Aubrey Law Biography & Facts
John "Jack" Aubrey, , is a fictional character in the Aubrey–Maturin series of novels by Patrick O'Brian. The series portrays his rise from lieutenant to rear-admiral in the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars. The twenty (and one incomplete draft)-book series encompasses Aubrey's adventures and various commands along his course to flying a rear-admiral's flag.
Some of his naval battles and adventures are drawn from Royal Navy history. Several of his exploits and reverses, most importantly those in the plots of Master and Commander, The Reverse of the Medal and Blue at the Mizzen, are directly based on the chequered career of Thomas Cochrane. Often in the other 17 novels in the series, Aubrey may witness an action or hear of one that is drawn from history, while the battles or other encounters with ships he captains are fictional.
Besides reaching the peak of naval skills and authority, Aubrey is presented as being interested in mathematics and astronomy, a great lover of music and player of the violin, a hearty singer and is generally accompanied by his friend and shipmate Stephen Maturin on the cello. He is noted for his mangling and mis-splicing of proverbs, sometimes with Maturin's involvement, such as “Never count the bear’s skin before it is hatched” and “There’s a good deal to be said for making hay while the iron is hot.” Aubrey is played by Russell Crowe in the 2003 film Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World and by David Robb in the BBC Radio 4 adaptations of the novels.
Education and early life
Aubrey's mother died when he was a boy; he is an only child. His father General Aubrey lives a longer life, and is a character in some of the novels, often working against the career interest of his son with clumsy politics. In Master and Commander, Aubrey describes the efforts of his slightly older neighbor "Queeney" to teach him some Latin and the mathematics associated with a sailing ship and its navigation so that he could pass his examination for lieutenant, an event that happened before the first novel. Queeney's family had occupied Damplow when Aubrey was a boy, a house adjoining General Aubrey's estate ("they were almost in our park").Queeney appears in Aubrey's life when she marries Lord Keith, who heads up the Mediterranean Fleet of the Royal Navy. In the first novel, Lord Keith gave him his promotion to master and commander and his first command, and Lord Keith is married to Queeney at that time. Queeney is the historic Hester Maria Elphinstone, Viscountess Keith, and in Queeney's mother the reader will recognize the historic Hester Thrale.
This section covers the career of Aubrey before the Aubrey-Maturin series, for more information on that period, see the individual books.
Like many officers in the British fleet, Aubrey spent much of his life raised on the sea, joining the navy very early: he was on the books at the age of nine and at sea when he was twelve. While a midshipman aboard HMS Resolution commanded by a friend of General Aubrey's, Captain Douglas, Jack was turned before the mast for hiding a girl aboard the ship. He spent six months as a common seaman before being re-rated as a midshipman. This was when Lord Keith was still Captain Elphinstone, therefore pre-1797.
Aubrey also spent some time as fifth lieutenant aboard HMS Hannibal (in service 1786–1801), under Captain John Newman. There, after insulting the first lieutenant, he was put in front of a board, with Lord Keith upon it, which reprimanded him for his "petulance," which led to Aubrey spending eight months ashore with half pay.While second lieutenant aboard HMS Foudroyant (1798), Aubrey was the leader of the prize crew for the Généreux after it was captured by Nelson's fleet in 1800. He earned a silver Nile medal, having served as a lieutenant aboard HMS Leander during the battle of the Nile in 1798, mentioned in Master and Commander. The Nile Medal is mentioned whenever Aubrey wears his dress uniform. The Battle of the Nile was a major turning point in the long wars between the United Kingdom and Napoleon's France, when dominance on the sea went to the United Kingdom. Horatio Nelson became a hero for his role in that 1798 battle.
Career and characteristics depicted in the novels
Aubrey is between twenty and thirty years old when the first story opens, a lieutenant passing time on the island of Minorca, at a musical performance. When he returns to his inn, his letter of promotion to master and commander awaits him. He is given his first command: a fourteen-gun brig-rigged sloop, HMS Sophie. He rises to the rank of post captain, though he is once struck off the Navy List, reinstated, then suspends himself in 1814 as peace comes in spring. As was the practice in the Royal Navy, once on the list of post captains, he moved up the list for promotion to admiral by the end of the series of novels, set during the Napoleonic Wars.
In his early career, according to HMS Surprise, Aubrey was not a skilled mathematician. In that book, he is described as learning mathematics and "...he studied the mathematics, and like some other late-developers he advanced at a great pace." In later books, Aubrey is presented as interested and skilled in mathematics and astronomy. He is also a great lover of music and player of the violin; he is a hearty singer. He is a man of even temperament, generally cheerful, sociable and alert to the feelings of his shipmates. He knows every aspect of the ships he sails and how best to gain speed over the oceans from each one by use of the sails without putting too much stress on the masts or yards (which would then break), a complex and hard-earned knowledge. He has been described as "the bluff and ultracompetent Aubrey". He feels the joy of battle; he is skilled in planning his attacks and in carrying them out, using cannon or hand-to-hand fighting. By contrast, he cannot watch his close friend, Dr Maturin, perform a surgery, and is offended at the sight of blood on Maturin, the natural result of performing surgeries. On board ship, Aubrey on his violin is generally accompanied by his friend and shipmate Stephen Maturin on the cello. Aubrey is particularly fond of the music of Corelli and Boccherini. He is noted for his mangling and mis-splicing of proverbs, sometimes with Maturin's involvement, such as “Never count the bear’s skin before it is hatched” and “There’s a good deal to be said for making hay while the iron is hot.” Maturin enters actively into the humor of fractured proverbs by the eighth novel, The Ionian Mission, as shown in this exchange between the two friends in Chapter 10: 'Why, as to that,' said Jack, blowing on his coffee-cup and staring out of the stern-window at the harbour, 'as to that ... if you do not choose to call him a pragmatical clinchpoop and kick his breech, which you might think ungenteel, perhaps you could tell him to judge the pudding by its fruit.' 'You mean, prove the tree b.... Discover the Aubrey Law popular books. Find the top 100 most popular Aubrey Law books.