The Surgeon's Mate by Patrick O'Brian

Published by Norton

Reviewed by Leigh Kimmel

The Surgeon's Mate by Patrick O'Brian is the seventh installment in the popular and long-running Aubrey/Maturin Chronicles. Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin have just gotten out of American captivity, being aboard the Chesapeake when it was captured by the Shannon. Now they must hurry home to England, only getting there may be easier said than done.

In Halifax they find only dangerous delay in finding a suitable vessel to convey them across the Atlantic. Dangerous in particular because Jack Aubrey falls victim to the wiles of a beautiful young flatterer who strives to lead him astray for herself, much as Lady Hamilton snared Lord Nelson. They find passage aboard a mail packet ship only barely before Jack would have done something unignorably foolish and irreparably damaged both his marriage and his naval career.

But even aboard the sprightly little vessel all is not well, for they are pursued by Americans all the way to England. There, Jack is soon given a new command which takes him to the Baltic. However, Stephen Maturin's past with the British naval intelligence service is rapidly coming back to haunt him. Somehow they must steer clear of a French commander who wishes to see them both hang.

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Review posted January 17, 2000

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