Reviews

THE LETTER OF MARQUE

Editorial Review - Kirkus - Jane Doe

O'Brian (Desolation Island, 1979, etc.) brings back Captain Jack Aubrey, who is no longer in the Royal Navy but nonetheless still sails against Napoleon. Aubrey is a stern man these days, having been dismissed from the service for false charges of stock fraud. His old friend Stephen Maturin, however, having bought Aubrey's old frigate Surprise, now uses her as a private ship of war (a letter of ... Read full review

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There is one thing I do not understand. The people writing the new Star Trek 12 film are greatly concerned because they feel like they have to write a script that can be understood and enjoyed by someone who has never had any previous experience with Star Trek. Yet many of the Star Trek novels have story arcs that go across several volumes. Even stories that are in trilogies cover more than one volume, while there are those who enjoy a single volume. I like to read stories in order for the sake of those multi-volume story arcs. Indeed Hesse's entire corpus cannot be read without some acquaintance with previous novels and even short stories Hesse wrote sometimes years earlier.
So what does all that have to do with The Letter of Marque? In my opinion, the book can be enjoyed by a person who reads this sole volume out of the 20-volume (plus a tiny bit of a 21st) Aubrey-Maturin series of novels. Yet I find a great deal of joy reading the entire series in order. Story arcs of the various characters cover multiple volumes. Here is Aubrey dealing with issues from the last several books. Here is Maturin dealing with equally remote issues. Minor characters have been around for several volumes, some for the entire series. Even ships make repeat appearances.
While the volume does not end with a cliffhanger, the storyline is set up for the next volume. Moreover, there are enough loose threads that we will be revisiting these situations for several more volumes.
So smell the salt air. Visualize the sails being unfurled. Cast off into the deep and get your sea legs. This is going to be a memorable voyage!
 

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