by Patrick O'Brian
A ripping yarn, this long book introduces the unlikely pair Stephen Maturin, learned ship’s surgeon and Captain Aubrey, bluff Epicurean fellow. There’s a series of naval engagements, not much of a plot aside from some business with some Irish rebels which causes dismay with the Irish lieutenant. Anyway, though there’s far too much naval jargon — lengthy paragraphs describing the ship’s movements which may as well be in Greek — the epic creates magic. With its meticulously researched descriptions of all aspects of 19th century life and witty dialogue, the book makes fascinating, vivid reading. I tore through it.