Best 1977 Adventures (4)

By: Joshua Glenn
November 2, 2017

One in a series of 10 posts identifying Josh Glenn’s favorite 1977 adventure novels. Happy 40th anniversary!

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Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey & Maturin sea-going adventure The Mauritius Command.

In the fourth Aubrey & Maturin adventure, there’s less kiss-kiss and more bang-bang. Jack Aubrey is temporarily advanced to the rank of admiral and sent to take away from the French the islands of Reunion and Mauritius, off the east African coast. Aubrey’s first chance to lead a squadron — against marauding French frigates — is tested by his ham-fisted approach to handling personalities. To coordinate the actions of several ships, he must play to the strengths of each subordinate captain — a dandy, a tartar, and so forth — while compensating for their weaknesses. After an early success, catastrophic failure threatens the mission. What of Aubrey’s surgeon/naturalist/secret agent friend Maturin? He is sent ashore on intelligence-gathering forays. Maturin’s dry journal entries analyzing the character of Aubrey and the other captains, and rhapsodizing over an aardvark, are a reader’s delight.

Fun facts: The military actions of the novel are based upon the Mauritius campaign of 1809–1811 carried out by the Royal Navy under Commodore Josias Rowley.

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Let me know if I’ve missed any 1977 adventures that you particularly admire. Also, please check out these additional lists. The 200 Greatest Adventure Novels of All Time. THE OUGHTS (1904–13): 1905 | 1906 | 1907 | 1908 | 1910 | 1911 | 1912 | 1913. THE TEENS (1914–23): 1915 | 1916 | 1917 | 1918 | 1920 | 1921 | 1922 | 1923. THE TWENTIES (1924–33): 1925 | 1926 | 1927 | 1928 | 1930 | 1931 | 1932 | 1933. THE THIRTIES (1934–43): 1935 | 1936 | 1937 | 1938 | 1940 | 1941 | 1942 | 1943. THE FORTIES (1944–53): 1945 | 1946 | 1947 | 1948 | 1950 | 1951 | 1952 | 1953. THE FIFTIES (1954–63): 1955 | 1956 | 1957 | 1958 | 1960 | 1961 | 1962 | 1963. THE SIXTIES (1964–73): 1964 | 1965 | 1966 | 1967 | 1968 | 1970 | 1971 | 1972 | 1973. THE SEVENTIES (1974–83): 1975 | 1976 | 1977 | 1978 | 1980 | 1981 | 1982 | 1983. The goal, eventually, is to publish a Top 10 Adventures list for every year of the 20th century.

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Adventure, Lit Lists

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