Friday, November 2, 2012

Jane and Patrick

Original Jane Austin Portrait Here

I have been working my way through the Patrick O' Brian novels (there are something like 20) and as I was reading the first 3 I thought "These are really amusing" and "The writing is almost like Austen's" and then I thought,"well, that is a little over the top". But in fact, I am not the first reviewer to think this. There isn't a lot of plot, the books are mostly character studies with the occasional bout of naval violence, but it's highly enjoyable. (And much more fun than the movie Master and Commander) While I thought Russel Crowe was fine as Captain Jack Aubrey, it needed someone sunnier; like a British John Goodman--and maybe David Tennant as Dr. Maturin, with his combination of daffiness and determination.

Here's O'Brian's note about Mrs. Harte, who Aubrey is having a career-limiting affair with in Book One. "...she poured out a bumper and drank it off with a very practised air." And right there you know a great deal about Mrs. Harte. Then the sea battles are very good indeed... I admit I skip battle scenes in fantasy fiction (shh, don't tell), but I was totally gripped at the end of HMS Surprise, when 15 poorly-armed East Indiamen and one 28-gun Navy ship have to convince 4 huge French men-of-war that they are all Royal Navy paint, a few officer uniforms scattered around, and sailing perfectly.

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