The Hundred Days by Patrick O'Brian

Published by Norton

Reviewed by Leigh Kimmel

The Hundred Days by Patrick O'Brian, the ninteenth volume of the Aubrey/Maturin Chronicles, deals with that brief period between Napoleon's escape from Elba and his defeat at Waterloo. When peace broke out, Jack Aubrey had been despairing of his career and preparing for a scientific mission in South America. Suddenly everything changes and Jack is ordered to Gibraltar for a special mission.

Napoleon is hoping to call upon his Muslim associates (for he had pretended a conversion to Islam during his Egyptian campaigns, and thinks he can bank on it now) to send forces through the Balkans to prevent Blucher's forces from linking up with Wellington's. Jack Aubrey is to prevent this possibility, an activity in which he will have to rely heavily upon the intelligence skills of his surgeon and good friend, Dr. Stephen Maturin.

Yet there are other troubles as well. Jack Aubrey's past as a womanizer puts an unpleasant face on his friendship with the wife of his commanding officer. Stephen Maturin's pain is much more personal, for his wife, the energetic and high-strung Diana, has died, leaving him their troubled daughter Brigid.

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Review posted December 28, 2000

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