April 12th, 2006

wood cat

O'Brian, Patrick: The Surgeon's Mate (audio)

Rather like the prior book, The Surgeon's Mate is very closely connected with its predecessor in the Aubrey-Maturin series, in this case The Fortune of War. It opens quite soon after that book, and part of the plot springs from managing the aftermath of their doings in America. In structure, I think of it as something like a criss-crossing two-parter. The book's first half covers non-naval doings in Canada and Europe, and strands from it cross over into the second half, a mission in the Balitc Sea.

(This is the book where Jack and Stephen see Elsinore and Jack reminisces about being one of the Ophelias. I giggled quite immoderately, in-between reminding myself to look at a map of the Baltic (which I never actually got around to).)

I did not find this book quite as striking as The Fortune of War, but it has its fair share of good moments. I do like the way O'Brian develops consequences in and across books; secondary characters act as it's in their character to act, even (or especially) if that creates useful plot.

wood cat

Macdonald, James D.: The Apocalypse Door

A couple of weeks ago, I needed to fully unwind, sink all the way down into a book and completely lose myself in it. I'd recently had the pleasure of recommending James D. Macdonald's The Apocalypse Door to someone looking for chaste Catholic priests in action novels, so it was on my mind and just what I was looking for.

Because the booklog is currently down and I can't link to it, I'm going to reproduce my original comments behind the cut. I'd talked then about Crossman and Sister Mary Magdalene, but I'd not really mentioned much about the new Knight, Simon B. LaRouche, who is also fun to read about and had a larger part in the book than I'd remembered. And since then, I've learned a thematic thing about the backstory thread that I didn't know enough to spot then; I don't think it's too much of a spoiler, but I'm going to ROT13 it just to be safe: fgngvbaf bs gur pebff.

Finally, I was surprised to find that some people had different opinions on the substance of the plot; in my opinion, the last three pages make it crystal-clear, but perhaps they tend to get overlooked in the adrenaline rush.

Anyway, still a great book and just what I needed when I was stressed out.

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