Best 1986 Adventures (3)
February 14, 2020
One in a series of 10 posts identifying Josh Glenn’s favorite 1986 adventure novels.
Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey-Maturin historical adventure The Reverse of the Medal.
The eleventh Aubrey-Maturin installment takes place, not on the high seas but on dry land. Jack Aubrey, having returned from the adventures related in The Far Side of the World (1984), has lost a fortune through bad investments in horses and mining. Back in England, he acts on tips from a man he meets in a tavern, regarding the coming of peace between England and France — in an effort to recoup his losses on the Stock Exchange. What’s worse, he lets his politician father and others in on the action. As a result, he’s hauled into court on charges of manipulating the market; the trial is rigged by his father’s political enemies. Not only does Aubrey face a jail sentence and disgrace, but he may lose his ship, the Surprise, and crew. Stephen Maturin, who’s simultaneously trying to uncover a Bonapartist mole in the Admiralty, and who discovers that he’s recently inherited a fortune, comes to his friend’s rescue. The scene in which seamen show their support for the humiliated Aubrey is a touching one.
Fun facts: In respect to the internal chronology of the series, this is the fifth of eleven installments. O’Brian based his account of the stock exchange fraud, and many of the details of Aubrey’s trial, on the Great Stock Exchange Fraud of 1814. The Far Side of the World was adapted in 2003 as Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World; The Reverse of the Medal should have been adapted next.
JOSH GLENN’S *BEST ADVENTURES* LISTS: BEST 250 ADVENTURES OF THE 20TH CENTURY | 100 BEST OUGHTS ADVENTURES | 100 BEST RADIUM AGE (PROTO-)SCI-FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST TEENS ADVENTURES | 100 BEST TWENTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST THIRTIES ADVENTURES | 75 BEST GOLDEN AGE SCI-FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST FORTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST FIFTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST SIXTIES ADVENTURES | 75 BEST NEW WAVE SCI FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST SEVENTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST EIGHTIES ADVENTURES | 75 BEST DIAMOND AGE SCI-FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST NINETIES ADVENTURES (in progress) | 1994 | 1995 | 1996 | 1997 | 1998 | 1999 | 2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | NOTES ON 21st-CENTURY ADVENTURES.