Friday, 16 April 2004

The nutmeg of consolation

Listening to:

Beethoven, Lenora overture #3. The Philharmonia conducted by Vladimir Ashkenzay. (Decca 400 060-2)

Just read:

Patrick O’Brian, The nutmeg of consolation.

This is the fourteenth book of the series. Like many of its predecessors, it’s not very novel-like in its construction. Instead of a story-arc with a beginning, development, climax and denouement, we’re dropped into the company of a couple of 19th century heroes and get to spend an extended period of time with them as they go about their business. In a multi-volume series such as O’Brian’s this is fair enough, and it works well because the characters are appealing, and because they get to do cool stuff.

At the end of the previous book, Aubrey, Maturin and the crew were castaways on a desert island in south-east Asia. This next instalment sees them eventually escape this island, chase down a French enemy and then journey to New South Wales. Maturin takes a back seat in much of this action, but is always on hand to comment and describe things from his own perspective. Correspondingly, Aubrey acts, but we hear his voice less.

This volume ends with less of a cliff-hanger than the previous one, but I’m sure any number of exciting adventures are still to come.