Cover image for The letter of Marque
The letter of Marque
O'Brian, Patrick, 1914-2000.
Norton paperback.
Publication Information:
New York : W.W. Norton, 1992.

Physical Description:
284 pages : illustrations ; 20 cm
General Note:
First published as a Norton paperback 1992 by arrangement with William Collins & Co. Ltd.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library X Adult Fiction Central Library
Central Library X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Captain Jack Aubrey, a brilliant and experienced officer, has been struck off the list of post-captains for a crime he did not commit. His old friend Stephen Maturin, usually cast as a ship's surgeon to mask his discreet activities on behalf of British Intelligence, has bought for Aubrey his former ship the Surprise to command as a privateer, more politely termed a letter of marque. Together they sail on a desperate mission against the French, which, if successful, may redeem Aubrey from the private hell of his disgrace.

Author Notes

Patrick O'Brian is the author of twenty volumes in the highly respected Aubrey/Maturin series of novels.

(Publisher Provided) Patrick O'Brien was born in Ireland in 1914. His education included the Sorbonne.

O'Brian has produced a variety of works, including biographies of Picasso and Sir Joseph Banks and translations of the novels and memoirs of Simone de Beauvoir, but he is best known for the creation of an unlikely pair of Napoleonic War-era heroes in the Aubrey-Maturin Series. British naval officer Jack Aubrey and Irish scholar and physician Stephen Maturin have been featured in more than a novels published in Great Britain (five of which have also appeared in America).

He died on January 2, 2000. (Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Starred Review. Unlike its competitors, who are usually linked to major book publishers, Blackstone specializes in giving new audio life to classics--using prize-winning readers like Vance to bring new and exciting life to neglected works. This is Vance's 17th reading of one of O'Brian's superb seafaring novels about Jack Aubrey and Dr. Stephen Maturin, and it's the first time that anyone has made new versions since O'Brian's death in 2000. Vance (who also reads under the names Robert Whitfield and Richard Matthews) is absolutely perfect for O'Brian's sad and stirring tale about Post Captain Aubrey's unjust punishment: Aubrey has been stricken off the Admiralty's list, usually the end of a man's career. But Dr. Maturin uses his own money to buy Aubrey's old ship, HMS Surprise, and turn it into a privateer--a letter of marque. Vance catches the subtle differences between the land-owning Jack, his rough-tongued crew and the Spanish/Irish Maturin. O'Brian fans should relish this excellent audio outing as should anyone with a love of adventure, history, the sea and fine writing. (Reviews, July 6, 1990). (Dec.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved All rights reserved.

Library Journal Review

Originally published in England in 1988, this U.S. publication is the long-awaited sequel to Master and Commander (LJ 12/15/69) and Post Captain (LJ 8/72). It continues the adventures of Captain Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin, ship's doctor. Jack, who has been unfairly dismissed from the British Navy, continues his sea career under a ``Letter of Marque,'' a polite term for a privateer. Stephen struggles to balance his scientific interests, his own inclination toward addiction to laudanum, and his concern for his friend. The author has created two wonderfully contrasting characters in bluff, hearty Aubrey and reedy, intellectual Maturin. Readers will be glad to see these unlikely friends in action again. The historical background of the Napoleonic era, as well as the details of early 19th-century naval warfare, are authentically depicted. An exciting sea story with good character development. Recommended for public libraries.-- C. Robert Nixon, M.L.S., Lafayette, Ind. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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