Richard Snow - New York Times Book Review
It has been something of a shock to find myself—an inveterate reader of girl books—obsessed with Patrick O’Brian’s Napoleonic-era historical novels… What keeps me hooked are the evolving relationships between Jack and Stephen and the women they love.
— Tamar Lewin - New York Times
I devoured Patrick O’Brian’s 20-volume masterpiece as if it had been so many tots of Jamaica grog.
— Christopher Hitchens - Slate
I fell in love with his writing straightaway, at first with Master and Commander. It wasn’t primarily the Nelson and Napoleonic period, more the human relationships. …And of course having characters isolated in the middle of the goddamn sea gives more scope. …It’s about friendship, camaraderie. Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin always remind me a bit of Mick and me.
— Keith Richards
[O’Brian’s] Aubrey-Maturin series, 20 novels of the Royal Navy in the Napoleonic Wars, is a masterpiece. It will outlive most of today’s putative literary gems as Sherlock Holmes has outlived Bulwer-Lytton, as Mark Twain has outlived Charles Reade.
— David Mamet - New York Times
The Aubrey-Maturin series… far beyond any episodic chronicle, ebbs and flows with the timeless tide of character and the human heart.
— Ken Ringle - Washington Post
O’Brian’s Aubrey-Maturin volumes actually constitute a single 6,443-page novel, one that should have been on those lists of the greatest novels of the 20th century.
— George Will
Gripping and vivid… a whole, solidly living world for the imagination to inhabit.
— A. S. Byatt
There is not a writer alive whose work I value over his.
— Stephen Becker - Chicago Sun-Times
Patrick O’Brian is unquestionably the Homer of the Napoleonic wars.
— James Hamilton-Paterson - New Republic