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Thread: Fans of Hornblower and the Aubrey-Maturin books

  1. #36
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    Default Re: Fans of Hornblower and the Aubrey-Maturin books

    I agree that the Aubrey-Maturin books are best thought of a a whole. Then the relationship between the two men is easily the most satisfying I have come across. Maturin seems to me to be the more developed character, and I love his side-adventures as he seeks out rare or undiscovered animal species. I have read the series three times (and I rarely re-read anything) and will go back again I'm sure after a good break.

    I'm enjoying "The Complete Midshipman Bolitho." Thanks for the recommendation, though I doubt I'll read all of them, it's good to know they exist for when I get the itch.

    I agree with Tom about O'Brian's ability to conjure the language of the time. The weird idiomatic expressions are great. And let's not forget the humor!

    Cheers!

    Mike

  2. #37
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    Default Re: Fans of Hornblower and the Aubrey-Maturin books

    I am reading the series written by Chris Durbin right now, about two RN sailors, Carlisle and Holbrooke; set earlier than O'Brian's books during the Seven Years War. The writing seems to be an excellent mix of people-characters-story, and rope-and-sail seamanship. Just the right balance.

    I think it's the best successor to Forester and O'Brian, and I've tried them all.

    Lots of scenes in North America, including the capture of Quebec -- which I found very interesting.

  3. #38
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    Default Re: Fans of Hornblower and the Aubrey-Maturin books

    Three Years Before the Mast by Richard Henry Dana is a good read, also anything by Frank Bullen. Both were writing from personal experience about actual events.
    Bullen started his seagoing career as a 12yo cabin boy IIRC.

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  4. #39
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    Default Re: Fans of Hornblower and the Aubrey-Maturin books

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Hadfield View Post
    I am reading the series written by Chris Durbin right now, about two RN sailors, Carlisle and Holbrooke; set earlier than O'Brian's books during the Seven Years War. The writing seems to be an excellent mix of people-characters-story, and rope-and-sail seamanship. Just the right balance.

    I think it's the best successor to Forester and O'Brian, and I've tried them all.
    Thanks for this! I wouldn't have found it on my own, and, having made it to Amazon, got to read the first chapter and a half before clicking in the "Buy" button. Good stuff. ����

  5. #40
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    Default Re: Fans of Hornblower and the Aubrey-Maturin books

    It's been a long time since I read them, but I recall enjoying Kenneth Roberts' books.

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    Default Re: Fans of Hornblower and the Aubrey-Maturin books

    Quote Originally Posted by johnw View Post
    It's been a long time since I read them, but I recall enjoying Kenneth Roberts' books.
    I recently (last spring?) reread Arundel. I had the added benefit now of knowing a lot of the lay of the land which made it more fun. Definitely aimed at younger readers, but his descriptions of the land & the people on it are great.

    I learned (years ago) a lot more about the Tory side of things in the Revolution from Oliver Wiswell than I ever did in history class.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  7. #42
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    Default Re: Fans of Hornblower and the Aubrey-Maturin books

    I seem to be the only one to mention Dewey Lambdin's Alan Lewrie series. Has no one else read them - or have folks read 'em & not liked 'em?

    Lewrie - something of a rapscallion - rises from midshipman to captain - along the lines of Hornblower, but with more warmth. Lambdin died in 2021, but there are 25 books in the series.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  8. #43
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    Default Re: Fans of Hornblower and the Aubrey-Maturin books

    I liked Kenneth Roberts work...

    But I understand he was a bit of a curmudeon. Someone from Maine, a niegbor perhaps or another writer explained that he had his "study" in the stern cabin of an old schooner at his home on the beach in Kennebunkport. Maybe I'm inventing that?

    However, it is certain I would not have liked him:

    "In 1997 Edgar Beem described Roberts as an enormously popular novelist..., an ultra-conservative Republican who inveighed in print against the New Deal and against America's liberal immigration policy. It is said that he so hated Franklin Roosevelt that he glued Roosevelt dimes to the clamshells he used as ashtrays, the better to grind ashes into FDRs face! "

    https://www.fishermensvoice.com/arch...anHistory.html


  9. #44
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    Default Re: Fans of Hornblower and the Aubrey-Maturin books

    Quote Originally Posted by Canoeyawl View Post
    I liked Kenneth Roberts work...

    But I understand he was a bit of a curmudeon. Someone from Maine, a niegbor perhaps or another writer explained that he had his "study" in the stern cabin of an old schooner at his home on the beach in Kennebunkport. Maybe I'm inventing that?

    However, it is certain I would not have liked him:

    "In 1997 Edgar Beem described Roberts as “an enormously popular novelist..., an ultra-conservative Republican who inveighed in print against the New Deal and against America's liberal immigration policy.” It is said that he so hated Franklin Roosevelt that he glued Roosevelt dimes to the clamshells he used as ashtrays, the better to grind ashes into FDR’s face! "

    https://www.fishermensvoice.com/arch...anHistory.html

    There are a lot of writers whose views and personalities I would not have liked as much as their books.

    I read Roberts as a pre-teen living in Kittery, Maine, so a lot of what he wrote was the history of where I lived.
    Last edited by johnw; 11-14-2022 at 10:08 PM.

  10. #45
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    Default Re: Fans of Hornblower and the Aubrey-Maturin books

    Quote Originally Posted by johnw View Post
    There are a lot of writers whose views and personalities I would not have liked as much as their books.

    I read Roberts as a pre-teen living in Kittery, Maine, so a lot of what he wrote was the history of where I lived.
    As did I, and I enjoyed them!

    A couple of hours east of the Picataqua...

    And what lad at ten years even had a clue about politics?
    I knew Ike was president, and along with my father fresh out of the war, and his father, we all thought he was great!

  11. #46
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    Default Re: Fans of Hornblower and the Aubrey-Maturin books

    Quote Originally Posted by Garret View Post
    I seem to be the only one to mention Dewey Lambdin's Alan Lewrie series. Has no one else read them - or have folks read 'em & not liked 'em?

    Lewrie - something of a rapscallion - rises from midshipman to captain - along the lines of Hornblower, but with more warmth. Lambdin died in 2021, but there are 25 books in the series.
    I’ve read them, but as Lewrie was a cat lover I found he was a hard character to like.

  12. #47
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    Default Re: Fans of Hornblower and the Aubrey-Maturin books

    I reread that recently I particularly enjoyed the narraters view on the first nation people compared to many of his fellow country men. Also his views on animals etc. It's a pretty insightful book. Though Arnold's foray into Canada was typical of a lot of the attempts to attack Canada. In those times the climate and landscape was a huge impediment to ill-prepared foot soldiers with no idea of the vast distances involved. I wished there was more naval content but that's not really what it was about.


    Quote Originally Posted by Garret View Post
    I recently (last spring?) reread Arundel. I had the added benefit now of knowing a lot of the lay of the land which made it more fun. Definitely aimed at younger readers, but his descriptions of the land & the people on it are great.

    I learned (years ago) a lot more about the Tory side of things in the Revolution from Oliver Wiswell than I ever did in history class.

  13. #48
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    Default Re: Fans of Hornblower and the Aubrey-Maturin books

    Quote Originally Posted by L.A Marche View Post
    Ive read them, but as Lewrie was a cat lover I found he was a hard character to like.
    You couldn't like a character because he liked cats??? Are you a dog? Though many dogs like cats. What's not to like about cats? They're hilarious.

  14. #49
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    Default Re: Fans of Hornblower and the Aubrey-Maturin books

    Quote Originally Posted by Toxophilite View Post
    You couldn't like a character because he liked cats??? Are you a dog? Though many dogs like cats. What's not to like about cats? They're hilarious.
    Cats, they make me sneeze.
    I didn’t dislike him, I just found the whole ram cat analogy a tad much, I enjoyed the action/adventure parts though and would recommend them as a good read.

  15. #50
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    Default Re: Fans of Hornblower and the Aubrey-Maturin books

    Quote Originally Posted by L.A Marche View Post
    I’ve read them, but as Lewrie was a cat lover I found he was a hard character to like.
    Now that is a line that would mark the beginning of an interesting conversation. Leave the bottle, waiter, and bring two glasses.
    1960 LeClerq 36' Commercial Salmon Troller F/V Alcor

  16. #51
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    Default Re: Fans of Hornblower and the Aubrey-Maturin books

    "Wanting to meet an author because you like his work is like wanting to meet a duck because you like pat. -Margaret Atwood, novelist and poet (b. 18 Nov 1939)"

  17. #52
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    Default Re: Fans of Hornblower and the Aubrey-Maturin books

    Kenneth Roberts was my great uncle and my mother was one of two children he ever liked. His journals (donated to Dartmouth) which he kept religiously, assuming that they would be valuable to his reputation, revealed that in addition to being a curmudgeon and a Roosevelt-hater (for which I give him a pass) he was racist, an anti-semite, and a fervent believer in eugenics. He was able to drum up support for the replacement of a WPA mural in the Kennebunkport post office because it depicted beach-goers as sometimes overweight and sometimes Slavic instead of aryan. His writing studio was not fitted-out as a captain's cabin but he did have a host of maritime memorabilia at his estate "Rocky Pastures" including chicken-bone ship models made by American 1812 POW's held in Britain and a 4 foot tall lignin vitae ship's fid which I now own. I inherited some of his wealth and I enjoy making donations to organizations he would have hated.

  18. #53
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    Default Re: Fans of Hornblower and the Aubrey-Maturin books

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Brown View Post
    Kenneth Roberts was my great uncle and my mother was one of two children he ever liked. His journals (donated to Dartmouth) which he kept religiously, assuming that they would be valuable to his reputation, revealed that in addition to being a curmudgeon and a Roosevelt-hater (for which I give him a pass) he was racist, an anti-semite, and a fervent believer in eugenics. He was able to drum up support for the replacement of a WPA mural in the Kennebunkport post office because it depicted beach-goers as sometimes overweight and sometimes Slavic instead of aryan. His writing studio was not fitted-out as a captain's cabin but he did have a host of maritime memorabilia at his estate "Rocky Pastures" including chicken-bone ship models made by American 1812 POW's held in Britain and a 4 foot tall lignin vitae ship's fid which I now own. I inherited some of his wealth and I enjoy making donations to organizations he would have hated.
    Thanks for that!

  19. #54
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    Default Re: Fans of Hornblower and the Aubrey-Maturin books

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Brown View Post
    Kenneth Roberts was my great uncle and my mother was one of two children he ever liked. His journals (donated to Dartmouth) which he kept religiously, assuming that they would be valuable to his reputation, revealed that in addition to being a curmudgeon and a Roosevelt-hater (for which I give him a pass) he was racist, an anti-semite, and a fervent believer in eugenics. He was able to drum up support for the replacement of a WPA mural in the Kennebunkport post office because it depicted beach-goers as sometimes overweight and sometimes Slavic instead of aryan. His writing studio was not fitted-out as a captain's cabin but he did have a host of maritime memorabilia at his estate "Rocky Pastures" including chicken-bone ship models made by American 1812 POW's held in Britain and a 4 foot tall lignin vitae ship's fid which I now own. I inherited some of his wealth and I enjoy making donations to organizations he would have hated.
    I love this place (where else would you learn something like that?) and - as John said - good job & thank you!
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  20. #55
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    Default Re: Fans of Hornblower and the Aubrey-Maturin books

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Brown View Post
    I inherited some of his wealth and I enjoy making donations to organizations he would have hated.


    Well done!

    Tom
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  21. #56
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    Default Re: Fans of Hornblower and the Aubrey-Maturin books

    I enjoy making donations to organizations he would have hated.
    Excellent!
    Thank you for sharing that bit of history

  22. #57
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    Default Re: Fans of Hornblower and the Aubrey-Maturin books

    Took a dozen of these out of the library, into my second one and enjoying it. The character does have a bit of Flashman in him, not always noble and faultlessly brave at times knavish, ill tempered and gnawed with doubt. I had to look up what a ram cat was as it was mentioned a couple times. They do indulge the pet aspect a fair bit though, both cats and dogs I noticed.

    THat's hilarious about donating to causes Kenneth Robert's would've hated. I knew nothing about him except that book.

    Quote Originally Posted by Garret View Post
    I seem to be the only one to mention Dewey Lambdin's Alan Lewrie series. Has no one else read them - or have folks read 'em & not liked 'em?

    Lewrie - something of a rapscallion - rises from midshipman to captain - along the lines of Hornblower, but with more warmth. Lambdin died in 2021, but there are 25 books in the series.

  23. #58
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    Default Re: Fans of Hornblower and the Aubrey-Maturin books

    Now reading the second of Ellis Meacham's...
    and loved Bruce brown's post

  24. #59
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    Default Re: Fans of Hornblower and the Aubrey-Maturin books

    My family is from Maine (same place since 1836) and until perhaps myself (my father at 97 last week still plays his cards close) were notoriously conservative. They were proud of that and I knew many that were in their prime during the Roosevelt era and loved every one of them. There is still an like new Alf Langdon license plate on the wall of the barn...
    Although I would not have agreed with them, how one voted would not have been readily disclosed, perhaps among family members but never publicly.

    After all, my family gave Sterling Hayden the boot from their summer camp, and his name would crop up at the Sunday dinner table as a "Damned Commie" yet at the house next door was Lincoln Colcord, a screaming liberal and political journalist who used to spend summer afternoons drinking on his porch with Sterling Hayden. It is not possible with his reputation for enjoying a drink my grandfather was not invited to join them...

  25. #60
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    Default Re: Fans of Hornblower and the Aubrey-Maturin books

    Not seafaring, but:

    Bernard Cornwell was lauded by one reviewer as the natural heir to O'Brian. His Sharpe series is roughly analogous to the Aubrey/Maturin books ( Napoleonic wars, buddy lead characters ), but on land with the British Army, mainly under Wellington. Made into a great TV series starring Sean Bean, who ( incredibly ), does NOT die. ;-)

    And then there are his Saxon Tales novels, which have been made into the TV series The Last Kingdom. One reviewer raved that it was like Cornwell time traveled back to Saxon England to write the books.
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  26. #61
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    Default Re: Fans of Hornblower and the Aubrey-Maturin books

    While Roberts appears to a man whose views I find easy to dislike, a curmudgeon? Not likely, as curmudgeons keep the wisdom of a society from falling for the latest stupidity to be proposed. I am often so called and can wear the label gladly.

    The true curmudgeon will not tolerate BS while Roberts and his like embrace and spread it.

  27. #62
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    Default Re: Fans of Hornblower and the Aubrey-Maturin books

    Well I just finished my 2nd Alan Lewrey book by Dewey Lambdin and they are already beginning to irritate me. Besides the large sections of dubious writing, the writer is clearly a misogynist and it comes though in his writing a lot.(not to mention he forward (to my ex-wives etc. etc.)) All the female characters so far just seem to be vessels for pleasure. Much of the dialogue is unreadable, I found myself skipping over large sections of bad french accent simply because one had to try and translate it and it had zero bearing on the story. In fact skimming through them to read the bits at sea seems to be the most satisfying way to read these books. This would make them all about 50 pages long however.


    Bernard Cornwell on the other hand is almost always entertaining, not to mention he has the best first name... The Sharpe series are great and often very funny as are the Uhtred series and the THomas Hookton series are good too.


    Quote Originally Posted by Gerarddm View Post
    Not seafaring, but:

    Bernard Cornwell was lauded by one reviewer as the natural heir to O'Brian. His Sharpe series is roughly analogous to the Aubrey/Maturin books ( Napoleonic wars, buddy lead characters ), but on land with the British Army, mainly under Wellington. Made into a great TV series starring Sean Bean, who ( incredibly ), does NOT die. ;-)

    And then there are his Saxon Tales novels, which have been made into the TV series The Last Kingdom. One reviewer raved that it was like Cornwell time traveled back to Saxon England to write the books.

  28. #63
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    Default Re: Fans of Hornblower and the Aubrey-Maturin books

    I was disappointed in the TV series, being a huge Sharpe fan since the 80s. Too low a budget (armies with 75 people), and Sean Bean isn't big enough or mean enough to fit the character of Sharpe. And the sergeant in that TV series is NOT Patrick Harper...

    I hope someone will produce these books as films properly some day.

    The Last Kingdom is ok. Again, not quite big enough, but I did watch the whole thing. I have every book.

    Anyway, back to the thread -- I finished the latest Chris Durbin sea-novel the other day and was quite disappointed to discover there wasn't another one waiting. It's exactly like the feeling I experienced during the Patrick O'Brian novels during the 80s and 90s. These are really quite good.

  29. #64
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    Default Re: Fans of Hornblower and the Aubrey-Maturin books

    I found the Sharpe series a pretty simplified, but that's TV . Supposedly Bernard Cornwell really liked Sean Bean and he is somewhat appropriate if a little too blonde. Terrible music though. Bad rock guitar with Napoleonic adventure,,who's idea was that??

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Hadfield View Post
    I was disappointed in the TV series, being a huge Sharpe fan since the 80s. Too low a budget (armies with 75 people), and Sean Bean isn't big enough or mean enough to fit the character of Sharpe. And the sergeant in that TV series is NOT Patrick Harper...

    I hope someone will produce these books as films properly some day.

    The Last Kingdom is ok. Again, not quite big enough, but I did watch the whole thing. I have every book.

    Anyway, back to the thread -- I finished the latest Chris Durbin sea-novel the other day and was quite disappointed to discover there wasn't another one waiting. It's exactly like the feeling I experienced during the Patrick O'Brian novels during the 80s and 90s. These are really quite good.

  30. #65
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    Default Re: Fans of Hornblower and the Aubrey-Maturin books

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Hadfield View Post
    I hope someone will produce these books as films properly some day.
    "Properly" is the key word, there, isn't it? One of my favorite science fiction novels of the last ten years, The Peripheral, by William Gibson, has been in development as a series for a couple of years, and, now that the first half dozen episodes are out I am dealing with a sense of bitter disappointment in what seems to me the awkward, inelegant, and shallow commercialization of the product. It's also been confusing, as most of the reviews and social media posts have been quite positive. I've struggled with an urge to keep watching something that I find quite annoying, as I'm loathe to give up the hope that I had for the experience.

  31. #66
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    Default Re: Fans of Hornblower and the Aubrey-Maturin books

    Die-hard Aubrey - Maturin geeks might enjoy these essays:

    https://joshuacorey.substack.com/p/the-bow-chaser


    He's a professor of literature or poetry or something. The few that I've read are insightful. You'll need to provide an email address to sign up, but I haven't needed to pay to read anything.

    Tom, this one's for you!

    - James

  32. #67
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    Default Re: Fans of Hornblower and the Aubrey-Maturin books

    Cornwell wrote several contemporary sailing novels that are gripping reads. His TV background makes him a great "visual" writer - at least for me his ability to describe action if amazing.

    One sultry afternoon in Chatham Harbor I teased him that he has only one hero - incredibly tough, never gives in, very smart about war and violence, not so smart and often unlucky in love. I like all of his series.
    Last edited by Ian McColgin; 11-28-2022 at 03:40 PM.

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    Default Re: Fans of Hornblower and the Aubrey-Maturin books

    Quote Originally Posted by pez_leon View Post
    Die-hard Aubrey - Maturin geeks might enjoy these essays:

    https://joshuacorey.substack.com/p/the-bow-chaser

    - James
    Well done, sir! Quite a juicy newsletter with plenty of interesting stuff that would be well off-topic, hereabouts! And, by the way, he says he's a "Professor of English at Lake Forest College." Thanks!

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