The Making of Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
After inspecting the damage, Aubrey decides to refit the ship as best they can at sea, and pursue the Acheron. The crew works to repair the ship while Dr. Maturin works hard to save the lives of the casualties including a young midshipman, whose arm he has to amputate, and an able seamen whom he gives surgery near his brains. Aubrey notes that such a ship could tip the balance of power in Napoleon's favour if allowed to plunder the British whaling fleet at will. They resume the pursuit after stopping at a Brazilian port, but the Acheron again surprises them and they begin a day long pursuit. As night falls, the faster Acheron begins firing.
The story is set during the Napoleonic Wars and the War of The story from Treason's Harbour has several points resolved, as to the success of Maturin's work identifying the French spies, the trap that Aubrey sailed out of but HMS Pollux did not, and Aubrey resolving the tension between him and Lieutenant Fielding, who escaped the worst French prisoner-of-war facility. Dr Maturin has not yet identified the high-level spy who got away.
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The book proved to be the start of the novel Aubrey-Maturin series , set largely in the era of the Napoleonic Wars , that O'Brian continued working on up until his death in The novel is set at the turn of the 19th century. It follows the young Jack Aubrey who has just been promoted to the rank of Master and Commander , and Stephen Maturin, a destitute physician and naturalist whom Aubrey appoints as his naval surgeon. The naval action in the Mediterranean is closely based on the real-life exploits of Lord Cochrane , including a battle modelled after Cochrane's spectacular victory in the brig HMS Speedy over the vastly superior Spanish frigate El Gamo. The novel puts the reader into the times in every aspect, from the ways of the Royal Navy on sailing ships to the state of science and medicine and social status. Master and Commander met with mixed early reviews on its first publication.