Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Wine-Dark Sea by Patrick O'Brian

Here is the link to the Wiki summary.  It does a fine job summarizing the book so I don't have to!

I'm glad I found this picture of the front cover, because it is the same version of the one that I read ... meaning it has "National Bestseller" on the front.  It lived up to the name.

What the previous two books failed to do (provide sufficient action and intrigue and actually interesting descriptions of flora and fauna), this one actually delivered.  It was a much, much better read than the previous two.

This book also seems to end the long mission of trying to disrupt the Spanish governments in South America.  I forget how many books ago it was, but a few books ago, Stephen's mission was to start revolutions in South America and he finally got around to doing just than in this book.  Although, he didn't succeed.

So, I for once enjoyed the doctor's descriptions of his botonous adventures.  Maybe it was because I was actually interested in the descriptions this time ... or maybe because it wasn't so foreign to me.  But whatever the reason, I enjoyed it.

The action in the middle and end of the book (battling the pirates and then the Americans) was good action.  Are we going to see Jack with an eye patch now?  I guess I'll find out in the next book.  Stephen didn't come out unscathed either ... he survived a blistering cold night in the Andes, but paid with two of the less useful toes.

As a side note, while searching for a picture of the book cover, I came across another image.  When I saw it, I thought it was of the battle between the Surprise and the Americans ... but I didn't find any titles.  I imagine the battle in that cold South Sea looked something like this:

And lastly, a note about the title.  I haven't read about all of it quite yet, but the wine-dark sea seems to be a phrase connected with Homer.  Let be briefly share a link I found from the NYTimes.  "Homer's Sea: Wine Dark?"

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Truelove by Patrick O'Brian

So The Truelove is about a woman named Clarissa Oakes (which is the name of the book as it was published originally) and a ship named the Truelove which was a fur-trading ship.

The book was weird ... I really never got into it.  The key thing you need from this book is that Clarissa Oakes was a prostitute in England, but got sent to the penal colony.  She knows the highly placed government official who has been feeding the French vital information ... the contact that Ledward and Wray knew.

Stephen acquires this information while he and Clarissa were on a walk.  He then gives her all the papers she needs to get back to Sir Blaine and inform him of the highly placed spy.

Other than that, in my opinion, this book was fairly worthless ... a lot of minutiae for a critical bit of plot forwarding.