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August 6, 1997

The Yellow Admiral

Author Affiliations

Contributing Editor, JAMA


by Patrick O'Brian, 262 pp, $24, ISBN 0-393-04044-5, New York, NY, WW Norton & Company, 1996.

JAMA. 1997;278(5):441-442. doi:10.1001/jama.1997.03550050105048

When last we had news of Captain Jack Aubrey and his close friend and shipmate Dr Stephen Maturin, in the 17th of the series of historical novels by Patrick O'Brian, they had thwarted a French invasion of Ireland. The 18th and latest book in the series, The Yellow Admiral, finds Aubrey at home on dry land but awash in political and family squabbles. In the nick of time he and Maturin receive orders to set sail again. There is not a moment to be lost.

In the course of this novel Aubrey battles the French fleet, and Maturin does the odd bit of spying for the admiralty, but the book's main purpose seems to be to set the stage for greater adventures (in better novels) to come. Therefore, I can only recommend this book to diehard fans who fear that some day, by choice or necessity, O'Brian will cease to