After the sad and tragic endings you often find in 'serious' literature this book comes as a welcome change. I'd already seen the movie Master and Commander a few times and really liked it, so the book was on my to-read list for quite some time. On the one hand it's an old-fashioned adventure novel, with sea battles, comradeship and exotic travels, but on the other hand it's actually a very well-written book. It demands your attention, that is to say you can't just skip through the pages, but you really need to focus, because otherwise you'd miss all the subtle ironies, historic references and nautical facts (which, as an amateur sailor I really liked). Daunting though the task may seem, I hope to be able to say one day that I've finished the rest of the cycle of which Master and Commander is only part one. Just 19 books to go.

19 October 2007

HarperCollins Publishers, 1996
Originally published 1969


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