The Thirteen-Gun Salute by Patrick O’Brian


Mad Mountain Man
Jun 29, 2010
Scottish Highlands
An appropriate title for the thirteenth volume in the series!

This is another great book in the on-going saga of the Napoleonic actions of Aubrey and Maturin. Aubrey’s name has been cleared after his unfortunate debacle with the stock market and he is put back on the navy list; something far more important to him, personally, than all the prize money he won in his brief career as a privateer operating under a letter of marque. And now he is being sent on a diplomatic mission to the South China Sea. The nature of this mission does tend to make this primarily a Maturin story rather than an Aubrey one, which is fine as one of the pleasures of this series is the interaction between the two and the oscillation of importance from book to book. However, I’m pretty sure that almost no cannonballs are fired in anger throughout the book save a couple of hopeful long shots in a failed chase. But that really didn’t matter to me, and it was only once I’d finished reading that I become aware of this absence of close quarters naval action. But all the diplomatic intrigue more than makes up for any lack of sea battles.

Apart from one or two slightly less engaging books this series manages to maintain an excellent consistency.

4/5 stars

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