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Novels of Character Produce Gentlemen

June 30, 1995

Re "An Eye for Detail that Commands a Sea of Respect" (June 2): When a colleague first introduced me to the Jack Aubrey/Stephen Maturin novels of Patrick O'Brian, he offhandedly remarked that I needn't read them in any particular order.

After the first one, he said, I will have become accustomed to the pitch of the language and would be able to embark upon my journey, hopping from one book to another with no particular destination in mind. Ah, but he was wrong. The beauty of these novels is in the relationship between their protagonists--and this relationship develops historically.

Yet, should O'Brian's work be relegated to the status of mere historical novels? Never. These are novels of character. So magnificently arrayed are they, so sweetly subtle, so well-tempered and civil as to render all who read them into gentlemen.

WENDY SCHRAMM

Vista

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