Summary and book reviews of Blue At The Mizzen by Patrick O'Brian

Blue At The Mizzen

By Patrick O'Brian

Blue At The Mizzen
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Hardcover: Oct 1999,
    288 pages.
    Paperback: Sep 2000,
    272 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

The excitement of the Aubrey/Maturin series soars to new heights in this volume, as Jack, again the daring frigate commander of old, stakes all on a desperate solo night raid against the might of the Spanish viceroy in Peru.

Napoleon has been defeated at Waterloo, and the ensuing peace takes on an ugly complexion for Captain Jack Aubrey: drunken, violent celebrations of the English sailors in Gibraltar; the desertion of nearly half his crew; and the sudden dimming of his own career prospects in a peacetime navy. To cap it all off, the Surprise is nearly sunk in a shattering night collision on the first leg of her journey to South America, where Jack and Stephen are to help Chile assert her independence from Spain.

The delay occasioned by repairs reaps a harvest of strange consequences. The widowed Stephen Maturin experiences a startling emotional rebirth, and an amorous adventure in a mangrove swamp with the beautiful and accomplished naturalist Christine Wood leads to a proposal of marriage. Jack, meanwhile, is persuaded to accept as a midshipman the bastard of the Duke of Clarence (later King William IV). Young Horatio Hanson - officially unacknowledged, but clearly his father's favorite - is one of O'Brian's most engaging characters, and the distinction he earns in the coming campaign will have important repercussions on Jack's fortunes.

The South American expedition is a desperate affair, starting with near disaster in the ice-choked seas far south of the Horn, and further marred by bitter divisions in the Chilean naval command. In the end it is Jack's bold initiative to strike at the vastly superior Spanish fleet that precipitates the spectacular naval action that will determine both Chile's fate and his own.

Chapter One

The Surprise, lying well out in the channel with Gibraltar half a mile away on her starboard quarter, lying at a single anchor with her head to the freshening north-west breeze, piped all hans at four bells in the afternoon watch; and at the cheerful sound her tender Ringle, detached once more on a private errand by Lord Keith, cheered with the utmost good will, while the Suprises turned out with a wonderful readiness, laughing, beaming and thumping one another on the back in spite of a strong promise of rain and a heavy sea running already. Many had put on their best clothes—embroidered waistcoats, and silk Barcelona handkerchiefs around their necks—for the Surprises and their captain, Jack Aubrey, had taken a very elegant prize indeed, a Moorish galley laden with gold, no less—a galley that had fired on Surprise first, thus qualifying herself as a pirate, so that the prize-court, sitting at the pressing request of Captain Aubrey's friend Admiral ...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Reviews

Media Reviews
New York Times Book Review

[A] welcome return to form. After a spell in the doldrums O'Brian has presented his readers with a shining jewel, an intricate, multifaceted work -- one of those rare novels that actually bear up under close scrutiny...

Publishers Weekly

With bittersweet pleasure, readers may deem this 20th--and possibly final--installment in O'Brian's highly regarded series featuring Capt. Jack Aubrey of the English Royal Navy and Stephen Maturin, ship's doctor, the best of the lot....O'Brian has rightfully been compared to Jane Austen, but one wonders if even she would have done justice to those extraordinary hollow dwellings, sometimes as beautiful as they were comfortless. To use one of Stephen's favorite expressions, What joy!

Publishers Weekly

With bittersweet pleasure, readers may deem this 20th--and possibly final--installment in O'Brian's highly regarded series featuring Capt. Jack Aubrey of the English Royal Navy and Stephen Maturin, ship's doctor, the best of the lot....O'Brian has rightfully been compared to Jane Austen, but one wonders if even she would have done justice to those extraordinary hollow dwellings, sometimes as beautiful as they were comfortless. To use one of Stephen's favorite expressions, What joy!

Reader Reviews
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Readalikes Full readalike results are for members only

If you liked Blue At The Mizzen, try these:

  • Patrick O'Brian jacket

    Patrick O'Brian

    by Dean King

    Published Feb 2013

    More about this book

    Read Reviews

    Patrick O'Brian was in his mid 70's when The New York Times Book Review proclaimed him the writer of the greatest historical novels ever written. This is the first biography of this famously secretive man.

  • Sharpe's Trafalgar jacket

    Sharpe's Trafalgar

    by Bernard Cornwell

    Published Feb 2013

    More about this book

    Read Reviews

    A dazzling nautical adventure that finds ensign Richard Sharpe in the middle of one of history's most spectacular naval engagements: the 1805 Battle of Trafalgar.

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member


Search Readalikes again
How we choose readalikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  
Sign up, win books!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Take This Man
    Take This Man
    by Brando Skyhorse
    "A chorus of six men calling me Son might sound ludicrous to you, but to me it's the sound of ...
  • Book Jacket: The Hundred-Year House
    The Hundred-Year House
    by Rebecca Makkai
    Rebecca Makkai's sophomore novel The Hundred-Year House could just have easily been titled ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Valley of Amazement
    by Amy Tan
    "Mirror, Mirror on the wall
    I am my mother after all!"


    In my pre-retirement days as a professor ...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your
horizons.

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

The Arsonist
by Sue Miller

Published Jun. 2014

Join the discussion!

  1.  132Tomlinson Hill:
    Chris Tomlinson

All Discussions

Win this book!
Win The Angel of Losses

The Angel of Losses

"Family saga, mystery, and myth intersect in Feldman's debut novel." - Booklist

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

E C H A Silver L

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.