I've been reading them for a little while from the library. I skipped the first one, but I read Post Captain and HMS Surprise and The Mauritius Comand and that's about where they get really really good. Before that I could have stopped any time. I was enjoying them, or I wouldn't have gone on, but I could take them or leave them. Part way through The Mauritius Command Jack loses his luck, and everything goes to a deeper level of reality, and the mail arrives soaked through and unreadable, and it just gets better from there on.
When, yesterday, I discovered that the library did not have a copy of the next one, The Fortunes of War, I decided to buy it with my booktoken. Only I couldn't find it, not in Smiths in town, not in the bookshop in Pembroke Dock, not in Smiths in Pembroke, nowhere. I kept seeing the first one, which I havn't read, but with a cover with Russell Crowe's face splashed all over it.
So I decided to go to Carmerthen, have supper in Caban y Derwen by the Crimean War Mamorial, and see if I could find it there. I was actually considering, in desperation, going on to Swansea (it's only another twenty-five miles from Carmarthen, though that's an extra fifty all round) and looking in the big Waterstones there!
But luckily, when I got to Ottakar's, I saw the whole set, complete, matching, in attractive big paperbacks, with a pound off each if I bought more than three, and no silly film covers. I couldn't resist. The covers are rather nice, with bits of maps and the same pictures as the hardbacks from the library, ship pictures that look authentic but probably aren't because they match too well.
So, I have cleared a shelf in the study especially for them. There are cupboards in the alcoves, and shelves above them, which are bookshelves, but the bottom shelf, the top of the cupboard, sticks out more, and I used to put african violets on them, and they also had a tendency to get cluttered up with leads and letters waiting to be posted and clutter. No more! They are now designated bookshelves, the african violets are relegated to the downstairs loo. The right-hand shelf, by my wing-chair, contains the Aubrey/Maturin series, in order, looking very splendid.
Now I have to decide whether to rush on or go back and read Master and Commander.
What a pleasant quandry to find myself in.