Adventures with Words: H.M.S. Surprise by Patrick O’Brian

It’s just so funny! Yes, O’Brian writes like a dream, appears to have a direct line into the minds and hearts of early 19th century men and women, and recreates the language of the time with extraordinary accuracy while writing a story full of adventure, tension, romance and intrigue but what really stood out for me on this re-reading was how funny it was. The scene where Steven Maturin realises that Jack has been giving rum to the sloth that he has brought on board the ship is wonderful! ‘Jack, you have debauched my sloth.’


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