The Yellow Admiral Summary & Study Guide

This Study Guide consists of approximately 24 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Yellow Admiral.
This section contains 463 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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The Yellow Admiral Summary & Study Guide Description

The Yellow Admiral Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion and a Free Quiz on The Yellow Admiral by Patrick O'Brian.

The Yellow Admiral by Patrick O'Brien is a novel that is set in nineteenth century England and is about an impoverished member of the Parliament and his floundering in the navy. The novel takes place on both land and sea since England is in the middle of a war with Napoleon's France.

The two main characters of the novel are Captain Jack Aubrey and Dr. Stephen Maturin. Jack Aubrey is married to Sophie and is the lord of Woolcombe. He is opposing a neighbor named Griffiths on the issue of inclosure. This is where certain lands of the manor are given over to food production. Aubrey's naval superior, Admiral Stranraer, who is also Griffith's uncle, favors inclosure. When Aubrey helps defeat the position in committee, this brings him into conflict with Stranraer who creates problems for him at the Admiralty. This affects his career advancement opportunities endangering his dream of having his own flag.

The other main character is Dr. Stephen Maturin. He is a naval surgeon who serves on Aubrey's ship. He is also an intelligence agent who reports to Sir Joseph Blaine at the Admiralty. Maturin uses his position as the ship's surgeon as a cover for his intelligence work. The ship puts him ashore at various places where he can make and meet contacts. He learns some important information that provides useful to Blaine.

Aubrey does not have much luck on or off land. He has an affair with a Canadian woman and fathers a child which his wife finds out about. He captures a French ship laden with treasure but is charged with leaving his post allowing two French ships to slip through. When the peace comes in 1814, Jack is worried about his career.

Maturin and Blaine come to his rescue. Through his intelligence contacts with the Chileans, Maturin learns that they want to develop a navy. Blaine works out a plan where Jack is loaned to his Hydrographic Department for the South American assignment. He will be given command of a private ship. When his assignment is complete, he will return to England and be reinstated on the Admiralty lists and in line for a flag. This basically saves Aubrey's career, even though he is dubious about the plan at first.

Aubrey's journey begins with a trip to Madeira and Funchal. He and Stephen take their families with. They meet the Chileans in Funchal. They are to go on to South America and their families will return to England. Before this can happen, he is ordered to take command of all British ships in Funchal and proceed to the Straits of Gibraltar to prevent the passage of Napoleon who has escaped from Elba.

The book is relatively fast to read and will hold the reader's interest.

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This section contains 463 words
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