My Thoughts On H.M.S. Surprise

The other day, as I mentioned previously, I completed the third book in Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey-Maturin adventure series, H.M.S. Surprise.  H.M.S. Surprise picked up right where Post Captain left off and got rolling back into the story line without missing a beat.

In H.M.S. Surprise we see that Jack is still in debt, seeking a more permanent ship to command, and Stephen is still working as a spy.  I found the book to be a decent read, it seemed to drag in some points, but the story was top notch.  One thing about this book, and, of course, the others I’ve read in the series, is that I’m having a hard time understanding all the naval terms.  While the book points to all the different sails and such of the boat that you can easily reference, it’s the other naval terms and concepts that I still haven’t quite grasped.  I have taken the time to look some of them up, but since there seem to be so many, it’s hard to keep them all straight.  Hopefully, as I make my way through the rest of this series I will have a better handle on these terms.

Briefly, the story is about Jack escorting an envoy to Indonesia on a ship he was midshipman on, the H.M.S. Surprise.  The book goes thorough the process of Jack getting the ship ready for departure, and the trials they encounter en route.  That was the part of the book I enjoyed the most as we learned more about Jack and his challenges of marrying Sophia, and Stephen going through his issues with Diana VIlliers leaving him.

Of course, this book wouldn’t be complete without a naval battle sequence at the end of the book.  It was very brief, but the writing and description of the battle scene, and the events leading up to it, was quite well written.  I wish there were at least one more naval battle scene, but I understand that H.M.S. Surprise seemed to be more about learning more about Stephen and Jack than anything else, and that development is better suited for the non-battle sequences of the book.

Overall, I enjoyed this third entry into the series and I’m looking forward to tackling the fourth book of the series, The Mauritius Command later on this year.  If you’ve read H.M.S Surprise or any of the other installments of the Aubrey-Maturin series, I’d love to hear your thoughts!


About Jeremy

Husband, book lover, Civil War Buff. If I could read for a living I would, but unfortunately, it doesn't pay the bills!


  1. Relaxation & January In Review « Beltwayliterature - January 29, 2012

    […] Patrick O’Brian’s H.M.S. Surprise […]

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