Master & Commander

In which we’re back to Patrick again.

So, since Christmas, what have I been reading? Well, I’m afraid I started Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey/Maturin novels again. It is unfortunate, in a way, because there are 20 of them, and it is quite impossible to stop once one has started. I say 20, I may have to make do with 19 as I seem to have mislaid HMS Surprise (mislaying a Frigate is quite impressive, really). I cannot imagine where it has gone to. It is highly annoying and I am quite put out about it.

Well, so far, then, I have read Master & Commander which is where Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin meet for the first time. It is the year 1800, Jack is in Mahon pining for a ship and Stephen has been left in rather difficult circumstances because the patient he was to accompany to the Mediterranean died mid-voyage and Stephen does not have any money to pay for a passage back home. After a first unfortunate meeting which nearly ends in a duel, Jack, in his joy over having been appointed Commander of the sloop Sophia, invites Stephen to dinner, and on discovering that he is a physician, suggests that he “join the navy”, that is, become a naval surgeon. Stephen accepts, and that is the start of the delightful 20 books…

I’ve also finished Post Captain, which is why I’ve discovered that HMS Surprise has gone AWOL, it ought by rights to have been next. As it is, I have skipped on to The Mauritius Command.

I would like to know where the dear ship has gone, though. My flat isn’t that big. How can a novel simply disappear?