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No amount of such teasing can dent Stephen’s delight in his diving bell, and during a perilous mission to stop a French bribe reaching the ruler of Mubara in the Red Sea, Jack will be very glad of it. It is a mission which seems to have been betrayed, however. The French have many agents, and having a long score to settle with Stephen Maturin, they will stop at nothing toNo amount of such teasing can dent Stephen’s delight in his diving bell, and during a perilous mission to stop a French bribe reaching the ruler of Mubara in the Red Sea, Jack will be very glad of it. It is a mission which seems to have been betrayed, however. The French have many agents, and having a long score to settle with Stephen Maturin, they will stop at nothing to infiltrate his intelligence network. There are spies not only amongst his friends but in the highest echelons of the naval command itself, and this book marks the beginning of an intricate and deadly battle of wits....

Title : treason s harbour folio society edition
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ISBN : 15702931
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 282 Pages
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treason s harbour folio society edition Reviews

  • Jason Koivu
    2019-02-12 21:00

    Stationed on Malta during the later Napoleonic War, Captain Jack Aubrey and his friend, Dr. Stephen Maturin are embroiled in Mediterranean intrigue that takes them to Egypt and the Red Sea.While O'Brian is one of my favorite authors, this is not one of my favorite books of his. It's balance tilts in favor of intrigue over action. More time is devoted to matters of intelligence and spying, and even that lacks some of its usual excitement.However, it has its redeeming qualities. There is, as always, beauty in the language. Reading any books of the series just for the descriptions alone is worth the effort. It's like a David Attenborough-narrated episode of Planet Earth, taking you to new lands and wowing you with the sights and sounds. Just gorgeous. The characters, whom you've probably come to know and love if you've reached this ninth book, are full of life and fully invested in their own lives, the very minutia of which is the book's bread and butter. One of my favorite of the very minor characters, Awkward Davies (or Davis), appears more in this book than in most others. Davies is a dangerously powerful gorilla of a man, who has gladly attached himself to his captain after an episode in which Aubrey rescued him from drowning. Davies addition to any book is usually for the purposes of humor and/or when a meatheaded amount of a strength or stupid-courage is needed. His presence is regretted by Aubrey in a comedic sense. He's a nice foil for when O'Brian feels a need to lighten the mood:"a fight broke out in the square below, a fight between Davis and the bear, which resented his familiarity in chucking it under the chin. ... Stephen hurried down to repair the bear."This seafaring series is epic in just about every way, and so it can hardly be faulted for the occasional lag in full-throttle action. Instead, just sit back, relax and let O'Brian's beautiful words flow over you.Rating: 3.5 stars

  • Algernon
    2019-02-15 00:44

    'Don't you know how to seize a cuckold's neck, you God-damned lubber? Where's the bleeding seizing?' Hi, I'm Algernon and I'm a landlubber. I will probably be the first one to go overboard in a storm because I don't have the foggiest what a cuckold's neck is and where the jib is supposed to be hoisted. I take solace from the fact that my situation is not much different from that of Dr. Stephen Maturin, who is similarly baffled on board ship, even after nine voyages in the company of his friend, Captain Jack Aubrey. The gleeful manner in which Patrick O'Brian fires these semantic broadsides across my bows (brows!) does nothing to diminish my enjoyment in the series. They're just adding spice to the trip and one more proof of the author's wicked sense of humour. 'What are bashed neeps?''Neeps hackit with balmagowry.' O'Brian's sense of humour translates well from the sea to the shore, as in the above inquiry about the menu for a Scottish themed dinner, or in a leisurely debate about fundamental freedoms and smoking habits. (Maturin and his scientist friend Professor Graham take a libertarian approach to forbidding the bad habit on grounds of liberty of expression and of tobacco's alleged propensity to induce fanciful moods. A debate that echoes for me the current efforts to legalise pot). I am starting my review with these peaceful pursuits as a result of the bloody battles at the end of theIonian Mission, battles that may have brought honour and monetary prizes to Jack Aubrey, but that also put both of the ships he sailed on,The WorcesterandThe Surprise , out of action and in need of extensive repairs in the port of Malta. What should have been a well-earned and hopefully brief vacation for the two friends, turns into an annoying and dangerous game of cat and mouse between Aubrey and the corrupt commisioners of the repair yards, and between Stephen and his French counterparts in the cloak-and-dagger business. Despotic governement tends to breed spies and informers, and there were traces of at least three different Paris ministries at work in Malta, each in ignorance of the others, with a man from a fourth keeping watch on them all. I already knew from previous episodes that Patrick O'Brian is equally adept at writing about sea battles and about landlubber activities, and the Malta episode is no exception. The violin of Captain Aubrey and the cello of Dr. Maturin speak just as eloquently as the twelve pounders aboardThe Surprise . The musical duet becomes a trio with the addition of the tinkling piano notes from an alluring local lady, a Mrs. Laura Fielding of Italian origin and a British subject by marriage, whose husband is currently a prisoner of the French. The lady has more than a fair share of her own troubles, but she is still capable of throwing a spanner into the marital wovs of many a landlocked officer: It was pleasant to see how the captains, some of them true tartars aboard, most of them thoroughly accustomed to battle, and all of them capable of assuming great responsibility, played the fool before a pretty woman. 'There is a capital book to be written on the human mating display in all its ludicrous variety,' observed Dr. Maturin. Readers who prefer sailing to spy games or boudoir romances may considerTreason's Harbourone of the lesser books in the series, but a closer examination of the text points out that there are three naval expeditions included in the current novel. My favorite is the first one, although the most dramatic one will be the last (don't worry, I will say as little as possible about the ending). Without a ship of of his own, Jack Aubrey jumps at the chance to go on a secret and urgent mission to the Red Sea, there to capture a treasure in French bullion. But with Malta being the nest of vipers it is, it seems that everybody has found out about the mission before Jack and Stephen even set sail for the Suez. There are even signs that point to a mole among the higher echelons of the British secret services. 'Professor Graham, sir, a good evening to you. I am come from walking on the bottom of the sea.' One of the main attractions of the series for me is the scientific research performed by Maturin and his friends. In the present journey, the cherry on the cake is a brand new diving bell, a heavy and expensive toy hat nevertheless will prove its usefulness aboard a war frigate. As Jack Aubrey leads his task force south across the desert from the Suez peninsula, I was thrilled to notice he mentions the two towns I have been working in for the last couple of years : Jeddah and Yanbu, and that Maturin sings praises of the best weekend activities for the Red Sea (snorkelling): For a contemplative mind, there can be few greater felicities than walking on a coral reef, with nondescript birds above, nondescript fishes below, and an unimaginable wealth of sea-slugs, plumed worms, mollusc, cephalopods in the nearby depths. For a transition novel between longer expeditions (the next one on the list is the long awaited voyage to the far side of the world, the one that was turned into a movie), the stay in Malta proved in turns dramatic and humorous, and the sea battles make up for their shortness in sheer intensity (view spoiler)[ like the horrifying explosion of a man-of-war at the end that sends to the bottom of the sea hundreds of men in a matter of seconds. The title of the novel is well earned as not one , but three betrayals push the plot forward : The Red Sea mission, a journey to Trieste, the final trap sprung in Zambra on the Barbary Coast(hide spoiler)]Note to self : I don't remember if I have have mentioned it before, but I love the series covers, and I plan to add to my wishlist an artbook of Geoff Hunt's paintings.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

  • Darwin8u
    2019-01-25 00:36

    "It was as though he were running a race: a race in which he had done fairly well for awhile, after a slow start, but one in which he could not hold his lead and was being overtaken, perhaps from lack of that particularly nameless quality that brought some men success when it just eluded others, though they might take equal pains...""- Patrick O'Brian, Treason's Harbour"He could not put his finger on the fault with any certainty, and there were days when he could say with real conviction that the whole thing was mere fatality, the other side of the good luck that had attended him in his twenties and early thirties, the restoration of the average."- Patrick O'Brian, Treason's HarbourNearly half done with the series and I'm still as entranced with it as I was with book one (Master and Commander). O'Brian does change things up a bit with this one that spends as much time on land as on water. I was excited about the extended period spent in Malta because I'm taking my family to Malta (staying in Valletta and traveling to Gozo) this summer. It was nice to get a literary exposure to spots one will spend a few days or a week in. Anyway, I also enjoyed the espionage focus, the diving bell, the dog, the Suez/Red Sea expedition with its Arab and Turkish flavors. Strange as it may seem, I'm also becoming a bit emotional about the HMS Surprise. Sniff.

  • Ken-ichi
    2019-01-18 00:59

    Yet another fine nautical gem, though clearly a piece with its successor, given the abruptly hewn finale, leaving me with the heavy burden of reading on. Heaven forfend! Also of note: no other books leave me laughing like an idiot in public places more than these. Reading Stephen effuse about his diving bell exploits floored me: "...but the annelids, my dear Graham, the annelids! Hundreds, nay thousands of annelids of at least six and thirty several kinds, some plumed and others plain. And wait until I tell you about my holothurians, my sea-slugs, my sea-cucumbers..." (p. 74). There's also plenty of fine Killick action in this one.gregale (n): a string northeast wind of the Mediterranean, also used in Moby Dick, I think, though they never touched those waters. (p. 10)crackit gaberlunzie (n): apparently a half-witted beggar, according to WikiPOBia (bless it!), though it provides no citation. A "gaberlunzie" is apparently a Medieval Scots term for a beggar, and I assume "crackit" can only mean something like "cracked" (this would certainly suggest so). See it in context here. (p. 11)coriaceous (adj): leather-like. (p. 61)hangi (n): clearly some kind of bird, as Stephen says, "Will you look at that bird [...:]. I believe it to be a hangi. They are said to be peculiar to this island." However, I've looked around, checked some checklists of Maltese birds, and found no mention of a hangi, except in reference to this novel. What could he have been talking about..."Neeps hackit with balmagowry." This was the perfectly clear, lucid response to the question, "What are bashed neeps?" This is Graham the Scotsman again. "Neeps" are turnips, hackit:crackit::hacked:cracked, but balmogowry is apparently a neologism! If werdnerd you be, you must read this short letter from Lisa Grossman, co-author of Lobscouse and Spotted Dog Which It's a Gastronomic Companion to the Aubrey/Maturin Novels, on the origins of this word (warning: doing so may result in contraction of the Hockogrockle). (p. 74)dragoman (n): an interpreter. Alas, poor Hairabedian. (p. 106)mome (n): a fool. (p. 108)vi et armis: with force of arms. (p. 146)scend (v): to heave or lurch, also available as a noun! (p. 179)

  • Siria
    2019-01-29 22:44

    I'm really trying to pace myself when going through this series, because with every part of it I read, I am more and more conscious that I only have a finite number of books remaining to be read. I'm not even quite half way through the series, but I'm still trying to draw it out as much as I can, so that I will have more of this world to savour and explore.Treason's Harbour is one of the quieter of O' Brian's works so far. The pace is slower, and it feels much more like a part of an extended series, not a stand-alone work, than the previous novels of his that I've read. The prose is still a joy to read, elegant and free-flowing, and capable of displaying O' Brian's erudition and knowledge of the period without ever letting them overwhelm the story.The skill and the subtlety and the love with which he draws his characters is still more than apparent, though. I've rarely read characters who seem more real to me than Jack and Stephen. I've wittered on before at length about my love for Stephen because of how closely I can relate to him as he's one of the few characters I've ever read in fiction who have a comparable background to me (mixed English and Irish culturally) and who share my speech-patterns; and this story certainly did nothing to shake that. His quietly ruthless intelligence, his single-minded fixations on his academic pursuits, his loyalty to Jack and the friendship they have - I can't offhand think of many books which inspire such a fierce joy in me as I read them.

  • Angela
    2019-02-01 02:52

    Some may say that listening to an audio book doesn't count as reading it--that you lose something in the process of imagining the action for yourself, and that there's an extra layer of interpretation between you and the author's words because someone else is reading them to you.Me, I don't quibble about this much. As far as I'm concerned, a decent narrator can do a great deal to make a story come alive, and Patrick Tull did do a very fine job narrating the version of Treason's Harbour I listened to. I did have to do various mental doubletakes at his portrayals of various character accents, since I have Aubrey and Maturin thoroughly imprinted into my brain as Mr. Crowe and Mr. Bettany from the movie--but aside from that, Mr. Tull did do very well distinguishing character accents from his own voice. And in general he seemed a fine narrator for the overall flavor of an Aubrey-Maturin adventure, very British, very proper, and sounding in character for the time frame in which the books are set.As for the story itself, now we're talking. This has been my favorite of the last few of the Aubrey-Maturins I've read, in no small part because of the delightful intrigue plot involving Stephen having to help Mrs. Laura Fielding, who's been forced by the French to try to spy on their behalf because they've imprisoned her husband. There are quite a few hijinx involving Aubrey being mistaken for her lover while she is in fact trying to seduce Stephen, and Aubrey himself mistakenly believing that Stephen is in fact having an affair with her--all of which provides quite a bit of lovely character interaction between our two principles.Played off against this is Stephen's actual intrigue going on with Mrs. Fielding, as he enlists Mrs. Fielding's willing help to turn the French's efforts against them. Meanwhile, Jack has intrigue of his own as he's ordered to go on an urgent mission into the Red Sea, which gives the reader a fine opportunity to see an older, more seasoned Jack desperately trying to turn his fortunes around by pulling off another spectacular success... and what happens when things don't go quite so well as that.Overall this was highly enjoyable, as the Aubrey-Maturins generally are for me, and I'm ready to take on The Far Side of the World! Four stars.

  • Lisa
    2019-02-11 00:35

    In Treason's Harbour, the ninth in the Aubrey/Maturin series, we find Jack and Stephen in Malta. While Jack worries about his ship's repairs, Stephen is being dogged by French spies (who aren't above attempting to honeytrap him), and it seems that the British intelligence network itself has been compromised...I'll be honest - at this point in this series I have lost all objectivity, with Jack and Stephen having become my imaginary best friends and my times aboard ship a blissful holiday from the real world. No matter what their adventures, and even when there's no adventuring at all, I could roll happily around O'Brian's world and words forever.I doubt it will be long before I find myself devouring number ten.

  • Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.)
    2019-02-04 00:49

    A truly superb 'chapter' in the Aubrey-Maturin canon! Loaded with adventure, intrigue, and humor. The book opens with Surprise and its crew in Malta, with Surprise being repaired after her battle with the Torgud and Kitabi (see book no. 8, The Ionian Mission). The French intelligence network is strong in Malta, and Stephen Maturin is tested to his limits to endeavor to thwart it. The scene then shifts from Malta in the Mediterranean Sea to a slog across the Sinai Desert to the Gulf of Suez and the Red Sea as Jack, Stephen, and the crew of Surprise 'borrow' a ship from the East India Company to pursue the nefarious and scheming French in a devilishly clever little campaign. Stephen even brings along a diving bell that he uses to investigate the gin-clear water of the Red Sea and marine life of the tropical reefs.This novel really has it all. I really enjoyed the time spent in Malta, as O'Brian describes, for the reader, of just how important Malta was strategically, to both sides, during the Napoleonic wars. As usual, O'Brian includes loads of music, good food, interesting women, intelligent and witty dialogue, espionage and intrigue, exciting naval action, and lots of natural science. From virtually the first page, Patrick O'Brian pulls the reader deeper into the world of Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin. While I heartily love all 20 of the completed novels, Treason's Harbour is just a cut above; a wonderful, wonderful novel!

  • Julia
    2019-02-11 18:56

    Oh, Stephen Maturin, you had me at "underwater diving bell".This is book nine in O'Brian's naval adventure series about British captain Jack Aubrey and his friend/surgeon/spy Stephen Maturin set during the Napoleonic wars, and it is wonderful. This installment was a quicker read than usual for me, for whatever reason, but just as enjoyable as I have come to expect. There is lots of on-shore spying and intrigue in this one (hooray!) as Maturin deals with French spies in Malta, but it does not skimp on the seafaring adventure (bad weather, battles, sharks). I must admit that even nine books into this series that is rich with period and naval language, I really have only the vaguest notion what a topgallant or a staysail is, but it doesn't matter-- these books are so funny and smart and exciting and fantastic. Onward to number 10!

  • Larou
    2019-02-11 01:51

    O’Brian’s writing is often compared to Jane Austen, but I strongly suspect that this is just a widespread reflex to which pretty much anything set in the Regency period is somehow “like Jane Austen.” There is at least some justice to it in this case, in so far as the implied narrator of the Aubrey-Maturin novels is clearly a contemporary and shares not only the conceptions and prejudices of his characters but also their language – as manifest not just in the extensive (and to the reader often exasperating) use of nautical terms but in O’Brians’s general choice of words, the way he constructs long periods, indeed even the very rhythm of his prose is somehow evocative of the late 18th / early 19th century. However, while on one hand the narrator appears completely immersed in the period in which the novels take place, at the same time he is clearly not and writes with a distinct detachment, watching the to-and-fro on both land and sea from a distance, with wry amusement and ever-present irony.And irony is, I think, the key word here – the author who O’Brian makes me most think of is not Jane Austen (whose irony, it seems to me, is more of the tongue-in-cheek variety and something quite different) but Thomas Mann the vast majority of whose narrators also cultivate this involved-but-not-really-commited attitude (and his protagonist often as well – as when Joseph is said to have become in all respects like an Egyptian – “but with reservations”). Thomas Mann is one of the most imitated writers of the twentieth century, but for some reason it seems to be next to impossible to imitate him successfully – while there is a plethora of excellent, even great Faulkner epigones (to name just one example), almost everyone attempting to write in the vein of Thomas Mann seems to end up second- or third-rate (if not worse), mostly due to a vapid and anaemic prose style. Now, one can call O’Brian’s writing a lot of things, but anaemic is certainly not one of them. I suspect that the reason O’Brian succeeds where so many others have failed is that he applies Thomas Mann’s distinct brand of irony not to the novel of ideas but to the historical novel, where the genre itself pretty much guarantees a certain saturation with vivid details and a certain groundedness which prevents a text from pirouetting endlessly around itself, producing nothing but narcissistic self-centeredness – another trap those who would follow in the footsteps of Thomas Mann like to fall into.In addition the characteristic hovering of irony, the vacillating between two sides of a border without coming down on either seems an almost too perfect solution for what is maybe the central dilemma of the traditional historical novel (i.e., not postmodern and not written by William T. Vollmann) – to present a past period as it has been experienced by its contemporaries while at the same time remaining aware of the basic impossibility of that undertaking, simultaneously immersing the reader in a historical epoch and reminding him that this immersion is an illusion, mere make-believe and an approximation at best. This is a very fine line to walk, and most historical novels tend to fall off to one side or the other – which is not necessarily a bad thing, in fact the results can be quite fascinating, especially if the novel crashes on the immersion side of the divide. O’Brian, however, always remains in perfect balance, walking the tightrope in supreme confidence. In fact, he sometimes makes it look too easy – this is always a danger of irony, that it just is not very dangerous but plays things safe, that the narrator’s equanimous distance from events prevents them from touching him too deeply.Treason’s Harbour – to say at least a sentence or two about the actual book I’m supposed to be writing about here – does not quite escape this, I think. While it speeds things up again after the non-events of The Ionian Mission, spicing things up mainly with some espionage intrigue, it certainly chuffs along pleasantly enough, and it’s of course always a delight to let oneself be carried along by the rhythm of O’Brians prose. But I felt the novel was lacking a bit in emotional involvement. So I may have liked this chapter in the Aubrey-Maturin saga just a tad less than some previous instalments, but overall I still loved and remain eager to continue.

  • Wealhtheow
    2019-02-14 22:39

    The continuing adventures of Dr.Maturin and his bff, Captain Aubrey of the Royal Navy. This is a particularly endearing look at them, because both are in fine form. Aubrey is able to showcase his incredible seamanship, strategy, and leadership, while Maturin's naturalist excusions are a humorous counterpoint to his intelligent manipulations. The humor of their strange shipmates and odd customs of the Navy, the obvious intimacy with Maturin's foibles, the affection shown by all of them toward each other--I really loved it.Three things spoiled my enjoyment: Patrick Tull is generally a good narrator, but his voice for the Italian Mrs.Fielding is atrocious, so bad and artificial that it sounds like a parody. Being party to the French Intelligence officers' meetings is fun for the reader, but made me impatient when Maturin didn't figure out the various French plots. (view spoiler)[Particularly annoying was his continued trust in Ray, because there were numerous clues that Ray was involved with the French, and Maturin had absolutely no reason to trust Ray. (hide spoiler)] And thirdly, the book ends right in the middle of a spy plot and right before more ship battles! I could hardly believe the book ended in such an awkward spot--at first I thought I'd downloaded it wrong!

  • Anna
    2019-02-09 22:39

    The Aubrey & Maturin novels continue to delight. This one features Stephen’s adventures with a diving bell, Jack rescuing a dog from a well, a nefarious spy who suffers from piles, and a foiled bear hunt. Another highlight is the visit of Mrs Fielding to the ship Surprise, which results in the crew’s language improving remarkably: ‘It was pleasant to hear the bosun cry, “Oh you… unskilful fellow” when a hand called Faster Doudle, staring aft at Mrs. Fielding, dropped a marline-spike from the maintop, very nearly transfixing Mr. Hollar’s foot.’ As ever, the dialogue is filled with wonderful puns and perfect comic timing, as well as constant affection for the characters. Much of the land-based action is set in and around Malta, where it is seemingly impossible to keep secrets as everyone gossips all the time. Various sea maneuvers are naturally present too, involving the wicked French and the untrustworthy Turks, however I generally pay less attention to these. It is the absurd details of character that make this series a joy to read. Moreover, I’ve never come across another writer that uses the enchanting word ‘mumchance’.

  • Wendy
    2019-01-30 22:57

    I started this book over a year ago ... Probably for me, the longest period of time between the start and finish of a book. It's hard for me to explain why I like these books so much. Some of them aren't terribly exciting by any means. I think it's the nostalgia of a simpler time when ships were sailing in the sea and people were communicating with letters for the most part.Sometimes I hate technology. it just seems to rule our world so much and I long for time when people actually had to use their intelligence to write a letter instead of using text speak.1st vocab word of this book: Holden was already sitting at his old shipmate's table, one hand holding a glass of wine, the other stretched out, pointing at a singularly magnificent diamond spray in Jack Aubrey's hat. 'What, what is that?' he cried. 'It is a chelengk,' said Jack with some complacency. 'Ain't I elegant?'chelengk: It was a turban ornament consisting of a central flower with leaves and buds, and thirteen upward-facing rays.

  • Karla
    2019-02-15 02:54

    The ending was a little abrupt, coming fast on the end of a sea chase/battle, as is the case with most of the books in this series. But I overall enjoyed this one more than the previous book (Ionian Mission). It was nice to see the boys interacting with a chick, a thorny situation fraught with problems both in and out of the boudoir.The absence of Pullings made me sad, but I managed to survive the disappointment.

  • John Jr.
    2019-02-09 00:42

    At the beginning of this entry in Patrick O’Brian’s much-loved series of historical novels, the British are at war with the French and also the Americans, and the year is a broadly conceived 1812 or 1813. Jack Aubrey, captain of the small frigate Surprise, and Stephen Maturin, who is Aubrey’s best friend, the surgeon of the Surprise, and—unknown to many—an agent for British intelligence, are in Malta. There’s comedy (Jack falls into a cistern while trying to rescue a dog), a few notes of science (Stephen gets hold of a diving bell), intrigue (more than one man on the British side is secretly serving the French and causing havoc), action at sea and on land, and—perhaps most important—a woman, Laura Fielding. Her husband is being held captive by the French, and their agents are manipulating her into attempting to wrest secrets from Aubrey or Maturin, both of whom struggle with temptation.As always, O’Brian’s account abounds in nautical detail from the age of sail, which miraculously doesn’t impede one’s overall grasp, and is also rich in many other aspects of language, social custom, natural history (as much of science used to be called), medicine, and political and military history. As A. S. Byatt observes in a back-cover blurb—which I’ll quote because it seems exactly right—O’Brian creates “a whole, solidly living world for the imagination to inhabit.”

  • Erik
    2019-01-30 20:42

    Great return to form after the doldrums of The Ionian Mission. Two bits that I love: "the city of Valetta was as cheerful as though it were fortunate in love or as though it had suddenly heard good news." And Captain Aubrey looking through the stern-window: "This was a sight that never failed to move him: the noble curve of shining panes, wholly unlike any landborne window, and then the sea in some one of its infinity of aspects; and the whole in silence, entirely to himself. If he spent the rest of his life on half-pay in a debtors' prison he would still have had this, he reflected, eating the last of the Cephalonian cheese; and it was something over and above any reward he could have possibly contracted for." Quibble: I think Stephen should have figured out the double agent pretty quickly.

  • Robert French
    2019-01-28 03:00

    It has been quite a few years since I have read any of Patrick O'brian's Aubrey/Maturin books. I just happened to pick up Treason's Harbour at the library while reading John Sugden's second volume of his moumental Nelson biography. I was not disappointed. I thoroughly enjoyed Treason's Harbour, perhaps because my reading of the Nelson biography added so much background information.Most of my past reading (and it was quite awhile ago) of Patrick O'Brian's series was disjointed and not in order. Now I plan to read the series in order and expect to be absolutely thrilled by the experience.

  • Randy
    2019-02-09 20:35

    Audio book versionThrilling action. If you haven't already read this phenomenal series because you don't care for historical fiction or you aren't interested in "naval" adventures you are doing yourself a disservice. These books are remarkable. They are, in fact, one gigantic book, far greater in breath than War and Peace (which I sometimes read as a short treat after finishing this saga).

  • Melissa
    2019-01-22 02:33

    This is one of my favorites from this wonderful series of historical fiction. There is a lot to enjoy in this book: marvelous description of Malta and the harbor town of Valetta; a journey across the Egyptian desert and south down the Red Sea; humor, betrayal, and intrigue; and especially the richness and depth of O'Brian's characters. I love Geoff Hunt's cover art as well.

  • Renee M
    2019-02-06 01:54

    There is no joy quite like that if going to sea with Stephen and Jack. Lots of intrigue in this one. And some pretty thick suspense over the fate of a lady spy. Plus, a bit of a cliffhanger concerning a mole in the service with the power to do both our heroes some real harm before the next book comes to a close. Great stuff!!

  • Poppy
    2019-02-17 02:49

    Not O'Brian's finest, but then, it's hard to portray a series of less-than-successful missions in a thoroughly gripping way. One thing I enjoyed about it is that Stephen's intelligence work drives the narrative, rather than Jack's exploits.

  • Barbara
    2019-02-16 18:42

    This is the best one of this series for me so far. The writing is, as usual, as usual, wonderful. What is important to me, too, in a series if that the character's grow and change as the series goes on, and they do here. They become more themselves.

  • Marcus
    2019-02-03 18:51

    Very entertaining despite having limited nautical action. I like how the spy stuff is playing a larger role in the overall plot at this point.

  • K.M. Weiland
    2019-01-20 23:42

    Lovely - as always.

  • Jocelyn
    2019-02-17 01:31

    Oh, no! A double agent keeps betraying Jack's position to the French, but Stephen can't figure out who it is! He is still clueless at the end of the book! Wake up, Stephen! It is so obvious!!

  • Patrick
    2019-01-19 18:44

    ‘I have no patience with Emmanuel Kant. Ever since I found him take such notice of that thief Rousseau, I have had no patience with him at all – for a philosopher to countenance that false ranting dog of a Swiss raparee shows either a criminal levity or a no less criminal gullibility. Gushing, carefully-calculated tears – false confidences, untrue confessions – enthusiasm – romantic vistas…How I hate enthusiasm and romantic vistas,’ [Stephen] said.I read Treason’s Harbour, the ninth of Patrick O’Brian’s historical novels, in the sleepy fallow period between the start of the Christmas holidays and returning to work for the New Year. That might have coloured my thoughts on it which, looking back on it now, are somewhat indistinct. Like the book which preceded it, The Ionian Mission, it’s a book which takes a while to find its feet. Yet on the whole, I think this ends up as a more satisfying excursion. As ever, reading O’Brian feels less like picking up a novel in isolation and more like dipping into a continuum that spans the twenty volumes in this series; but in this case at least, the book has a simple and concise idea of how its dramatic arc should begin and end.The basic plot is quite simple: we are in Malta, where Stephen is being hunted. He has angered the Americans and the French alike, and his guise as a simple naturalist is slipping. Lesueur, a French secret agent, seems to be stalking him, and he’s using a woman to get close to him. This is Laura Fielding, a woman who gets by giving lessons in music and languages to the English officers; the French have taken her husband Charles prisoner, leaving her entirely subject to their will. And they have someone else high up in the British navy acting as a double agent, too. This only becomes clear after a lengthy and laborious expedition for Aubrey ends in disappointment, and near disaster; someone, it seems, is trying to lead our heroes into a trap.All of this makes for an entertaining backdrop to the usual pleasant rhythms of O’Brian’s writing. The prose is compulsively readable, as ever; the clauses and sub-clauses roll back and forth with a musical quality, while the fine bone regency style knocks pleasingly against naval jargon. The attention to detail is peerless — one spellbinding sequence tracks every aspect of the moment of a ship, right down to the effect of centrifugal forces on the glass of wine on Jack’s dinner table.There’s gentle social comedy, some pleasant sailing about the mediterranean — this time to the Red Sea and the Sinai peninsula — and of course, a few thrilling scenes of naval action. But compared to the last few books in the series, this one has a lighter, almost whimsical feel. Lesueur makes for an entertaining villain, and it’s especially notable that (for the first time in the series?) the narrative briefly switches to his perspective, away from Stephen and Jack entirely. Yet he doesn’t really come across as a credible threat here: he’s a two-dimensional baddie, rather prone to chin-stroking asides laden with portent. Nothing really is allowed to interrupt our impression of the superior competence of Aubrey and Maturin.I suspect this is not a book which adds a great deal to the series in terms of new thematic interest. But it is full of memorable moments. Aubrey rescues Laura’s poor dog Ponto from drowning in a water cistern, and in the process gets stuck there himself and accidentally starts a rumour that he may be sleeping with her. Stephen buys a diving bell and becomes an expert urinator. There’s the tense pursuit of a little boat purportedly loaded with silver bullion, recalling Joseph Conrad’s Nostromo. And there’s a very odd sequence with Admiral Hartley, a strange emaciated figure living in semi-retirement, that almost seems entirely irrelevant to the rest of the book. Yet I do like Jack’s musings on this part, involving tortoises, that bookends his visit:‘…it was not until he had been going for some time that he heard a curious tock-tock-tock and he saw a small one running, positively running across the road, perched high on its legs; it was being pursued by a larger tortoise, who, catching it up, butted it three times in quick succession: it was the clap of the shells that produced the tock-tock-tock. ‘Tyranny,’ said Jack, meaning to intervene: but either the last blows had subdued the smaller tortoise – a female – or she felt that she had shown all the reluctance that was called for; in any case she stopped. The male covered her, and maintaining himself precariously on her domed back with his ancient folded leathery legs he raised his face to the sun, stretched up his neck, opened his mouth wide and uttered the strangest dying cry…’And then, a little later:‘As Jack walked back towards the sea the heat was greater, the glare of the white road more blinding, and the harsh clamour of the cicadas louder still. He had rarely been so sad. The black thoughts flooded in, one upon another: Admiral Hartley, of course; and the perpetual rushing passage of time; inevitable decay; the most unimaginable evil of impotence...Instinctively he jerked back as something shot past his face like a block hurtling from high aloft in action: it struck the stony ground just in front of his feet and burst apart – a tortoise, probably one of the amorous reptiles of a little while ago, since this was the very place. And looking up he saw the huge dark bird that had dropped it: the bird looked down at him, circling, circling as it stared. ‘Good Lord above,’ he said. ‘Good Lord above…’ And after a moment’s consideration, ‘How I wish Stephen had been here.’It’s a nice image: the melancholic train of thought on sex and death, interrupted by the impact of a very real memento mori. The power of fate so often makes itself felt in these books, in ways great and small; and as we’ve so often seen, perhaps what sets Aubrey and Maturin apart is their ability to succeed in spite of so many myriad unhappy accidents. And how appropriate, too, the desire at the end of it all to see Stephen. Is it only that he would have wanted him to see the tortoises? It’s hard to picture him saying something similar about his wife, for example; perhaps it’s another way of saying that he would rather be with Stephen in such a conclusive moment than with anyone else?

  • Magrathea
    2019-01-22 19:56

    Uomini di mare, ma non solo Inizia in maniera che non ci si aspetta. Si è a terra. Ed il mare? Il mare dov'è? Siamo a La Valletta, all'arsenale, termine sinonimo oggi di "cantiere" e la nave del capitano Aubrey è in riparazione. C'è un gran fermento: un capitano è passato a miglior vita ed inizia la bagarre per riempire quel vuoto e, come tutti, anche Jack Aubrey spera di coronare il sogno di una vita. La prossima missione potrebbe essere una buona chance di mettersi in mostra, ma il mare è ancora lungi da vedersi. La nave affidatagli per la missione si trova alla foce del Nilo e bisognerà attraversare un mare ben diverso dal solito per giungervi: il deserto. Giunti fra pericoli, miraggi e superstizioni sul Nilo, la faccenda si complica. Una inaspettata trama spionistica si aggiunge alle molteplici serpeggianti per tutto il racconto. Ricatti, fughe, falsi amori e vere passioni porteranno a bordo una donna che fugge da un ricatto. Incredibile come sia raccontata l'influenza positiva dell'elemento femminile a bordo: gl uomini rigano dritto, si presta attenzione al linguaggio e alla cura dell'abbigliamento tanto che il comandante riflette su come sarebbe positiva una presenza (breve e con cambi di persona continui) di una donna a bordo. Una volta cannoneggiamenti, duelli, battaglie dove il comandante Aubrey può finalmente esprimere tutta la sua esperienza grazie anche ad un equipaggio che stima essere il migliore di tutta la flotta inglese, se non il migliore di tutte le marine. Non era facile la vita a bordo a quei tempi. Gli imbarcati erano per lo più uomini che a terra non avevano nulla cui tornare: orfani, delinquenti, schiavi che, a tenerli insieme e a farli rigare dritto, non bastavano punizioni, frustate e giri di chiglia. Ma l'equipaggio di Jack Aubrey è leggermente diverso: uomini scelti, affiatati dalle tante missioni in cui hanno potuto rinsaldare la reciproca conoscenza, uomini che portano rispetto e si lasciano guidare da un comandante che non è come gli altri. Jack Aubrey è un buon comandante, non ama punire i suoi uomini se non in casi estremi, concede loro quello che si aspettano e ripaga con una giusta ricompensa, con la gloria e combattimenti senza quartiere. Un'altra avventura fantastica (per gli amanti del genere e dei diportisti assatanati come me) che continua a far sognare. Ufficiali che conoscevano almeno 3 lingue, intessevano pubbliche relazioni, si occupavano di rapporti commerciali, sapevano calcolare rotte, velocità, conoscevano la meteorologia, i venti ed i fondali ad occhi chiusi e sapevano gestire tempeste e pezzi di artiglieria nonchè i marinai ed il clima a bordo... sarà pure stata dura, a quei tempi, a bordo, ma chapeau! (solo 4 stelle per il solito finale "mozzo" di O'Brian... neanche non sapesse come finire il libro... mah!)

  • Stephen
    2019-02-02 18:57

    This is the ninth adventure of Aubrey and Maturin. It starts with them based at Malta. The main emphasis of the book at the start is the intelligence war between the British and the French and between the various British services represented in Malta. It is hard to tell who is who and what is what. It is meant to be, and the narrative covers the confusion of espionage and counter-espionage quite well.Eventually they get to sea on a mission. They are to sail to Egypt, travel overland to Suez, take up a Turkish ship placed into British service, and sail down the Red Sea to prevent the ruler of Mubara from entering into French service. The expedition goes tolerably well up to the point where they enter the Red Sea. Then things go awry.It seems that the French are expecting them and they very nearly sail into a trap. There has to have been a leak of intelligence for this to be the case. After their return to Malta, they are then ordered to Gibraltar after a short mission to Zambara on the North African coast. Once again, the French are waiting for them and nearly trap them. Once again, there has t have been a leak of information, but this time Maturin is able to narrow the field of candidates a little. The question of treachery is not settled in the book, so one expects it to recur in later volumes.I found the pace of this volume quite good. It didn't have that tired feeling that one or two previous volumes had, and it didn't dwell too much on nautical terminology. It was a plain adventure tale and I enjoyed reading it very much.

  • Andreas Schmidt
    2019-02-09 02:51

    Un po' sottotonoL'ho trovato parecchio sottotono. In questo romanzo scompare il vecchio "nemico" di Aubrey, il contrammiraglio Harte a causa di uno scontro nella baia di Zambra a fine libro, e si prospetta un seguito nel prossimo romanzo di queste vicende.Quasi fino alla metà di questo romanzo, l'avventura riprende dopo le vicende di Tolone e del blocco navale: a Malta.Qui il dottor Maturin gioca da protagonista con le sue vicende di spia al servizio degli inglesi. Un breve intermezzo nel Mar Rosso e poi di nuovo indietro, di nuovo a Malta, dove Maturin salva la signora Fielding (che ha avuto una parte determinante nel complotto tra Wray, funzionario inglese dei servizi britannici al soldo del nemico a causa dei debiti di gioco, e il francese Lesueur per catturare Maturin) per portarla a Gibilterra. In quei sei giorni di navigazione, la Pollux con il contrammiraglio Harte cade nell'imboscata tesa dai francesi, grazie al tradimento di Wray.Direi che è un romanzo un po' sottotono, non ho mai trovato molto interessante la vita di terra descritta da O'Brian, soltanto nel romanzo in cui erano prigionieri negli Stati Uniti c'è stato un piccolo colpo di genio nella narrazione, ma al di là di questo, il romanzo si anima soltanto quando partono per il Mar Rosso.

  • Neil Coulter
    2019-01-19 21:37

    Treason's Harbour continues the Mediterranean cruise that Aubrey and Maturin began in the previous volume. It also extends the bittersweet tone of that book, as Jack and Stephen age, mature, and reflect on their lives and their futures. Jack's luck is still not back to its early heights, though there are hints that it is set to change again. Until then, Jack contemplates the shape of his life:For some time now he had been dissatisfied with himself. . . . It seemed to him that his reputation in the service (and with himself as one who watched Jack Aubrey's doings from a certain distance and with an almost perfect knowledge of his motives) was based on two or three fortunate actions, sea-fights that he could look back upon with real pleasure, small though they were; but they belonged to the past; they had all happened long ago; and now there were several men who stood far higher in the esteem of those whose opinion he valued. . . . It was as though he were running a race: a race in which he had done fairly well for a while, after a slow start, but one in which he could not hold his lead and was being overtaken, perhaps from lack of bottom, perhaps from lack of judgment, perhaps from lack of that particularly nameless quality that brought some men success when it just eluded others, though they might take equal pains. He could not put his fingers on the fault with any certainty, and there were days when he could say with real conviction that the whole thing was mere fatality, the other side of the good luck that had attended him in his twenties and early thirties, the restoration of the average. But there were other days when he felt that his profound uneasiness was an undeniable proof of the fault's existence, and that although he himself might not be able to name it, it was clear enough to others, particularly those in power: at all events, they had given many of the good appointments to other men, not to him. (153-154)I find this to be a poignant summary of the thoughts that go through a man's head as he approaches middle age--and I can't help but wonder if these are the thoughts that attacked O'Brian as he began each new volume of the series, wondering if he still had one more story in him.The plot of Treason's Harbour shows us more of the intelligence network operations that Stephen has been a part of, and we see it from multiple perspectives. It was interesting, and also frustrating, to know more than Stephen is seeing. I was also interested to see echoes of a former romantic rivalry between Jack and Stephen, which in this case has none of the substance of the former conflict and serves to highlight the age and development of the two characters.The book ends, as many of these do, still in the midst of the Mediterranean voyage, with some hope of further adventures for the Surprise and its crew.My reviews of the Aubrey/Maturin series:Master and CommanderPost CaptainH.M.S. SurpriseThe Mauritius CommandDesolation IslandThe Fortune of WarThe Surgeon's MateThe Ionian MissionTreason's HarbourThe Far Side of the WorldThe Reverse of the MedalThe Letter of MarqueThe Thirteen-Gun SaluteThe Nutmeg of ConsolationClarissa OakesThe Wine-Dark SeaThe CommodoreThe Yellow AdmiralThe Hundred DaysBlue at the Mizzen21