Monday, November 1, 2010

H.M.S. Surprise by Patrick O'Brian

I finally finished the 3rd book in the Aubrey-Maturin series.  I actually finished it a couple of weeks ago and am now just getting to the review.  It took me a little over 6 weeks to finish.

As usual, you can read a very fine summary of the book on Wikipedia.

In this book, Stephen gets knocked around quite a bit - both physically and emotionally.  At the end of the book, I felt quite sorry for the guy.  Yet his resolve is very admirable.

There were a lot of memorable parts in this book.  O'Brian's description of the doldrums and then crossing into the Indian ocean were vivid.  I can still see the image he described as the crew fought the winds and storms of the south Antarctic and Indian oceans.

The other part that is emblazoned in my mind was the stunning and rapid turn of events that led to the duel between Canning and Stephen.  I had to read those few paragraphs a few times (so nonchalantly written) to really understand that Canning and Stephen were going to draw pistols and fire on each other.  Reconciliation was attempted, but Canning was too proud to acquiesce.  The duel occur ed; Stephen survived after being hit and performing a surgery on himself to remove the bullet; Canning died at the deadly aim of Stephen.  What balls it takes to duel.

I'm taking a brief break from Aubrey-Maturin to finish reading a couple of Harry Potter books.  I had been reading The Half-Blood Prince to the kids and then I ended up finishing reading it on my own.  The movie and book differ quite a bit - both for good and bad.  I then picked up The Deathly Hallows since the movie for that book is coming out November 19 - at least part 1 of that movie.  The 2nd part will come out next year in July (I think).  I've only read Deathly Hallows once when it first came out 3 years ago.  I've fogotten so much, it's like I'm reading it for the first time.  I'm half-way finished with it and am enjoying it quite a bit.  I should be done either this or next week.  Then I'll begin The Mauritius Command.

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