The Truelove by Patrick O'Brian

Published by Norton

Reviewed by Leigh Kimmel

The Truelove, the fifteenth volume of Patrick O'Brian's long-running Aubrey-Maturin Chronicles, finds our heroes still in the Pacific, headed home from their visit to Australia. Something strange is afoot, and Captain Aubrey is the last one to discover that one of his junior officers has hidden a young woman in the cable tier. She is pretty and clearly of gentle birth, yet she was transported to Australia for some obscure crime. Only Stephen Maturin, with his extensive familiarity with intelligence work, realizes just what this young woman got entangled in.

In order to protect her from being taken back to Australia, the young officer marries her. However, it turns out that the ship following the Surprise was not coming to retrieve her at all, but rather to bear a message sending Jack Aubrey and the Surprise northward, to deal with a war among the Polynesian tribes which has dragged a British whaler into its morass. Jack is to support whichever Polynesian chieftan is most likely to ally with the British Crown and put an end to the fighting.

As always, O'Brian serves up a fascinating mixture of science, intrigue and good old-fashioned action and adventure on the high seas.

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Review posted March 3, 2000.

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