The Yellow Admiral by Patrick O'Brian

Published by Norton

Reviewed by Leigh Kimmel

The Yellow Admiral by Patrick O'Brian, the eighteenth volume of the Aubrey/Maturin Chronicles, finds Jack Aubrey ashore again. As it so often happens for him, things are not going well at all. He has made some ill-considered speeches in Parliament, and they may well count against him in his hopes for promotion. Particularly if peace should come quickly, there is the danger that he may be "yellowed" -- nominally promoted to admiral without a squadron, effectively disgraced.

Worse yet, things are also bad on the domestic front. His mother-in-law has discovered some embarassing letters from a lovestruck young woman and used it to drive a wedge between him and his wife. At the same time he is also feuding with a neighbor over enclosure -- the practice of fencing in areas that had previously been a villiage commons and making them the sole property of specific individuals. To make matters worse, this neighbor has powerful connections within the naval heirarchy, and the acrimony from this fight may put the final nail in the coffin of Jack's hopes to hoist his flag as an admiral.

Then Jack is ordered to sea, someplace where his natural abilities usually shine. But even there things turn against him in unexpected ways. When he captures a French privateer laden with gold and ivory, he does not receive the gratitude he expects. Instead his admiral berates him for leaving his station and missing maneuvers. It seems that everything is going from bad to worse, and all his hopes for a future in the navy hang upon the slender thread of what assignments his dear friend Dr. Maturin may find him through connections in the intelligence service.

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Review posted March 3, 2000.

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